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LG Announces Android NFC Phone Promoting Tags for Korean Market

Feb 22 2012

LG Electronics today announced a new NFC-enabled Android smartphone, the Optimus LTE Tag, targeted at the South Korean market, which will enable users to change the phone’s settings with a tap of the handset on NFC tags.

The phone supports LG’s “Tag+” feature, which promotes NFC’s tag-reading functionality. Users will be able to program tags that come in the box, then stick the tags, for example, on their desks in the office or on their car dashboards and tap the tags to change phone settings or open applications automatically. Tag reading is a standard feature of NFC technology, but LG is apparently making it easier for consumers to use.

For instance, according to an LG press release in Korean, a user could put an NFC tag sticker near his car steering wheel. Tapping the sticker could open a GPS connection and navigation application. Perhaps the tap also opens a Bluetooth connection that could communicate with other Bluetooth-enabled devices in the car.

At his desk, the user could quickly open office applications and a WiFi connection by tapping another tag, said the South Korea-based device maker. LG indicated in the announcement that the tags could be programmed and reprogrammed again and again to suit the users’ “lifestyle and tastes.” The phone probably will also come with preprogrammed tags.

The Optimus LTE Tag is set to be released at the end of this month in South Korea. But LG is expected to launch Tag+ and the Optimus LTE Tag in other markets later. 

UPDATE: LG on Wednesday announced another Android phone supporting Tag+, the Optimus 3D Cube, which will be available in March to South Korea's largest operator, SK Telecom. Both the Optimus 3D Cube and Optimus LTE Tag support last year's new version of Android, 2.3, dubbed Gingerbread. But they are expected to be upgradable to Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich.  END UPDATE.

South Korea, also home to Samsung Electronics, often gets NFC versions of popular smartphones first. The country's major mobile operators SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ have launched the largest NFC rollouts to date globally in terms of handsets sold and NFC-enabled SIMs issued. KT launched the first commercial service in October 2010.

The telcos together sold more than 5 million NFC phones last year, including NFC versions of the Samsung Galaxy S II, Galaxy Note and another LG Optimus LTE model.

LG over the weekend also announced it would introduce the Android-based Optimus Vu, a smartphone-tablet hybrid with a 5-inch screen, designed to compete with the Samsung Galaxy Note. Although rumored to support NFC, the LG announcement of the Vu included no mention of the technology.

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