LAS VEGAS — LG was showing off its curves at its CES press conference Monday, promising new televisions and a smartphone with screens that curl in at the ends.
The company said that its flexible, curved smartphone, the LG G Flex, will hit the U.S. market on three of the four major carriers -- AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile -- in the second quarter of 2014. And while it would be easy to dismiss the curved screen as a gimmick, LG executives were adamant that they were not just “innovating for innovation’s sake.”
The G Flex, which is already available in some international markets, has a curved screen that the company says improves video quality and boosts audio quality when held against the face, and also makes it more comfortable when the phone is slipped into a pocket. The phone has a six-inch display. T-Mobile said in a statement Monday that it will release its pricing and availability for the phone in the coming weeks.
LG also unveiled its new curved televisions, which the company said give viewers a better, more immersive picture and let them take full advantage of the ultra HD video that the sets are capable of displaying. The firm was tight-lipped about the pricing on these televisions, but they’re likely to cost a pretty penny. The 105-inch television the firm announced just ahead of the show costs a whopping $69,999.
During the press conference, LG brought out Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings to announce a partnership with the video streaming site. The partnership, Hastings said, became much more appealing for Netflix after LG started to develop webOS for its televisions. LG picked up the rights to the system, originally developed for Palm devices, from Hewlett-Packard earlier this year.
Tim Alessi, an executive in LG’s home entertainment group, said that other streaming partners include Hulu, Vudu and Amazon. (Amazon chief executive Jeffrey Bezos is the owner of The Washington Post.)
The company also threw in a few more pieces of news for good measure, including a brief refresh of an earlier announcement that it is making an all-in-one computer based on Google’s Chrome operating system.
LG added that it’s investing more time into building up its network for the Internet of Things, aka, smart appliances and products that house a Web connection to work smarter. One future example, the company said, would be giving users the ability to text their refrigerators and get an update on what they should buy at the grocery store.
The firm also said that it’s looking into making smart vacuum cleaners that can tell you where they’ve cleaned -- all on one unified platform that it calls HomeChat. As the Internet of Things takes off, making sure that all these appliances can talk to each other is a key hurdle for tech firms to overcome. LG, which makes just about everything electronic, was clear that it feels like that diversification of product puts it in a good position to facilitate those inanimate conversations.
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