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LG Steps Up Smartphone Aggressiveness

NEW YORK — LG continues to get more aggressive in the U.S. smartphone market.

The LG G2 smartphone, which will be its first flagship smartphone to be launched by all four national carriers, “will represent our largest mobile phone launch with the biggest marketing program ever,” a company spokesman told TWICE.

LG also expanded its selection of smartphones available through T-Mobile.

For the G2 launch, LG promised a multimillion dollar marketing campaign that will include TV, digital and print media.

The G2, unveiled here at a launch event last Wednesday, will be available sometime in the fall from the four carriers at prices that were not announced. The current flagship smartphone, the G Pro, is available only through AT&T. Last year’s flagship was launched through AT&T and Sprint, the spokesman said.

The Android 4.2.2 phone, which features 5.2-inch FullHD IPS display, is promoted as the first smartphone available globally with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 chipset, whose quad-core CPU runs at a rate of 2.26GHz per core to deliver the smartphone industry’s fastest processor speed, LG said. The phone also supports next-generation LTE technology called LTE Advanced to maximize wireless-network efficiency and deliver faster speeds in networks equipped with the technology.

The phone also offers five other key differentiating features, said James Fishler, marketing senior VP at LG Electronics USA. They are design, user interface, display, camera and sound quality.

All were developed based on consumer research to better understand consumer needs, said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president of LG Electronics Mobile Communications. “Technology without empathy can no longer be considered innovation,” he said of the need to design phones that “understand the needs of consumers.” Moreover, he said, “innovation for the sake of innovation is old school.”

With those thoughts in mind, LG is promotion such new design enhancements as placing the power button and volume key on the back of the handset from the sides to make them easier to use when holding the phone in one hand. If the phone is facing screen-up on a table, users can tap the display twice to turn the phone on and off.

The rear-key design was developed because consumers with large-screen phones found it difficult to easily access side-mounted keys, the company said.

The rear volume keys also do double duty when long-pressed. The keys can be used to launch the QuickMemo function, which lets users hand-write notes with their fingertip on pictures and web pages. The keys also double as a camera button to snap self portraits.

No other physical buttons appear on the phone.

In other efforts to make the phone easier to use, the company upgraded its user interface to add multiple new features, including Slide Aside, which lets users slide among open apps from left to right. A guest mode limits access to data and apps when the phone is used by someone other than the owner. The mode is activated by tracing a “G” on the lock screen.

Text Link lets users launch the web browser, calendar app or GPS navigation app from within a text message or email when the message includes a request to meet at a location at a specific time.

The Answer Me function automatically answers an incoming call and silences the ringtone when a user picks up a ringing phone and places it to his ear.

When headphones are plugged in, the phone automatically makes it easier for users to find apps and functions that they are more likely to use when listening to audio, the company said.

In display enhancements, LG reduced the size of the screen to 5.2 inches from the current flagship’s 5.5 inches because of research that found a phone width of 2.7 inches to offer “a more comfortable, stable grip” than wider big-screen smartphones, said Fishler. The 2.7-inch width is also the width of most smartphones available today, he said.

In another display enhancement, the phone features a side bezel that is only 0.1 inches wide, or 2.65mm. “It’s all screen,” Fishler said. The display features 423 PPI, slightly more than the current G Pro flagship.

Camera enhancements include the addition of optical image stabilization (OSI) to take sharper pictures when the user is moving or in low-light conditions. The G2 is the first phone to marry OSI with a 13-megapixel main camera, the company added. OSI is available in smartphones with 4- and 8-megapixel cameras and in Nokia’s new 41-megapixel smartphone.