The G6 will be more reliable than any LG phone to date, promising multiple checks on both the hardware and software.

The LG G6 will be reliable. That’s the message the company wants to convey in a teaser provided to Android Central this week. The placard, similar in style to others released to various publications, asks, “Reliability. Check, Check Check.”

An exclusive teaser provided to AC.

The message comes at a time when LG — and all other manufacturers — are under increased scrutiny for quality on both the hardware and software side after Samsung’s brush with phone death in the Note 7. The company has also had its own share of issues in recent years, with a small but vocal group frustrated with what it calls a “bootloop epidemic” on devices like the G4, G5, V10, and V20 that LG has failed to address.

More: Everything we know about the LG G6

The G6 provides an opportunity for LG to wipe the slate clean and start again, both in the eyes of loyal early adopters, many of whom still covet the company’s unique flagships, and more casual customers who look at LG’s mid-range devices as a viable alternative to Samsung’s popular Galaxy A and J series.

While the teaser doesn’t provide much in the way of detail, LG has hinted again and again that it is taking every possible precaution with its new product to ensure quality and longevity; a (/lg-g6-teaser-reveals-large-screen-compact-body-and-water-resistance) showcased people who wanted a “more reliable” phone who didn’t want to “keep paying for a cracked screen,” which suggests LG may incorporate a free or low-cost screen replacement program in addition to outfitting the phone with Gorilla Glass 5.

Reliability is going to be a spec in 2017, emphasized alongside speeds and feeds.

Of course, such campaigns are not new for any phone maker, especially those whose marketing budgets are not as sky-high as its main competition, but LG feels like it has a few distinct advantages this time around. First, the G6 is the first major Android flagship of 2017, and comes after a very publicized mea culpa from its biggest rival, Samsung. It will also have a significant time-to-market advantage over the next big release, the Galaxy S8 — even if it means not sporting the latest Qualcomm processor. That lead time, even if it is only a month or so, is potentially significant for LG, as it hasn’t had a major worldwide flagship success in a couple of years given the questionable decisions of the G5 and the limited release of the admittedly excellent V20.

By now we know a lot about what the G6 will look like and what it will do — it will have a tall QHD display with slim bezels, an improved 32-bit Quad DAC, dual cameras, waterproofing, Google Assistant, and a Snapdragon 821 instead of the newer 835 — but now we’re getting a better sense of the more holistic way LG will approach selling it.

Reliability is going to be a spec in 2017, emphasized alongside speeds and feeds. It’s going to be one of the major selling points for Samsung’s upcoming flagships and every other Android manufacturer stuffing a high-capacity Lithium Ion battery inside its metal phones. LG is no exception, but it has a lot more to lose if, after all the work it has done to revamp the G series’ aesthetics, it still gets accused of failing to prevent bootloops or hardware malfunctions.

So given all that, LG’s emphasis on reliability — and why it shared this exclusive teaser with Android Central — is not surprising. Check, Check, Check it says. You can be sure that, when the G6 is revealed on February 26, everyone will know exactly what the company is doing to keep its phones from failing.

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Things are very different in Android Wear 2.0.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been using Google’s watches from day one or you’re just now thinking about adding a computer to your wrist, Android Wear 2.0 is a big deal. It’s a massive shift in how Google views wearable computers, and this software update is paired with several timely hardware releases over the next couple of months. While some remain skeptical this OS reboot is going to push Google into dominance of the smartwatch world, there’s still plenty to be excited about.

Here are five big things you need to know about this new Android Wear OS, to prepare you for its arrival on wrists everywhere.

Your existing watch is probably getting updated

If you own an existing Android Wear watch, there’s a good chance your manufacturer has announced plans to update your watch. The current list of watches ready to be updated is significant, and in several cases are already preparing to release to users.

Not every watch will be updated, because some of the very first generation watches are running slower processors that simply couldn’t handle the new software, but the number of watches being prepped for update right now is significant.

These are the watches that will receive Android Wear 2.0

Android Pay is here, but only for one watch

One of the bigger features people are eager to see is Android Pay on their Android Wear watch. The ability to pay for things by pressing your wrist to the terminal is exciting, especially if Android Pay is well supported in your area, but it’s not a feature that can just be activated with a switch flip.

You watch has to have an NFC radio in it to use Android Pay, and currently the only watch with that feature built in and ready to be used for payments is the new LG Watch Sport. There will be other watches in the future to support this tech, but if you were hoping your existing watch would have the feature added this isn’t great news.

These are the watches that support Android Pay

Apps live on the watch now

Most Android Wear users are familiar with sidecar apps, which let you access basic features from apps on your phone by using a smaller version on your watch. This worked well in the past, but Google wanted apps to be able to act entirely independently of the phone so a change was made. In Android Wear 2.0, this means watches are installed firstly on the watch through a version of the Google Play Store that is also on the watch.

On top of making it possible for Android Wear owners with iPhones to have the exact same experience as everyone else, Google has created a compelling argument for a watch that can completely replace your phone for extended periods of time. Cellular watches aren’t as popular now, but with the ability to use them independently we may see that trend change quickly.

Best Android Wear 2.0 apps

Performance is just about the same

A big question about updating to Android Wear 2.0 is performance. On the phone, Google’s OS updates usually come with some king of performance promise. Sometimes that means apps load faster, sometimes that means the OS itself uses less battery, but there’s usually some kind of improvement.

In out tests on the Huawei Watch running the Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview, there were no obvious differences in performance. The same basic use case revealed roughly the same battery consumption and app load times as the previous version of Android Wear. You can expect a similar experience on your watch when it is updated.

Google Assistant needs some polish

The big new feature everyone does get with Android Wear 2.0, no matter what watch you have, is Google Assistant. For many Android Wear owners, this will be their first encounter with Google Assistant. That should be a great experience, in general, but it’s going to take some getting used to.

In many situations, Google Assistant on Android Wear isn’t instant yet. The act of “listening” for your commands takes a second to fire up, and because most watches are using phones for data the process of sending information to Google for an answer can take an additional second or two. It’s still a great experience, and will absolutely get better over time, but it needs some optimization before the service is truly running smoothly on these watches.

Everything you need to know about Google Assistant on Android Wear 2.0

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Unlimited data plans are back at big red, and the prices don’t suck.

Verizon took the wraps off of a new data plan that gives customers unlimited data, talk, and text for $80 on a single line. Four lines can all get the same unlimited deal for $45 per line.

Of course, they mean alternative-unlimited like every other carrier does and you might get throttled at 22GB. We’re told it shouldn’t happen often, though.

On all Verizon Unlimited plans you get our fast LTE speeds. To ensure a quality experience for all customers, after 22 GB of data usage on a line during any billing cycle we may prioritize usage behind other customers in the event of network congestion. While we don’t expect to do that very often, network management is a crucial tool that benefits all Verizon customers.

You can also add a connected device, like the new Verizon Wear24 or a tablet for an extra $5 per month and the international TravelPass (500 MB/day limit; 2G speeds after that) is available for $10 per day. Last but not least, mobile hotspot is included and you will be able to tether up to 10GB per month before you’re throttled way down to 3G speeds.

The plan is available starting February 13 and you’ll be able to get all the details at Verizon’s site.

The one big unknown? They call this an introductory plan, so we’re not 100% sure how it applies to existing customers. We’ll know more on February 13.

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A combined strategy of in-house hardware and strong partnerships can work — under the right circumstances.

Google has been riding a wave of consumer confidence the past couple of months following its late-fall hardware launch of the Pixels, Google Home and Chromecast Ultra. But this week, we saw the other side of its strategy: launching products with its long-standing hardware partners running on Google’s platforms. Wednesday saw the release of Android Wear 2.0 using LG’s hardware, and just two days later Samsung released a really great Chromebook.

The new LG Watch Sport and Watch Style aren’t perfect (even in the shaky smartwatch world), and no matter how good the Samsung Chromebook Pro is received it in itself won’t change the landscape of the Chrome OS market — but each launch proves a point of strength and potential for Google. No matter how strong Google’s renewed sense of importance on in-house developed hardware is (and how great the Pixels are), it knows how Android got to massive market position it currently occupies: by partnering with companies to build against its platform. And as Android on phones (and to a far lesser extent, tablets) continues to be a worldwide market leader, Google is working a slightly different angle with other adjacent ecosystems — Android Wear and Chrome OS.

When Google is directly invested in a launch, the product seems to be stronger.

Google has far more control over the look, implementation and deployment of both Android Wear watches and Chrome OS computers. To that end, that’s why you see stronger Google involvement in the creation, launch and marketing of such products. Look no further than the “designed with our friends at Google” printed prominently across the LG Watch Sport’s box — this is very much a Google product, too. Chromebooks, by design, have strong Google influence just based on how the operating system works, but when you see the deep integration of Google’s software with Samsung’s hardware to make something like the Chromebook Pro’s super-accurate stylus work flawlessly you can see the collaboration runs deep. Prominent positioning of the watches and Chromebook on the Google Store completes the circle.

When Google is thoroughly involved in the development, testing and release of these products, they tend to be better overall than if the companies had just gone on their own with no guidance. That’s a win for those of us on the consumer side of things putting down money for hardware and software, both in terms of initial quality and long-term support.

And with that, a handful of other thoughts rattling around in my head:

  • My initial response to Nexbit being snapped up by Razer was sadness, seeing an independent phone maker move on.
  • But unfortunately, being purchased was the most likely scenario — either that, or folding entirely. It’s a tough market out there for a scrappy upstart.
  • Just two weeks from now we’ll be deep in the MWC 2017 press conferences and product launches. It’s shaping up to be a big show.
  • With Samsung expected to hold off on launching the Galaxy S8 until April, the door’s wide open for LG to make a big splash with the G6 at the end of February.
  • The early leaks look promising, too — but LG has always provided plenty of intrigue, only to then come up short on implementation in recent years.
  • Speaking of intrigue, BlackBerry Mobile has plenty of it right now. The “Mercury” launch will be exciting.

Have a great week, everyone.


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