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LG shows off new Optimus UI 3.0 overlay

May 16, 2012

After the unveiling of the Optimus LTE2 and the launch of the Optimus 4X HD, it’s obvious that LG is trying to make a push in the high-end smartphone market niche, where it’s currently no match for the likes of Apple, Samsung, or even HTC.

However, that was just part one of LG’s offensive, with part two coming now in the form of a newly unveiled user interface set to enrich the Android ICS experience on LG’s future phones. The LG Optimus UI 3.0 (not a very original name, I know) will come pre-installed on both the Optimus LTE2 and the 4X HD. The revamped overlay will compete for the customer’s attention with Sense 4.0 and TouchWiz Nature, the similar UIs from HTC and Samsung.

We haven’t had the chance to play around with the Optimus UI 3.0, but from the first couple of official pics, we can tell that it actually looks pretty nice. There are also a few improvements, as well as added features and functions, in addition to what you’d get from stock ICS, with the most important ones involving the camera.

With Optimus UI 3.0, you can therefore choose the best photo among multiple images very quickly and conveniently, while a new function, called “Voice Shutter”, will allow you to capture photos using only voice commands. It’s not Siri, but at least it’s something to make LG’s phones the least bit special.

The new UI also supports new unlocking gestures, so you can unlock your phone by dragging pretty much anywhere on the screen. The new “Pattern Lock” function allows you to preset the phone to feature the most frequently used function. So, for example, if you like to take many photos, you can set your device to directly access the camera after you unlock it.

There’s also a Quick Memo function, allowing you to scribble short notes on the screen using only one finger, as you can see in the image above. The Icon Customizer feature will help you make your device reflect your personality, allowing you to set user photos as icons or shortcut images.

All in all, the Optimus UI 3.0 doesn’t look like anything revolutionary or very innovative, but it has a pretty elegant feel and it does come with a couple of useful new functions. Whether it will make Ice Cream Sandwich smoother and more user-friendly, though, it’s still hard to say. Many Android users are not big fans of HTC’s Sense or Samsung’s TouchWiz, both seen as spoiling the pure Google experience that some of us love so much. It remains to be seen how heavy handed were LG’s designers when creating this latest Optimus UI.

Check out LG’s press release announcing the launch of the Optimus UI 3.0 below and please tell us your views on this new custom user interface. Will it in fact enrich the ICS experience or will it cripple it?

New User Interface Makes the LG Smartphone Experience Faster, Simpler, More Convenient
SEOUL, May 16, 2012 – LG Electronics (LG) is introducing a new User Interface (UI) for its newest Android Ice Cream Sandwich devices, aptly named Optimus UI 3.0. Optimus UI 3.0 brings with it an array of enhanced key features, including Quick Memo™ and unique unlock functions, among other new features and functions aimed at improving LG smartphone experience.

“With smartphone hardware becoming more and more similar, it’s important for manufacturers to differentiate their products from the competition through the user interface,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, President and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “Both carriers and customers tell us that they want LG phones to look and feel unique and the UI plays a big part in that. LG is really going to push the boundaries of what is possible in user interfaces starting with Optimus UI 3.0.”

Optimus UI 3.0 is designed with convenience and speed in mind. A powerful memo function called Quick Memo™ enables users to jot notes on the screen using a finger. Quick Memo™ in Optimus UI 3.0 allows users to share their thoughts through social networks, text messages and e-mails more conveniently than ever before.

Other new features include:

— the ability to unlock the phone by dragging anywhere on the screen;
— a new Pattern Lock that allows users to preset the most frequently used function, such as the camera, which automatically opens once the phone is unlocked;
— a simpler version of Optimus UI 3.0 for new smartphone users which organizes the main applications so that they are the easiest to access;
— a new Voice Shutter that allows users to capture photos using only voice commands;
— a special camera feature that enables users to pick up the best shot among multiple images including the moment just before the shutter button is depressed;
— an Icon Customizer that provides an additional level of personalization by allowing users to set their own photos as icons and shortcut images;
— the addition of a Download category to the menu for easier organization.

Optimus UI 3.0 will debut on the LG Optimus LTE II launching this week in Korea, followed by LG Optimus 4X HD in June.