LG confirms Vu 3, a square Galaxy phablet in disguise

LG Vu 3

The original Vu (and the Intuition, European Vu (with Tegra), Vu 2 and whatever else you want to call it) was stupid. With a horrible 4:3 aspect ratio that only makes sense on tablets and computers from the early 90’s, trying to use it was impossible. Even if your thumb could cope with the yoga involved to operate the thing, you’d remember that there’s not a single adequate Android device with a 4:3 aspect ratio and, of course, the apps would behave accordingly. That kind of ‘minor issue’ doesn’t ever stop LG, though, as the Vu 3 is official now with a 5.2″ 1280 x 960 IPS display and some other things that don’t matter whatsoever because that screen, now larger and more awkward than ever before, is now even more stupid. Also, it looks just like a mutilated Galaxy S III which, looking at the G2’s Galaxy S4-esque aesthetic, seems to be LG’s ‘thing’ now.

Source LG
Via Engadget

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Signs of the third Vu-pocalypse appear as LG prepares to resurrect the square phablet

Optimus Vu

Remember LG’s ridiculous Optimus Vu, the 5″ phablet with a 4:3 1024 x 768 display? Or its international variant, which was one of the few devices to call itself a phone and carry a Tegra 3 processor? Or Verizon’s variant, dubbed Intuition, which could only muster a review score of 4.4 from The Verge? Or the Vu II, which took the original device and bumped the internal hardware up to appropriate levels for a 2012 flagship?

There’s a reason nobody (except me) remembers these things. It’s because they were horrible. And yet, LG just doesn’t know when to stop. Continue reading →

Digixav Podcast 012 – July 10th 2013

Twelve. That’s a mighty large number, and it’s also the number of topics in the show notes for our return from yet another unintentional hiatus. While Henry lies in a field getting fried by the British heatwave, Xavier and Chris take cover in the depths of the night to talk about Apple’s mobile product lines and web ambitions, imminent announcements from Nokia and Motorola, new devices from Sony and HTC that are scaring Xavier’s wallet and leaked information about upcoming phablets from the Korean pairing of LG and Samsung. Chris goes on to wax lyrical about rap music while Xavier enthuses about The Last of Us while finding it horribly difficult (yet completely possible) to avoid spoilers. We also answer some user questions from Twitter, thanks to our wonderful listeners and #AskChris, which we’ve chosen to hijack.

If you have any feedback, questions or comments, tweet us or send us an email to podcast@digixav.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Right click and save this link to download, and you can now subscribe (and rate and review the show) using iTunes! Don’t fancy iTunes or use a different podcatcher? Here’s our RSS link!

You should also check out our intro music on SoundCloud! It’s Melodic Trap by Harry Ling.

Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo announces Pro version of LG Optimus G with 5″ 1080p display

LG Optimus G Pro NTT DoCoMo

In unveiling its DoCoMo NEXT line of smartphones and tablets for 2013, Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo has confirmed the impending release of an enlarged version of the LG Optimus G, the phone that served as the basis for the Nexus 4. The Optimus G Pro trades a 4.7″ 1280 x 720 panel for one of 1920 x 1080 over 5 inches, but that appears to be the only major difference, as both Pro and ‘Amateur’ models feature quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chips powering a skinned version of Android 4.1. The 3000mAh battery is the largest in DoCoMo’s new smartphone line, and a 13.2MP BSI CMOS sensor can be found on the rear. Along with the usual array of Japan-specific features such as One-Seg TV broadcasting, the Optimus G Pro will also support LTE, NFC and WiFi tethering for up to 8 devices, while a microSD slot will allow for up to 64GB of expansion. The phone is said to be hitting NTT DoCoMo in April although, as with the Sony Xperia Tablet Z, it remains unlikely that this phone will ever be seen beyond Japanese shores.

NTT DoCoMo 2013 Spring Collection

Via Android Police
Source NTT DoCoMo

Unannounced LG Nexus 4 goes up for pre-order at Carphone Warehouse with October 30th release date

Despite the fact that LG’s upcoming Nexus 4 remains unannounced, there is not a lot we still don’t know about Google’s future flagship phone. It has appeared in Carphone Warehouse’s database, been semi-confirmed by an LG executive and even been fully reviewed by Belarusian site Onliner.by after they got their hands on a prototype model. Now, with anticipation rising for Google’s Android event on October 29th where it is expected that all will be revealed, British retailer Carphone Warehouse has begun to offer the device for pre-order, with shipping promised for next week. Alongside Android 4.2 – which will still be known as Jelly Bean – the page confirms a Snapdragon S4 processor will power the 4.7″ 1280 x 768 display, while 8GB of internal storage will be built in with no expandability. An 8MP rear camera will be capable of 1080p video and NFC will also be present to allow for Android Beam support. While you cannot currently order the phone without a contract, deals are available on Vodafone and O2, with the cheapest contract without an up-front cost is for £31 per month. An October 30th ship date is promised, and we will be covering Monday’s announcement event live.

Source Carphone Warehouse

LG announces worldwide availability for Tegra 3-equipped Optimus Vu phablet

Having been announced shortly before Mobile World Congress in February, LG’s Optimus Vu has kept largely under the radar, save for launches in Japan and South Korea, but a press release today details LG’s plans for a global launch of the 5″ 4:3 behemoth, with the company hoping to get to market before Samsung’s Galaxy Note II, which is set to be unveiled at IFA on August 29th. The aging dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 MSM8660 found in existing models is getting replaced by Nvidia’s Tegra 3 chip, as found in the HTC One X that we recently reviewed, although this means that the device will not support LTE in territories with such networks. The new Vu will ship with Android 4.0, replacing the old Gingerbread build of models past, but this will, as usual, be caked in LG’s customisations, including an upgraded version of QuickMemo™. While we may not be fans of phablets, those who are interested will be able to find the Optimus Vu in stores across Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East in September, but those Americans who desire the leaked Verizon LTE model will have to wait longer for official confirmation.

Press Release

LG ANNOUNCES GLOBAL AVAILABILITY OF OPTIMUS VU:

Largest LG Smartphone to Be Launched in Europe, Asia, Middle East/Africa and Latin America

SEOUL, Aug. 20, 2012 -– On the heels of its successful debut in Korea and Japan, the Optimus Vu: will make its global debut starting in select markets in Europe, Asia, Middle East/Africa and Latin America starting in September. With the world’s first 5-inch 4:3 aspect ratio display, the Optimus Vu: blurs the line between traditional tablets and smartphones for a truly unique smart device experience.

Since its March debut in Korea, the Optimus Vu: has sold over 500,000 units, demonstrating public acceptance of its form-factor. The reception the device received in Korea prompted LG to launch the Optimus Vu: in Japan this month, where it has also been received positively by Japanese consumers.

For the global roll-out, the Optimus Vu: will be equipped with NVIDIA® Tegra® 3 mobile processor, the super 4-PLUS-1™ quad-core with 5th battery-saver core, that offers a superb balance of performance and power requirements. 4 cores are used for high performance tasks such as games and multitasking. For voice call, email, music and video playback, only 5th battery-saver core is enabled and it consumes very less power.

When paired with the high-resolution 5-inch, 4:3 ratio IPS display, the Optimus Vu: becomes something special –- a device that’s both pocketable and spacious. The Optimus Vu: will come with an upgraded version of QuickMemo™ and Notebook, two features which make great use of the large display real estate.

“The different form factor makes Optimus Vu: unique even in the 5-inch smartphone category which we expect will catch on once they become more widely available,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company.

Key Specifications:

  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 3G network
  • 5.0 inch 4:3 ratio XGA IPS display with 768 x 1024 pixels
  • 32GB memory
  • 8.0MP rear/1.3MP front cameras
  • 139.6 x 90.4 x 8.5mm
  • 168g

Via Engadget
Source LG Newsroom

The sorry state of Android updates

With Samsung’s announcement that Galaxy S II owners will not in fact be getting their Ice Cream Sandwich updates today as previously stated by one of their websites, the age-old discussion regarding Android updates, skinning and fragmentation has returned to the fore. Android 4.0, codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich and referred to as ICS, was confirmed on way back on October 15th of last year, the same day that this very website launched, yet now, almost 5 months later, only a small handful of devices from major manufacturers have either launched with or been updated to Google’s latest and greatest operating system. Why is this the case, and what can be done to help the situation?

Take a look at this graphic, taken from the Android website, which shows the versions of Android which have accessed the Android Market Google Play in the two weeks leading up to March 5th.

Just 1.6% of Android devices are running the latest version of the software. A comprehensive list of devices that have either shipped with or been officially updated to Ice Cream Sandwich is below. Please note that this does not include devices that have been announced but not shipped.

  • Archos G9
  • Asus Eee Pad Transformer
  • Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime
  • HTC Sensation
  • HTC Sensation XE
  • Motorola Xoom
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus
  • Samsung Nexus S

Firstly, some of the blame has to be placed on Google. The OEMs do not get access to the source code until it is publicly released, with the exemption of the partner making the flagship Nexus device, such as Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus, announced alongside Ice Cream Sandwich at a press conference in Hong Kong last year. While Google should want the Nexus phones to succeed and have an advantage over other handsets on the market at the time of release, I believe that major manufacturers such as HTC, Sony, Samsung and Google’s own subsidiary Motorola should get early access to the source code, so that handsets and devices can get the latest software promptly after it is unleashed upon the world. It is wrong to go into a store at this stage and see just one device, the Galaxy Nexus, sporting up-to-date software.

We must never forget the manufacturers themselves, as they too delay updates for a number of reasons. Firstly, they already have your money and, as such, there is little benefit to them if they spend time and money preparing software updates for phones. This raises a whole load of questions regarding the state of customer service in the 21st century, but those are for another day. An example of this kind of neglect is Samsung, with the Galaxy S. Late last year, the Korean company confirmed that they would not update the phone, the second biggest selling Android device of all time, to Ice Cream Sandwich. Their excuse? TouchWiz and Ice Cream Sandwich can’t live together on the ROM. Why not just get rid of the crappy skin which users hate?

Of course, manufacturers feel that they have to stick their bloated skins on top of Android, and updates get delayed to ensure that this is the case. Take LG for example. At Mobile World Congress 2 weeks ago, they unveiled a host of new Android devices – the Optimus L3, Optimus L5, Optimus L7, Optimus 3D Max, Optimus 4X HD and the Optimus Vu phablet. Of these, half are scheduled to launch with Gingerbread, and only the L7, L5 and 4X HD are guaranteed to have Ice Cream Sandwich. As for the rest, LG issued a vague timeframe for updates of later this year. Considering that they have no plans to update their existing phones until Q2 or even Q3 at the earliest, I wouldn’t hold out much hope of this ever happening. If such an update actually does come, the community will probably have Jelly Bean stable on the handsets. LG’s excuse? A combination of the skin and the fact that they seemingly don’t care about consumers – a statement that can be applied to almost all Android manufacturers. This infographic, made last year by Michael DeGusta of The Understatement, shows just how slow these updates can be, especially compared to iOS.

Across the internet, I have seen people complaining about the update situation, only to be told to buy a Nexus phone and have all their problems solved, but this argument is ridiculously stupid. The beauty of Android is the wide variety of handsets, tailored to suit every need. To be told that, in order to be certain to get the latest software officially, you have to buy a certain device, takes away this beauty. If I wanted that kind of situation, where I no choice in form factor in exchange for a guarantee to get updates, I’d buy an iPhone. Take the Galaxy Nexus, for instance. At 4.65″, it is way too big for me. I think the design is horrible in comparison to some other smartphones, the rear camera is, for such a high-end device, sub-par for the course, and Samsung’s incessant use of flimsy plastics mean that I would never even consider buying one. If I want to get an Android phone with almost a guarantee of an update however, I have no other choice. This is not on.

Even if I were to jump on the Nexus bandwagon, I still wouldn’t be 100% certain of updates. Certain Nexus S owners are still waiting for Google and carriers to push the ICS update to their devices, even though most GSM variants of the phone got the update to 4.0 back in December. We must not forget the Nexus One either. The HTC device was Google’s first flagship and, despite the fact that the Android community can do it, Google has announced that they do not plan to push an ICS update to the handset which is still less than 2 years old.

So, until the day comes where updates are prompt and ensured, I will not buy an Android phone or tablet. I know that there are other ways of getting updates, but manufacturers and carriers should have a duty to ensure that devices are kept up-to-date for at least the standard contract length of 24 months. And finally, before you dismiss this whole post as pure trolling of Android, I am an Android user and I am still waiting for Gingerbread. If HTC doesn’t care about an 18 month old phone, why should I?