Ina Fried

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LG Hopes Its Latest Smartphone Is More of a Fairy Tale and Less of a Nightmare

Korean smartphone maker LG is looking to rebound off a pretty rough year in which it found itself overshadowed by its rivals.

Its U.S. presence has become more common at the low end of the Android market and at prepaid carriers as the high-end market has been dominated by the likes of Samsung and Motorola.

LG is hoping to improve its fortunes, starting with the Viper, a $99 LTE phone for Sprint. Among the markets LG hopes to target is busy parents.

“This is really easy to use and still has a ton of features,” LG spokesman Chaz Abbott said, showing off the phone.

To highlight its family-friendliness, LG has come up with a storytelling app that lets parents record a fairy tale using their own photos, sounds and words — sort of a Mad Libs for the digital era.

The Life’s Good Fairytale will eventually be free for all Android phones, though Viper owners will get first crack at the app, which is slated to be available for them starting April 27.

LG is showing off the phone and app later today at an event in New York. Unfortunately for LG, the N.Y. launch party market is almost as crowded as the Android smartphone one. Its event is up against both T-Mobile’s HTC One S launch and a party for Spotify.

The Viper, too, will find itself challenged to stand out. It launches at the same time Sprint is pushing out the Galaxy Nexus, a more high-end phone that also runs on the carrier’s nascent LTE network.

LG faces similar challenges outside the U.S. amid a host of Android competitors at all segments of the market.

Globally, LG is counting on a new lineup that includes a quad-core phone, a “phablet” and a new-look mainstream line.

Abbott said that LG has yet to announce U.S. plans for any of these devices, which were shown off at February’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik