LG announces G Pro 2 with Snapdragon 800 processor, slow-mo video

640_31Ahead of Mobile World Congress later this month, LG has just announced its new LG G Pro 2 device as a successor the original G Pro, unveiled at MWC last year. The G Pro 2 features a 5.9-inch full HD IPS display with a 3.3mm thin bezel, giving it a screen to size ratio of 77 percent, putting it near the top of the numbers we saw earlier this week about other devices.

The G Pro 2 also features a 13MP camera that is capable of 12oFPS slow-motion video recording, in addition to standard 4k recording. The camera also includes a variety of shooting modes, including a “Flash for Selfie” mode that offers more “soft” lighting for self-portraits.

In terms of power, the device features a 2.26GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with an Adreno 330 GPU and 3GB of RAM. It has a 3200mAh battery, as well as a microSD card slot for up to 64GB of additional storage. The G Pro 2 itself will be sold in 16GB and 32GB variants. It will ship with Android 4.4 KitKat.

LG is also touting a new “Knock Code” feature that supposedly makes unlocking and using your phone even easier. Knock Code allows users to unlock their G Pro 2  by simply tapping their screens using one of the 86,367 “knock” combinations.

As far as availability goes, the device is available in Korea now, but LG says it does not know when it will launch in other areas. Full press release after the jump.

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Google Mobile Services restrictions for OEMs once again coming under scrutiny

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The Wall Street Journal has published a new report in which it claims that there are some major “strings attached” for manufacturers when it comes to using Android. According to documents obtained by the publication, Google has imposed strict regulations on companies that wish to have access to YouTube or the Play Store on their devices. The documents show that in order to receive access to those services, companies are forced to feature other Google apps and set Google search as the default search engine on the device.

Companies wishing to gain access to Google services are forced to sign a “Mobile Application Distribution Agreement” with Google. Both HTC and Samsung have signed such agreements, which force them to preinstall twelve Google apps on any device they release. Other details of the agreement include placing the Search and Play Store apps “immediately adjacent” to the homescreen, and that Google apps appear no more than one screen away. Samsung and Google also recently signed a deal to license each other’s patents for the next 10 years.

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Samsung announces Black Edition Galaxy S4 & S4 mini w/ Note 3-style backside

Samsung announced today that it’s releasing a couple variations of its Galaxy S4 and S4 mini smartphones that introduce the faux “leather-style” backside that first made an appearance on the new Note 3 at IFA in September. The new devices are dubbed “Black Edition” and come with wallpapers to match, but otherwise are the same 5-inch and 4.3-inch Galaxy S4 devices that have been on the market for nearly a couple years now. Samsung says the special Black Editions will be available in select markets starting this month. Read more

Google Doodle shows support for LGBT Olympians in Sochi

Screenshot 2014-02-06 19.57.43

With a simple quote of the Olympic Charter and a rainbow array of  Winter Olympians and their events, Google is subtly standing up for the rights of Gay and Lesbian olympians. Simple, beautiful.

“The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.” –Olympic Charter

Google rarely adds wording to its homepage which is seen by hundreds of millions of people every day.

Google’s $3.2 billion purchase of Nest cleared by FTC

Photo: websummit.net

Photo: websummit.net

After announcing that it had acquired smart thermostat maker Nest for $3.2 billion in cash last month, Google’s purchase was of course still subject to the normal regulatory approvals. Today the deal has finally been made official with the FTC granting approval of the acquisition through an “early termination” of the commission’s review of the purchase. It looks like the FTC has no concerns over the deal violating antitrust laws so pending any other regulatory body jumping in before the 30-day waiting period is up, Google shouldn’t have any issues closing the deal.

Google had already invested in the company through its Google Ventures arm, but the purchase means Nest will officially become a part of Google. In its original statement announcing the acquisition, Google noted that Nest will continue “its own distinct brand identity” and that founder Tony Fadell will continue to run the company. Read more

Fresh off sale to Lenovo, Motorola readies product launch event for Mobile World Congress

motorola_MWC_2014_event

I have to admit, I’m less excited now that they aren’t part of Google but the newly acquired wing of Lenovo is inviting folks to its February 25th event at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.  What’s on order? A phab/tablet? A Moto X2? Maybe we’ll just hear what the big plan is now that they aren’t part of El Goog, though the image above seems to imply something is under the covers.

We’ll bring the news to you as it comes later this month.