LG's new G3 smartphone features ultra-sharp screen

LG's new smartphone has a sharper screen than other leading phones and a customizable keyboard that promises to make typing easier.

Simple design eschews bells and whistles like fingerprint sensor

Models pose with LG Electronics' new G3 smartphones during an unveiling ceremony in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday. (Ahn Young-joon/Associated Press)

LG's new smartphone provides sharper pictures than other leading phones, while sporting a customizable keyboard that promises to make typing easier.

The G3 phone's high-resolution display has 538 pixels per inch. Most other phones are in the 300-pixel range, with a handful reaching the 400s. The phone's display measures 5.5 inches diagonally, yet the phone is only a tad larger and heavier than Samsung's 5.1-inch Galaxy S5.

But the G3 lacks water resistance, a fingerprint reader and a heart-rate monitor — all of which are found in the S5.

In an interview Tuesday, U.S. marketing executive Chang Ma said LG wanted to emphasize simplicity and avoid loading the phone with features that are complex to use or don't work well. With water resistance, for instance, Ma said LG would have had to "sacrifice other key features and functions," including keeping the weight down and the device small enough to hold comfortably.

Unlock via pattern of taps

The G3 also promises fast auto-focusing and one-touch controls on its 13-megapixel camera. People will be able to unlock phones not with passcodes but a pattern of taps on the screen. The keyboard's height can be adjusted to make keys bigger or smaller, and users can choose which symbols appear on the bottom row.

But many of the innovations in the G3 are familiar. For instance, it offers a way to hide certain photos and video when lending a phone to others. Samsung's S5 has a similar feature.

LG said the phone will be available in a few markets this week, including its home country of South Korea. It will be available in the U.S. this summer through all major wireless carriers. Prices weren't announced.

LG has had trouble getting noticed for its smartphones in a market dominated by Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc. According to Gartner, LG had a market share of less than 5 per cent last year, in fourth place just behind Huawei. Samsung had a 31 per cent market share last year and Apple had 16 per cent.

Last year's G2 phone was notable for moving the power and volume controls to the back, which the company said made the phone easier to handle and less prone to drops. But the phone got little attention. The G Flex, a phone with a curved display, was expensive, and the benefits of the slight curve weren't apparent. LG also makes the Nexus 5 phone under Google's brand.

Ma said LG has learned from past launches and will emphasize not the specifications and the technology but the benefits that they provide.

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