LG Introduces the LG G2, Pt. 2-B: LG’s Five Major Areas of Innovation (Continued)

LG G2 Interstate Sign Message

 

 

In Pt. 2-A of LG’s five major areas of innovation with the LG G2, I talked about the design and the display. It was said there that LG transformed its design and display with humans in mind. At the same time, however, I made the point that LG’s emphasis on “sub-pixels” attempts to derail the necessary conversation about pixels per inch (or PPI). At this moment in the smartphone market, Samsung’s 441ppi on the GS4 blows all other smartphones out of the water, including the LG G2.

 

While some claim that Samsung’s GS4 does not have true 1080p resolution, as does the LG G2, there is no doubt in my mind that the GS4 has a brighter screen resolution than LG’s full HD LCD. AMOLED screens outrank LCD screens in brightness, every time.

 

LG G2's 5 Major Areas of Innovation

In any case, it is clear that LG has put a lot of research and effort into the G2, and there are three other major areas in which the LG G2 is an innovator: camera, sound, and user experience. As for LG’s camera, it is a breakthrough from the conventional camera because it is a 13-megapixel camera with an optical image stabilizer (OIS). There are numerous 13MP rear-facing cameras on the market (GS4, Xperia Z, to name two of the most popular), but the LG G2 is the first 13MP camera that utilizes OIS to prevent your photos from showing motion blur.

LG used the example of you, the consumer, driving down the highway, while you’ve just arrived in a new town or country and want to take pictures of the countryside. The last thing you want is for your images to be blurry while you’re getting great pictures of the Swiss Alps, for example. With the LG G2’s optical image stabilizer, you don’t have to worry about your shaky hands; the G2 will still produce perfectly still photos, no matter the circumstances. To enhance your wonderful photos, LG has also added an anti-fingerprint sapphire crystal lens to your back camera. As discussed previously, this will prevent your photos from having smearing and smudges.

 

Next on the major areas of innovation for LG’s G2 smartphone is sound. Fishler points out in his presentation that most individuals assume CD recorded sound is the best we can get, and they settle for the sound present in CD recordings. Fortunately, actual sound can get a lot better than that found on CD recordings, and the LG G2 wants to bring a surround sound experience to your ears.

 

With this in mind, the LG G2 has included Hi-Fi (high-fidelity) sound that brings songs to your ears in a crystal-clear manner. At the presentation, LG Electronics USA Senior Marketing VP James Fishler played a Vienna Boys’ Choir ringtone from the LG G2 to let consumers hear how much more clear the sound can be. From what I heard, the LG G2 will produce a sound unlike I’ve ever heard before.

 

According to Fishler, Hi-Fi sound not only records the voices of the singers, but also the pauses of the piano, the sound of the hands hitting the piano keys, the breathing habits of the singers, and so on. If this is what crystal-clear music should be, then I think users will be pleasantly surprised by the LG G2. In addition, I think this is something Apple should pick up on and produce in the iPhone 5S (although I doubt Apple will take cues from LG Electronics, or Android for that matter).

 

Last but not least in LG’s major areas of innovation comes the user experience. To aid users in their daily interaction with the G2, LG Electronics has decided to add some software features that will make using the G2 a little easier: Guest Mode, Slide Aside, Capture Plus, Quick Remote, Text Link, Answer Me. Guest Mode allows you to hide your account and account information (or phone desktop) from other users, particularly your children. Guest Mode is also optimized for parents to limit the apps and levels of games their children are allowed to enter into.

 

While Guest Mode is a great way to ensure user privacy, this is not a feature that has not been done before. Google added this feature to its 2013 Nexus 7 tablet. The Nexus 7 has always allowed users to create multiple user accounts (2 or more users can have their own desktop experiences on the same Nexus 7 tablet), but Google took it a step further when they introduced Android 4.3 Jelly Bean nearly three weeks ago.

 

Creating a limited user profile of sorts, Google now allows parents to limit apps as well as the level of the game app you want your child to stop in. Amazon’s Kindle now allows parents to set timers on apps so that, when the buzzer goes off, your child no longer has access to the game that they were playing.

 

These types of parental control implementations are a result of problems in everyday life. Apple has experienced the result of what happens when kids use their mom’s or dad’s iPad and purchased tons of apps within a matter of minutes because of the ease with which apps can be downloaded. At the App Store on iOS, a user can click “download” or “buy app” for numerous apps within a 15-minute span while only entering his or her password once.

 

In cases where the parent types in his or her password one time, children can then download apps without the need of any password whatsoever. Apple recently paid off parents in a lawsuit worth millions as a result of its failure to do something about the child app download crisis. With Google’s work on Android 4.3, and LG’s work on Guest Mode, however, the ball is now in Apple’s court to do something about the child app download issue.

 

Apple has done something to slow down the problem: the company has added “in-purchase warnings” on various freemium games at the App Store. At the same time, however, this doesn’t do much. If a parent notices that a game has in-app purchases, the parent will still have to monitor the child’s actions every moment to make sure that the child doesn’t purchase anything within the app.

 

LG and Google, however, solve the problem by allowing parents to set parameters in the smartphone and tablet settings and forget about it once the child starts to play. Since the parent can set the parameters in the settings function, parents can then go about their day doing whatever it is they need to do – without worry or concern that their child will ring up a new app bill at the end of the month or week.

 

With Apple’s new warnings, parents will still have to worry about their bill and check behind their children at the end of each day. This is an area in which Apple needs to step forward and grant more control in iOS to parents who need to set parameters for their children. Unfortunately, to give parents more control means that Apple will have to relinquish some of its control over iOS – and that will likely never happen.

 

Slide Aside is another neat feature in the LG G2 that allows you to multitask better. Have you noticed that Samsung uses a multi-window mode in its GS3 (Premium Suite Upgrade, Android 4.1.2), GS4, GS4 Active, and Galaxy Note series that allows you to check your email while watching a talk show on YouTube, for example? LG has now provided its own help with multitasking in Slide Aside, a feature that allows you to take your fingers and simply swipe across the screen to move from one app to another. I believe you can do this with three of your most frequently used apps, so pick your three wisely.

 

Change the Channel with LG G2's Quick Remote

 

Quick Remote is a feature that is similar to the HTC One’s IR blaster that functions as a remote control, not to mention Samsung’s WatchON feature (notice that LG also uses a knockON feature, having a similar name?). In both the HTC One and GS4, there is an IR blaster that allows you to connect your smartphone to your TV and change the channel via Bluetooth 4.0. If you’ve ever reached for your TV remote and couldn’t find it, you will love this feature that has been implemented into the LG G2. After all, we do everything else with our smartphones; why not change the channel with our smartphones?

 

Some people doubt whether having an IR blaster is useful for remote control changes, but I have used it in a real-life situation recently. Some weeks ago, my adopted brother and his wife (he and I aren’t family, but we adopted each other as siblings) and I were at their apartment. Their two-year-old niece had taken their remote control and hidden it from them, such that they looked everywhere around the apartment and still couldn’t find it.

 

I happened to have my GS4 Active with me, and I told them that I had it. They said, “Well, then, we’ll let you change the channel.” Within ten minutes, I had cut on the GS4 Active (Samsung’s waterproof phone), opened up my WatchON app, selected the correct television set, and presto! – I cut the TV on with my phone, selected a channel with the application’s in-built virtual TV remote, and was changing channels and adjusting the volume left and right.

 

My adopted brother is the sort that doesn’t like to be beat at these things. He is a competitor in all things (and I do mean all), so he decided to see if he could download an application at the App Store on iOS to get a TV remote app on his iPhone. He was told that he didn’t have an IR blaster, so he couldn’t download an application and change the channel.

 

He looked at me, shook his head in disbelief, and said nothing. His wife responded with the following: “It seems as if Apple’s behind in innovation.” While I love Apple and I have been the proud owner of a 2011 MacBook Pro, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 3 with Retina display, and an iPod Touch 3rd-generation, I would have to agree (at least on the IR blaster part). Some people call Samsung’s IR blaster, like the HTC One’s, a “gimmick” that “people aren’t really gonna use in the real world.” However, get in a situation like my brother and his wife, and you will see the need for an IR blaster in your smartphone clearly.

 

Text Link is a new feature that allows you to link a “text” discussion about an appointment to your in-built calendar on the LG G2. If someone wants to set up a coffee date with you three days from now, and mentions it in a discussion, just set “text link” on in your settings and the phone will allow you to place the date on your calendar right away – while you’re in a text message conversation, without having to even leave the app. This means that you can spend more time texting and less time handling distractions.

 

Answer your next call with Answer ME

 

Answer Me is a feature similar to the Direct Call function that Samsung has placed on the GS3 and GS4. The function allows you to answer a call without swiping or sliding your finger to unlock the phone and answer the call; rather, you need only take the phone and place it to your ear to have the call transfer automatically. In the words of Senior VP Fishler:

 

How do you answer your phone? You grab it, maybe look to see who’s calling, tap or swipe to receive the call, and then you place the phone next to your ear. But, how did you answer your phone back in the old days, when it had a cord? You simply picked it up, and put it to your ear. You can still go through all those steps if you want, but with a new feature from LG called Answer Me, you no longer have to.

Answer Me was born from the simpler way of doing things: as soon as you pick up a ringing G2, the phone senses it, turns down the ringtone, and connects the call. No more pushing a button or swiping to get a call. And guess what else? For all you New Yorkers during the winter when you’re wearing gloves, there’s no need to take them off to answer the phone.

 

LG is to be applauded for its Answer Me feature, but Samsung is way ahead. Samsung emerged with a direct call feature on its GS3 phone in 2012, and the company has gone so far as to emerge with a gloves-free response to answering calls and viewing text messages (known as floating touch gesture controls) in the GS4 experience. Still, it’s admirable to see LG Electronics making an effort to become a giant in the smartphone arena. The LG Nexus 4 was rather well-received, and LG’s Optimus G has actually defeated Apple’s iPhone 5 influence on some major national carriers in the United States. It will be interesting to see how the LG G2 is received worldwide.

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