LG Electronics announced its LG G Pro 2 phone Wednesday night, a high-end machine with a bigger 5.9-inch screen, front-facing flash, Android 4.4 KitKat, more powerful speakers, and a technology called Knock Code that lets people unlock their phone with a particular pattern of taps on the screen.
The South Korean company detailed the phone just ahead of the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, saying the 4G-equipped phone will be sold in the Korean market. Details about pricing and availability elsewhere aren't yet clear.
Android phone makers have a hard time getting their products to stand out, but LG clearly hopes to with its Knock Code, an update to its earlier KnockOn technology. Authentication is a hassle with phones, with users balancing the convenience of running phones unlocked against the security of PIN codes or other unlocking mechanisms. LG thinks Knock Code is the answer -- an approach that lets people both turn on the phone and unlock it.
"Thanks to LG's intelligent algorithm and advanced hardware, the knock pattern can be entered on any area of the screen -- whether the display is turned on or off -- using anywhere from two to eight taps," the company said.
Other unusual features of the phone include the ability to split the browser screen into two side-by-side windows, an option to shrink the screen for easier one-handed operation, a camera that can shoot HD video 120 frames per second or 4K video, "content lock" for password-protecting files, and support not just for 802.11a, b, g, and n, but also the faster new 802.11ac standard as well.
LG could use an Android hit. It's had some modest successes with earlier models, and it builds the well-reviewed Google Nexus 5, but the company has been far overshadowed by aggressive Korean rival Samsung, which is expected to unveil its new flagship Galaxy S5 phone at the Barcelona show.
The LG G Pro 2 has high-end hardware to challenge the new rivals: a 2.26GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a Qualcomm Adreno 330 graphics chip, 3GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of storage, a microSD memory card slot, a 1920x1080-pixel IPS screen, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. It can handle LTE and HSPA+ mobile networks, Bluetooth 4.0, and NFC (near-field communications) support. A 1-watt sound system is 30 percent louder than what's in the earlier G Pro that LG 2013, the company said.
Its 3,200mAh battery is removable. The phone weighs 172g and measures 157.9x81.9x8.3mm. It charges by a SlimPort Micro USB port that also can be used to connect the phone to an external monitor.