An unnamed researcher at LG Display’s flat-panel plant in the provincial city of Gumi, southeast of Seoul, checks out displays for use in LG Electronics’ upcoming smartphone, the Optimus G, Sunday. / Courtesy of LG Electronics
By Kim Yoo-chul
LG Electronics says it’s ready to challenge the smartphone supremacy enjoyed by local rival Samsung Electronics. The company is hyping its soon-to-be-released Optimus G as a game-changer that could revive its faltering handset division.
LG in recent years has fallen so far behind industry leaders like Samsung and Apple that Koreans have joked that owning an LG smartphone doubles as a corporate name card, indicating you’re on the company’s payroll.
The Optimus G is a sexy-enough device both in appearance and functions to erase all the jokes, claims LG spokeswoman Jinny Lee. The G in the name stands for ``great,’’ and Lee will argue in lengthy why such confidence isn’t irrational.
The smartphone will be a cut above all the other devices in picture quality, battery life, camera quality and other functions, featuring state-of-the-art components provided by LG subsidiaries like LG Display, LG Chem and LG Innotek.
The display in particular uses a cutting edge ``G2 Touch Hybrid’’ technology, which the company has never before applied to smartphones. It allows LG to build a thinner phone with a touch-screen that is more responsive and shock-resistant.
LG Electronics and LG Display collaborated on the technology for more than a year.
``So far, LG has been underdog in smartphones. But we are sure to eat up more market share with the Optimus G,’’ said Lee.
The specifications of the Long Term Evolution (LTE)-capable Optimus G include; a 4.7-inch high definition (HD) display, a quad-core Qualcomm microprocessor and a 13-megapixel main camera complemented by frontal sub lenses.
``Viewing quality really matters in smartphones. Our HD display is far better than Samsung-pushed OLED screens in terms of comfort and natural usability,’’ said Lee.
The new smartphone plan comes after the company is seeing a mild recovery in its smartphone business. During the April-June period, LG sold 5.8 million smartphone units, an increase of 20 percent from the previous quarter, market analysts say.
Globally, LG has also added up 0.4 percentage points to reach 3.8 percent during the same period and LG believes the third quarter will be even better.
``We expect LG Electronics to sell 7 million smartphones during the July-September period and to exceed its global share beyond 4 percent,’’ said So Hyun-chul from Shinhan Financial Investment, a leading local brokerage.
Shinhan said the Optimus G could be better than phones by Nokia and HTC in terms of specifications and device stability as LG Display and LG Innotek supply key parts to Apple such as displays and camera modules.
LG’s mobile chief Park Jong-seok will meet the media sometime in the latter half of this year to unveil its updated business plans.