This year at CES, LG's big announcements were focused around the living room. The company's brand new webOS-powered TVs show a deep rethinking of onscreen TV interfaces, and LG debuted some fantastically thin and large OLED screens.
Jan 7, 2014
From Siri to Google Now, every company wants to make interacting with technology a bit more natural. LG is now extending that idea to smart appliances with a new service called HomeChat, but it isn't focused on using your voice — it's instead based around the instant message.Read Article >
The service lets owners of a new LG smart washer, drier, fridge, air conditioner, or vacuum cleaner control functions of their appliances just by sending a message. You could tell the washer to start a load of laundry, have your vacuum stop cleaning before you get home, or turn off your air-conditioner if you plan on staying out of the house.
Jan 7, 2014
The CES show floor is officially open, and we've finally had a chance to take LG's new webOS TV interface for a spin. There's little doubt that LG has come up with a clever and simple way to run your TV, compared to the commonly overwrought interfaces seen on most other smart TVs. Unfortunately, the product also showed some flaws due to the combination of a tough CES connectivity environment and early-stage software.Read Article >
As we learned yesterday, the interface is composed of three sections. The "present" area, always accessible by hitting the "home" button on the remote, shows your favorite apps and content sources as selected by each user. Here you can pin your cable box, Netflix and Hulu apps, and anything else you might download through LG's store. You access each of these apps via LG's new Magic Remote — it's a small take on the usual TV remote that hooks to the TV through Bluetooth. The main way of controlling the interface is by pointing and clicking; it's not at all dissimilar to using the interface on Nintendo's Wii.
It's rare, if ever, for TV software to be the most anticipated debut at a big CES press event, but that's exactly what LG's webOS interface achieved ahead of the company's presser today. Alas, we weren't allowed to touch LG's Magic Remote, which will work in concert with the webOS UI, and really get to grips with it; but in terms of its look and feel, it really does convey a sense of much smoother and less cluttered interaction between user and TV. It's still somewhat odd to need to direct a cursor across the screen, but there's no denying that the slices representing each app and the general interface that we were shown had the right idea overall. Everything is large, easily readable, and uncomplicated — all important considerations when building a usable television interface.Read Article >
LG promises that over half of its 2014 TVs will run the new webOS UI, and there should be greater opportunity to sample it at the company's booth later on in the week. For now, webOS looks as promising as we thought it would be. It certainly has Netflix CEO Reed Hastings geeked, as he was around after the event to talk up the new LG software.
One of the best traditions of CES is getting to see the jaw-dropping brilliance of large-screened OLED TVs, primarily from the two Korean giants LG and Samsung. This year has been no different, though LG has cranked things up a couple of notches by curving its 77-inch OLED panel. The new TV, though it's taking a secondary position behind the new webOS software and the 105-inch curved IPS LCD, is my personal favorite from LG's debuts at CES 2014, with its stupendously thin bezels and engrossing picture quality. It has to also be said the curve on the display works much better on such a large scale than it does on the peculiar 6-inch G Flex handset.Read Article >
This new TV also represents a melding of the two major TV innovations of last year's CES: 4K resolution and OLED were the big headliners of the 2013 show and today we get to see them in one panel. A curved one, at that! What's remarkable about this set is that its curvature can be controlled by the user. Using the TV's remote, one can alter the curve to their own preference.
Jan 6, 2014Read Article >
LG's curved smartphone, the G Flex, is heading to the US. On stage at CES today, LG announced that AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile will all begin carrying the G Flex this quarter. Pricing and exact availability haven't been announced yet, but interested buyers will want to hope that the carriers offer a sizable subsidy: off-contract, it's been going for around $940. Whether there will be a lot of interested buyers is another question though. While its curves are certainly impressive, there's nothing on the phone that takes advantage of them, and we found LG's Android customization to be more of a detriment than an improvement. Whether it succeeds or not, it's never a bad thing to see an adventurous new device get wide support from carriers.
Jan 6, 2014Read Article >
When you first boot up your smart TV, Bean Bird encourages you to calibrate your remote and walks you through the steps. The process alternates between guiding animations and short little cinematics that are designed to provide mini congratulations and encouragements for completing each step. There's also discouragement: if you choose not to set up Wi-Fi, for example, an angry Bean Bird marches across the screen with a surrender flag while a mob of his compatriots agitate in the background. LG really wants you to set up all the features on that TV.
Jan 6, 2014
We're live at CES 2014. With one day to go until the show floor opens, literally dozens of major companies are making their big announcements today.Read Article >
Jan 6, 2014
LG hasn't yet taken the stage for its CES keynote, but the company's Korea division has already revealed the webOS TV. Palm's mobile operating system has been resurrected as a TV interface that focuses on ease of use. And LG is putting its weight behind the effort: webOS will be used on over 70 percent of the company's 2014 Smart TV lineup. webOS on the TV is very different from what you remember on mobile phones. It's now based around three new features: simple connection, simple switching, and simple discovery.Read Article >
Simple connection aims to help users properly set up the TV. When you first turn on the TV, an animated character called Bean Bird appears to help guide you through various options. Simple switching is reminiscent of the cards interface as seen on Palm's smartphones; it promises to help users jump between recently used apps. A full-scale app store is also seen in LG's images, complete with selections like Twitter, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, CinemaNow, and MLB.tv. As you'd expect, webOS also comes with a built-in web browser. LG's Korean press release also mentions voice and gesture-based controls. webOS TVs will appear first in Korea, later coming to the US and Europe before spreading across the rest of the world.
Jan 5, 2014
It's still a few days before CES kicks off, but it's looking like LG is planning to make the webOS brand a major part of its marketing for the first webOS TV. A tipster has provided The Verge with images from the CES show floor, and the webOS TV has a highly prominent place in LG's massive booth. From what we can tell, it doesn't look like the set is actually out and on display yet, but there's a large area where LG will show off the highlight features of its new set. LG's touting an "easy navigation," "fun setup," and "simple connection" features, but it's not clear yet how any of these features will work. There's also a new webOS logo — it's definitely reminiscent of HP and Palm's earlier branding, but with LG's color scheme and slightly tweaked text.Read Article >
What these pictures do tell us is that LG is going to put the long-dead webOS brand front and center, despite the fact that it failed to gain any significant traction in the consumer mind after failed attempts from Palm and then HP to make it into a viable smartphone competitor.