LG Electronics Introduces the LG G2, Pt. 2-A: LG’s Five Areas of Innovation

 

LG G2 Writing in the Sand

In Part 1, I covered LG’s interest in humans and the view that, though humans are imperfect, they are the closest thing to perfection on earth. In short, to make a perfect smartphone (or something close to that), we must study humans to create a masterpiece. This brings new meaning to the statement “From G” that “to me, you are perfect.” “G,” known now as the LG G2, has “learned from you” because humans are perfect in their own right.

 

Part 1 discussed the G2 presentation concerning back volume and power buttons on the phone, a result of LG’s study of humans and how they place their hands on the phone (that’s right, a study of human hand positions). LG did not stop there, however:

 

“We learned that a phone with a 5.2-inch display is the largest that an average person could grip comfortably with one hand. We’ve also learned that the most frequently used features in the smartphone are the basic ones, which are easy to use and add convenience to our daily lives. You’ll see what else we’ve learned from you very soon. The LG G2 that you will meet in a little while will be available via key carriers around the world, including the four major carriers in the US.”

 

Have you ever noticed that manufacturers are now creating “5.x-inch” displays, such as the 5.9-inch display that HTC is soon to make into its very first phablet, the HTC One Max? Samsung looks to announce its very own Galaxy Note 3 phablet on September 4th, and the GNote 3 could come with a 5.9 or 6-inch display. Sony’s new phablet, called the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, has a 6.4-inch display and is close to the size of Google’s seven-inch Nexus 7 tablet.

 

If you’re like me, when you read about tablets and smartphones and the size of the display, you often wonder, “Who came up with that? Why not a larger display? Why a 5.2-inch display instead of a 5.5-inch display?”, and so on. The reason that companies produce tablets, smartphones, and even “phablets” with these dimensions for the display has to do with research and study.

While LG is one of the only companies to discuss its thorough human research, it is my opinion that all companies research the size of their displays before producing smartphones and tablets each year. Google did this with its Nexus 7 tablet, which explains why Google has yet to create an eight-inch tablet (although Google does sell the ten-inch Nexus 10).

 

Therefore, LG’s human research showed that only a 5.2-inch display is the maximum screen size for the human hand – meaning that phablets that are larger than this are probably not meant to be held with one hand but two. LG, however, wanted to keep the comfortability and sleek form factor, so the company went with a device that you can hold in one hand. Keep in mind that the button controls are on the back of the phone, so you can enjoy every inch of the 5.2-inch display without losing screen to accommodate the buttons. Samsung has shown with its Galaxy S4 Active that you do not have to lose much screen size to do this, but the LG G2 will give its users a nice, big display that will come in handy when watching movies, YouTube videos, and television shows.

 

As for the LG G2, what are the specs and features of the device?

 

LG G2: Specifications and Features

 

The LG G2 comes with the following specifications and features:

 

  • 5.2-inch, edge-to-edge full HD IPS LCD display
  • The first global smartphone to feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, according to Qualcomm CEO Steve Mellenkopf
  • Anti-fingerprint, Sapphire Crystal Lens (for back camera)
  • Optical Image Stabilizer for back camera (OIS)
  • 13MP back camera
  • Hi-Fi Sound (24 bit, 192kHz audio output)
  • 1920 x 1080p screen resolution
  • 2GB RAM
  • 1080p video recording (60 frames per second, or fps)
  • built-in infrared (IR) blaster
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • OS: Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
  • 16GB, 32GB memory storage
  • Colors: black and white models
  • Additional features: Guest Mode, Slide Aside, Capture Plus, Quick Remote, Text Link, Answer Me, Plug & Pop

Making It All Possible: LG’s Top Five Areas of Innovation

 

LG G2's 5 Major Areas of Innovation

The LG G2 is designed to learn from humans. What made the LG G2’s production possible consists of five areas of innovation in which LG broke through common smartphone production problems: 1) design, 2) display, 3) camera, 4) sound, and 5) User Experience.

 

First, LG blazes a trail for its G2 smartphone in design. I already mentioned the back power and volume buttons that are placed where your index finger should be. This is because your index finger wants to be comfortable in the back middle area of the smartphone. LG wanted to give the index finger something to do, since it seems to be comfortable in this area of the smartphone.

 

In addition to the index finger utility, LG also wanted to make it easy to wake up your smartphone or put your smartphone to sleep. This was an interesting part of the presentation that few viewers may or may not have noticed. When LG President Dr. Park decided to arrive on the LG stage, he decided to knock on the phone to wake up the large phone display on stage before he took the LG G2 out of his pocket. The knockON feature to wake up the LG G2 is the same knock-knock feature that users will get with the device. Now, instead of pressing a button, you can simply knock on the display as you would the door of a relative’s or friend’s house – and the phone will wake up. Tap the display a few more times, and the device will go back to sleep.

 

Knock to wake up your phone

The knockON feature is pretty cool, considering that very few smartphones on the market allow something like this to wake up the device. Samsung does have some voice commands that allow you to do things with your phone, but you still must wake up your phone by pressing either 1) a capacitive button or 2) a physical touch button. LG took its “learning from you” philosophy and wanted to provide an easy action that humans are used to doing all the time.

 

When you go visit someone at his or her house, or you want to get someone’s attention and he or she is parked in a car, what do you do? You knock on the car glass or the door. If you think that this knock-knock feature is out in left field, just think about the Moto X: Google has programmed the Moto X to activate your camera after you flick your wrist twice. LG, as with Google, Motorola, and even Samsung, want to give users a fun experience whereby they can do cool things to activate basic functions they use on their smartphones every day.

 

The back controls can also be used to access LG’s Quick Memo function, a feature similar to Samsung’s S-Memo application on the GS3, GS4, and Galaxy Notes 1 and 2. Apart from this, you can actually take pictures of yourself and combo portraits with you and others by using the back controls.

 

It appears as though LG does not have a “reverse field” application available on both the iPhone 5 and the GS4 (and GS4 Active), whereby a user can press the button to take pictures of himself or herself, then flip the camera focus again when taking pictures of a scene, environment, or of others who are at a distance from the smartphone. It is possible that LG does have on-screen controls, so I guess the back buttons are to help consumers take “selfies” (portraits of themselves) quickly, without the need to access the camera application’s on-screen buttons.

 

LG G2 Gets Sapphire Crystal Back Camera Lens

Also introduced when talking about portraits is the anti-fingerprint sapphire crystal glass camera lens on the camera to protect the back-camera from smudging and smearing photos when they are taken. LG’s step here is an imitation of Apple, who placed a sapphire crystal lens on the back of its iPhone 5 (a step up for the company) to protect the lens from smudging and smearing photos. Samsung could learn from this; while its cameras can take decent photos, the GS3 and now the GS4 Active are prone to smudging the camera lens and, thus, smudging and smearing photos.

 

I’ve found that to be a repeated problem with both my GS3 and GS4, and I’ve had to pause before taking a photo and clean my back camera lens. In pictures where I have not cleaned the camera lens, I have found that pictures look terrible after I snap them. LG is to be applauded on this decision, and it is my hope that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S5 (in 2014) will follow the trend of Apple and LG in protecting photos and cameras from damage.

 

The LG G2 Display

 

With regard to the 5.2-inch display, I was curious to discover why LG decided to go with this dimension. LG has studied the width of displays since the iPhone emerged on the market in 2007. The company discovered that displays entered the market with a width of 2.4 inches, but have since grown to 2.7 inches in the last six years. At the same time as the width of the display has grown, consumers have started to spend more time with their smartphones – leading to both hand and eye fatigue. LG wanted to craft a smartphone that would help both the hands and the eyes, so the company decided to keep the 2.7-inch width while freeing up the bezel space for the display. This is what motivated LG to go with an edge-to-edge display for the LG G2.

 

LG went into detail about the display look and legibility. The LG G2 comes with a full HD IPS LCD (liquid crystal display) display consisting of what Moto X engineer Iqbal Arshad would call true 1080p screen resolution. LG Senior Marketing VP James Fishler compared the G2’s RGB pixel resolution (“RGB” stands for “red-blue-green”) to a full HD AMOLED (“AMOLED” stands for active-matrix-organic-light-emitting-diode) display that looks similar to Samsung’s PenTile arrangement in its super AMOLED display on the Galaxy S3.

Samsung used a new diamond-shaped arrangement of pixels in the Galaxy S4, which was implemented to make colors on-screen more uniform than they had been on the GS3 (while still keeping a full HD screen on the GS4). The result for LG is that LG claims its G2 has more “subpixels per inch” (as opposed to PPI, or pixels per inch) than any AMOLED display on the market.

 

LG G2 screen contrasted with Samsung Galaxy S4 screen

 

 

James Fishler wants consumers to focus on sub-pixels, but the truth of the matter is that PPI (pixels per inch) determines the brightness of the display. LG’s G2 has true 1080p video recording and a true 1080p screen resolution, but if you compare the LG G2 screen with that of the Galaxy S4, which screen looks the most vibrant? In a word, the GS4. Why is this the case? This is true because AMOLED and even super AMOLED screens are brighter than your best HD LCD screen and “pop” with vibrant colors. This has always been the case between AMOLED displays and LCD screens.

 

As someone who owns a GS3 and iPhone 5, not to mention a GS4 Active, Samsung’s waterproof GS4, I can say that the GS3 is much brighter in appearance than the iPhone 5. You can see this especially if you turn off the brightness on both phones and place the brightness levels at “0.” With me, brightness stays on “0” on my GS3, but I tend to turn up my brightness more on the iPhone 5. Thus, it is true that AMOLED displays are much brighter than LCD displays. If you don’t believe this, take an AMOLED display smartphone out into the sunlight and compare it to an LCD screen in the sun. The difference is noticeable.

 

LG Contrasts Samsung pixels with LG's subpixels

 

LCD screens, while having full HD resolution, tend to drain smartphone batteries more than AMOLED and super AMOLED screens. LG, when introducing the phone, announced that its GRAM (or graphics RAM) will help conserve battery life by about 10% while reducing power consumption on the LG G2 by 26% over LG’s prior smartphone. An AMOLED display would conserve more battery life than LG’s HD LCD screen.

 

I have detailed the design and display, but there are still three areas of innovation in which LG’s G2 transforms the smartphone market: 3) camera, 4) sound, and 5) user experience.

Now read LG G2 Part 2B

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