Forget your spouse's number? Text your phone

LG's new Optimus G Pro handset allows users to text it remotely for information

By Yewon Kang, IDG News Service |  

You need your spouse's number, but you don't have your phone? Just send it a text.

The Optimus G Pro, a premium handset with a 5.5-inch screen unveiled by LG Electronics in Korea last week, has a feature called "Me Chat" that answers queries sent via SMS from another phone. The company says it is meant for situations when someone accidentally leaves the phone at home or in the office.

The feature, which worked well in Korean on a demo phone provided to IDG News Service by LG in Seoul, supports queries including details of individuals in its contact list, the location of the phone, missed call information and calendar entries.

In tests, it responded to texts like "What is my wife's phone number?", "Where are you?", and "Any missed calls?" For location questions, it responds with a physical address.

For security, the phone requires that a user first text a pre-registered ID and password to log in. It will then accept queries from the same device for five minutes before it shuts off.

The feature is far from a text-based version of Apple's Siri or similar Android voice control features. In Korean, it offers about 10 to 15 ways of phrasing each inquiry, and doesn't recognize variations.

An LG spokeswoman could not immediately confirm what languages the feature will support in other markets.

In a hands-on test, though, the feature worked well on the Optimus G in Korean for basic tasks such as looking up contact details for family members. Although the possible queries are limited, they could come in handy for users who keep their lives in their phones.

LG is showing the phone at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain on Monday. The Optimus G Pro will go on sale overseas starting this April.

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