LG

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Hands-On with the LG GM730

LG's most interesting / innovative phone at CTIA09 is definitely the GD900, which sports a multi-touch slide-down keypad that's also transparent.  It's pretty slick and we're hoping it's a sign of the innovation they intend to bring to all those Windows Phones they committed themselves to back at Mobile World Congress. Something else they committed themselves to at MWC: the LG GM730 (aka the Eigen).  It's a slab-form WinMo machine with the "S-Class UI," 240x400 screen, and a 5 megapixel camera.

Holding it in your hand, it's so obviously cribbed from the original iPhone it's hard to know what else to say about it -- the curves along the side are straight up iPhone.  The backing is a little classier, though, with a nice texture to it.

So while we expect great things from LG, we're hoping a bit of the innovation they're bringing to their featurephone lineup is able to cross over to Windows Mobile and do so right quick.

You know the drill: pics after the break, with bonus CTIA Booth Etiquitte complaint.

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Review: LG Incite

One of the surprise announcements from the 2009 Mobile World Congress was LG's partnership with Microsoft. The electronics manufacturer pledged to make Windows Mobile its primary operating system for smartphones. LG also pledged to develop 50 phones over the the next few years, all running Windows Mobile. While our curiosity awaits what new designs LG has in store for Windows Mobile, we thought we would take a look at a current model that is running Windows Mobile, the LG Incite, offered through AT&T.

The LG markets the Incite as a 3G world phone that achieves its reflective beauty through the skillful use of minimalistic design. Read on after the break to see what impression the LG Incite made and whether the minimalistic design fits the Windows Mobile market.

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer invited LG exec Skott Ahn up on stage at Mobile World Congress. The two ripped through a couple of showtunes, and then Ahn dropped the bomb — LG's making Windows Mobile it's primary smartphone operating system for the foreseeable future.

We're talking dozens (like, 50 or so) phones over the next three years. They two companies will have joint marketing services, and Ahn joined in on the new company line (which we also heard back at CES): "I'm sure we can take the Windows Phone market to the next level," he said.

We've had the less-than-stellar LG Incite on AT&T now for a while in the states. We're expecting to see at least a few LG Windows Phones (might as well get used to that moniker) here at MWC09.

Full presser after the jump.

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We've received confirmation that the LG Incite is indeed suffering from a serious SMS issue. Apparently, the Incite is set up to send SMS messages over GPRS, while AT&T is only able to handle them over traditional GSM means.  Well, technically, AT&T can handle SMS over traditional GSM or over 3G networks, but can't send them via EDGE.  So the upshot is this: If you're in a 3G area, you should be fine.  If you're not in 3G, sorry for your luck.

Good news is now that AT&T has figured out what the issue is, they can work with LG on a resolution.  Meanwhile, here are some ways to get that rassin-frassin SMS to send, none of them pleasing:

  • If you're within 30 days, take the Incite back and get it replaced with a different WinMo phone that, you know, is able to send SMS messages reliably
  • Get to a 3G area, resend
  • Call AT&T and remove your data plan from the account, forcing the device to fall back to the traditional GSM sending method
  • ...and our personal favorite: Place a call and then send the SMS while in call.  Since you can't both have EDGE data open and be on a call at the same time, the Incite will fall back to the traditional GSM sending method.  We recommend calling the person you're sending to, letting them know they can finally expect your reply to their text.  Giggle.

Anybody out there run into this particular bug?

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LG Incite SMS Failing

A confession about the LG Incite: we have one at WME HQ, but can't bring ourselves to give it a closer look or a review because it's just so... meh to us. This is not an opinion shared by all of our readers, however, as we've had some interaction with a few (Hi Chris, Joe!) who are pretty happy with theirs.

So as a service to you, the lonely LG Incite owner, we are telling you that you are not alone and that the SMS bug you're encountering is not your fault. From inside AT&T:

Customers who have purchased the LG CT810 (Incite) have had errors when attempting to send a SMS message in some locations. Customers with this issue have seen the following message “Your text message can not be sent” and the message is not sent. LG is correcting a setting in the device to correct this issue.

We don't like to hear such things about any WM device, much less one that might actually be a sleeper hit for AT&T since it's fairly inexpensive and there's no official Diamond on the network to compete with it. Here's to hoping LG gets the fix out soon. In the meantime -- anybody run into this on the Incite or other devices? Perhaps there's a RegEdit that could help?

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Samsung apparently isn't fond of dealing with Qualcomm's patent hassles anymore, or perhaps they've been spooked by how difficult it is to write video drivers for Qualcomm's chipsets, or perhaps they just don't like Qualcomm's LTE roadmap, or maybe it's just the stated reason from EETimes [via mobile burn]: they're unhappy with how much the royalties cost.

Whatever the reason, it looks like Samsung is going it alone for the chips that power their phone, opting to develop them in-house instead of using Qualcomm or Broadcom chips. It also appears that LG may follow suit.

While we're generally happy to see more competition, we do have a bit of a concern about compatibility and standards here. Sure, Samsung will likely drive down costs and speed up development of their handsets with this move. We just hope that Samsung, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Infineon, and the other players in this 4G chips space can agree on some common standards that will make life easier for other shops that can't make their own chips and also easier for carriers to approve handsets more quickly. The last thing we want is redux of the all-out patent war we have been witnessing with the 3G chipsets.

What say you? Smart move by Samsung?

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LG Incite Hits AT&T

Engadget told us it was coming, AT&T tells us that, yes, it's here. Don't tell Malatesta, but we've got another basic slab phone on the block: the LG Incite. We've seen non-US WM phones from LG before, so we'll be interested to see how they build one up for the States. Here's how:

  • 4.21 x 2.2 x 0.55 inches
  • 256 mb ROM / 128 RAM / MicroSD
  • Tri-Band 3G, Quad-Band EDGE
  • GPS
  • Accelerometer
  • WiFi and Bluetooth (corrected)
  • Wacky 240x400 screen resolution on a 3“ screen
  • Windows Mobile Pro 6.1
  • Touchscreen Only, just send & and, no d-pad
  • XM and Pandora streaming radio(!)
  • 3mp camera
  • 1300 mAh battery good for 8.7 hours of talk(?!)
  • What looks to be some custom Today Screen plugins

All this can be yours for $500 off-contract or $199 with 2 years and mail-in rebates and suchlike. What say you, folks, interested?

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Add One More to the Bandwagon: LG

Looks like LG may be prepping to actually release a Windows Mobile phone here in the US. LG has already shown us the LG KS20 and the WiMAX version thereof at CES 2008, but neither seemed destined for the US. Now Intomobile is reporting that a Windows Mobile phone may be headed to AT&T shelves.

Specifications on this rumored device include 3G capabilities, Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity, a flush 240x400 screen, and a 3mp camera with flash. Dimensions are reported by Engadget as being 106.95 x 55 x 13.9mm with a full metal case.

If rumors hold true, expect to see this new mystery device later this year, likely during the holiday rush. Not much more to say on this potential LG phone except another passenger has boarded the rumor train.

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Yep, somehow this one got by us earlier. LG has a WiMAX version of the KS20, which is the Windows Mobile version of the Prada phone. Got that? Good, let's move on.

Let's start with the WiMax. It runs on Clearwire (they who recently broke up with Sprint) but is only tri-band GSM (900/1800/1900), so it'll need a revamp before it will work in the US. It feels just as sexy as the HTC Touch, but in a boxy sort of way.

As for the KS20, we don't really have too much to say. It's a quad-band Windows Mobile 6 Pro device with a 2mp camera and WiFi. Essentially it's an HTC Touch-alternative. There is a newish implementation of the today screen that's slightly more thumb-able than the default, but it certainly doesn't hold a candle to TouchFLO.

In other words, we're a little disappointed in ya, LG. We know you have the chops to make great phones (ref. the LG Chocolate), we just wish you'd try a little harder with Windows Mobile.

Gallery after the break!

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LG to make Windows Mobile Smartphones?

We've been awfully hard on Broadcom here at WMExperts, mainly because we (ok, me, for various reasons) have an inherent bias against patents getting in the way of companies releasing new shiny gadgets. It may be time to leaven that harshness, however, as it appears that Broadcom is going to be a new dealer provider of 3G chips for future Windows Mobile smartphones:

A recent sign of Broadcom's newfound footing in basebands came May 31, when Broadcom said it and Microsoft (MSFT), the world's largest software company, had jointly created a design center in Taiwan where the companies will develop basebands that run Microsoft's Windows Mobile software.

So instead of preventing Sprint and Verizon from getting 3G phones, Broadcom's patent will enable the CDMA-duo to get them - with Broadcom's chips. So the system is working. Now the interesting part, who exactly is interested in using these Broadcom chips to make Windows Mobile phones? Apparently it's LG(!):

"Several [manufacturers] have been pushing Broadcom and Microsoft to build this development center," says John Starkweather, general manager of mobile communications at Microsoft. He adds that, later this year, a major manufacturer will release a Windows Mobile device based on a Broadcom baseband chip. Neither company would identify the handset maker or say how much they're spending on the design center. But Starkweather says Korea's LG Electronics asked Broadcom and Microsoft to work together and that Microsoft is spending as much on the center with Broadcom as it has on comparable efforts with TI and Qualcomm.

Read: Broadcom Reaps Patent Suit Benefits

If LG can bring hotness like their Prada phone with Windows Mobile on board, I can break out my credit card -- despite my claims to be more practical about my smartphone purchasing.

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When we speculated that the new Broadcom/Micosoft Design center built at LG's behest meant we've have the Prada phone running Windows Mobile, we figured it would be a long time before there was confirmation. Like, a week. Or not - because two days later LG has unveiled the KS20 -- announcing availability in Europe by the end of the year. Pah - snooty Europeans getting their fashion phones before us.

All I know is that I'm thankful that they've ran far away from the design elements of the prototype shown at CTIA in March 2007. Fugly? Super fugly.

Although the KS20 shares much of the looks of the KU990, they've actually trimmed back the display to 2.8-inches (compared to 3-inches on the KU990) while acing that 5.1 megapixel shooter for a skimpy, business-minded 2 megapixeler all riding atop a Windows Mobile 6.0 OS. Expected Q4 in Europe r

Read: LG's KS20 ready for the suits with WinMo 6 and HSDPA - Engadget Mobile

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