LG has announced major smartphone and tablet interface changes at the annual IFA consumer electronics Trade Fair in Cologne, Germany, bringing the G3 interface to virtually all of its upcoming new devices.
Like other Android makers, LG has crafted its own user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) to sit atop the Android OS, helping create a point of software differentiation in a sea of hardware fragmentation.
The newest version of LG’s UI is on its G3 smartphone outshines the ageing Samsung TouchWiz UI most visibly with much cleaner and sharper iconography, but in other areas too, such as simplified app interfaces and top notch design.
As LG notes, this UI “has been positively received by both consumers and industry experts with many bestowing high praise of its user-friendly enhancements”, even winning three 2014 Red Dot “Best of the Best” awards for “intuitive UX features”.
Dr Jong-Seek Park, president and CEO of LG’s Mobile Comms company, said: “With the basic principles of the G3’s UX features rooted in making complex technologies simple and convenient, our goal was to provide consumers with a user experience they genuinely need and want.
“Standardising these features across our entry- and mid-tier mobile products is just a natural extension of our desire to make every LG device feel premium and unique.”
It’s also something we’ve seen Samsung do with its various smartphones and tablets, alongside HTC, Windows tablets, Windows Phone and everyone else wanting consistency across product lines.
One example of the UX simplicity that will roll out across models and price points is found in LG’s camera app. It will feature only the “most frequently used menus” on screen, with capabilities such as “Touch & Shoot”.
This mode helps users to “capture special moments quickly and intuitively by letting users tap anywhere on the display to focus and trigger the shutter in one single step, eliminating a time-consuming two-step process.”
“Gesture Shot” is also coming to LG’s range, and is designed to make taking selfies simple and fun.
It works by the user opening and closing their hand in front of the lens, which starts a three-second countdown before triggering the shutter for what LG says will be “brilliant, blur-free selfies”.
Then there’s “Clean View” which offers a “full, clutter-free preview interface by removing all camera menu icons from the screen.”
Another big UX feature is LG’s Smart Keyboard, which “reduces input error by up to 75 percent by tracking and analysing typing habits and intuitively ‘knowing’ what words the user intended to type”.
This keyboard can be easily re-sized to better fit the user’s hands and thumbs, and similar to Apple’s new keyboard in the forthcoming iOS 8 upgrade, “suggested words, which appear above the keyboard, can be entered with just an upward flick of the thumb.”
LG says that “individual keys can be customised with frequently used symbols for even faster input”, while “long-pressing the space bar and sliding the thumb or finger left and right repositions the cursor for faster editing.”
We’ll no doubt see more of LG’s user interface and experience enhancements as new smartphones and tablets roll out during the rest of 2014 and beyond, but as LG’s Australian PR company notes, “the availability of products and features shown at IFA are yet to be determined for Australia.”
It will also be interesting to see how LG, Samsung, HTC and others deal with Google’s new “Material Design” and complete UI/UX refresh in the upcoming Android “L” 4.5/5.0 OS.
Still, all of that is in the future, and there’s no doubt that all Android makers have well advanced plans on how their upcoming models with work with Google’s newest Android versions.
Until then, when it comes to continued smartphone and tablet sales, LG knows those letters stand for “Life’s Google”.