LG's current Android tablet strategy is a little baffling. They jumped back into Android tablets with the admirable G Pad 8.3 last year, a well-equipped device with a premium build and a premium price. Then they launched the G Pads 7, 8, and 10.1 this year... with the usual plastic bodies and specs well below the first one, aiming at the budget market. Now LG is shooting far above even the most expensive Samsung tablets with the Tab Book, a device that looks like a super-premium Windows machine that just happens to run Android instead.
Big things are happening for the smallest of Android devices. Over the last month, we've seen several attempts to extend the capabilities of Android Wear, some have worked out, while others haven't fared so well. Most of the activity has come in the form of 3rd-party apps, so there hasn't been much action for dedicated modders. That is, until today. Team Win just posted its first official custom recovery for the LG G Watch (dory).
The venerable Nexus 5 is getting on in (phone) years, but the Google price for the 32GB is still $400. There's an eBay deal today offering the device for a mere $385, but that also includes free shipping and no tax (except in NY). That could easily save you another $40, depending on where you live.
Like other Google I/O attendees, I picked up an Android Wear device at the conference. I went with the LG G Watch. What follows is not really a review so much as my experiences and thoughts about Wear thus far, having lived with it literally every day since picking it up. I'll include some of my opinions on the platform (ignoring for now the hardware), and what I think might be relevant insights and comparisons to Google's other efforts (like Glass).
LG announced the new G Pad tablets a while back, but they're still hard to come by in the US. However, the largest member of LG's new mid-range family is probably in stock at a Best Buy near you (or shipped), and it's pretty cheap at $250. It's no Shield Tablet, but no one would blame you for picking one up.
Rooters and ROM flashers of several devices have new options today, as the developers behind the popular Team WIN Recovery Project have added three new Android devices to their growing list. The somewhat dusty LG Optimus 4X HD (from when phone names were crazy long), the LTE version of Samsung's Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 (because Samsung never really got over the crazy long name thing), and the Xiaomi Redmi 1S all get access to the touch-based recovery software, with downloads available from the website.
One of the features LG pushed hard with the announcement of the G3 was its Knock Code screen locking feature. While the device is asleep, you can tap on the screen in predefined locations to wake it and unlock instantly. Knock Code actually debuted on the G Pro 2, but now Sprint's G2 is getting it as well.
Manufactures have been scaling back the included extras that come with hardware for a while now - you won't find included headphones or cases with any of the latest flagship phones. But you can generally rely on getting a USB cable and a wall-wart charger at least. Such is the case with the current Android Wear devices, the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live. But if you have one, you'd better hold onto that charger like it's made of gold, because it might as well be.
For the biggest of the big manufacturers, loaning out the name of your flagship model to smaller and cheaper phones is a no-brainer. You get potential customers who want the look and at least some of the features of the newest, coolest device, and you also get to reap the rewards of your brand marketing. So it is with Samsung and HTC's various "Mini" models, and now, LG's G3 Beat. Hey, at least they're not trying to call a 5-inch phone "mini."
The G3 Beat downgrades the best-in-class spec sheet of the full-sized G3 with a 5-inch, 720p LCD screen, a 1.2Ghz Snapdragon 400 processor, a mere 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage with a MicroSD card slot.
Google officially pulled the HTC One M7, Galaxy S4, Xperia Z Ultra, and LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition devices from the Play Store not too long ago. Since then we've seen a couple of them pop up on sale across various distributors. When an eBay seller offered the Galaxy S4 for $499 ($150 off) last month, we considered that a deal. Before that, Expansys USA offered the Z Ultra for the low price of $349, $100 less than what Google last asked for it.