LG steps up smartphone effort with G3 flagship

2014-05-28 07:18
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An LG employee holds the company's newly unveiled smartphone called the G3 at a press event in London. (Lefteris Pitarakis, AP)

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San Francisco - LG Electronics went big in style on Tuesday with a flagship G3 smartphone aimed at turning heads away from market titans Apple and Samsung.

LG introduced G3 smartphones at simultaneous events in a half-dozen cities, saying they would hit US soil by September in deals with an array of telecom service carriers.

The successor to the LG G2 has a 14cm display with screen quality four times that of standard high-definition resolution and extensive battery life.

Features crafted in to entice smartphone lovers includes ramped up camera capabilities that include advanced hardware; letting people take "selfies" with gestures, and laser-enhanced focusing.

"It makes selfies simple," head of LG Europe product marketing James Marshall said in a presentation streamed to a press event in San Francisco.

"Let's face it, around the world we are obsessed with selfies."

'Kill switch'

"Selfies" refer to pictures people take of themselves using front-facing cameras in smartphones.

Along with touches such as curving the G3 to make it fit more naturally in a hand, LG overhauled the user interface to make it simpler.

Among improvements is the ability to unlock a G3 by "knocking", or using a series of finger taps, and a built-in virtual assistant of sorts referred to as Smart Notice.

Smart Notice offers suggestions based on factors such as user behaviour and location.

For example, it will notice which apps aren't used and offer to help remove them or pop up a shopping list memo when it notices that it has reached a preferred market.

LG also added a "kill switch" that allows G3 owners to lock, wipe clean, or permanently disable a lost or stolen smartphone.

"The smartest innovation in a fast evolving smartphone market is creating harmony between advanced technology and a simplified user experience," said LG Electronics mobile communications company chief Jong-seok Park.

"The LG G3 is the result of our effort to actualize that idea into a tangible product."

The G3 is South Korea-based LG's latest champion in a smartphone arena dominated by Apple and Samsung.

G3 handsets are powered by Google's free Android software.

LG was the fifth largest global smartphone vendor in early 2014 with a 4.4% market share, according to figures from research firm IDC.

Samsung was first with 30%, to Apple's 15.5%, followed by China's Huawei (4.7%) Lenovo (4.6%), IDC said.

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