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LG G3 Smartphone: Who’s On First?

Dallas — T-Mobile last week claimed it would be the first U.S. carrier to offer LG’s new flagship smartphone, the G3, beginning July 16 through company-owned stores.

But AT&T will beat its competitor to the punch, announcing today that it will offer the phone in its stores on July 11. For its part, Sprint last week said it would offer the phone beginning July 18 in its direct channels.

Availability date through indirect channels weren’t announced by the carriers.

At AT&T, the phone price is $199 with two-year contract, $24.17/month under the AT&T Next 18 trade-up program for unsubsidized phones, and $29/month under AT&T Next 12.

With AT&T Next 12, consumers get to upgrade their phone after 12 months, and with AT&T Next 18, consumers get to upgrade after 18 months. Consumers can also opt to pay off the G3 and keep it after 20 monthly installments under Next 12 or after 24 monthly installments under Next 18.

AT&T also announced it would become the first carrier to offer the LG G Watch smart watch, based on the Android Wear OS, at $229 beginning July 11 in its stores, with online orders starting July 8.

T-Mobile’s G3 will be available at an unsubsidized $598.80, or 24 monthly payments of $24.95 under the carrier’s EIP.

With Sprint’s Easy Pay installment-purchase plan, the G3 is priced at $0 down and 24 monthly payments of $25. It will feature Sprint’s Spark LTE technology.

All four national carriers have said they will offer the Android 4.4.2 LTE/ HSPA+21 phone in the summer.

The phone, unveiled June 2, is LG’s first phone with Quad HD (2,560 by 1,440) display and the first in the industry with laser autofocus, which speeds up focusing of the 13-megapixel main camera to 276 milliseconds to ensure users don’t miss a picture. Laser autofocus is available only on select DSLRs, the company said.

In other changes, LG boosted screen size to 5.5 inches from the G2’s 5.2 inches, but the phone can still be used comfortably with one hand because of a narrow-bezel design that brings the width close to that of 5-inch phones and delivers a screen to front-panel ratio of 76.4 percent, the company said. The phone measures 5.76 inches by 2.94 inches by 0.35 inches.

In other enhancements, CPU speed goes up to quad-core 2.5GHz from 2.2GHz, RAM goes up to 3GB from 2GB, the phone’s speaker gets a 1-watt amplifier, and the screen goes to Quad HD from FullHD at 423 ppi. The battery size remains at 3,000 mAh with battery life growing by 20 percent despite the larger, higher-resolution screen. The new model also gets a MicroSD slot lacking in its predecessor. The slot accepts cards up to 128GB.