A hexagon-shaped battery, right, developed by LG Chem, and modules using the battery, are seen in this file photo, Sunday. / Courtesy of LG Chem
By Kim Yoo-chul
LG Chem has started shipping hexagon-shaped batteries to global consumer electronics firms in order to help them promote their smart-watch business.
"LG Chem has started selling hexagonal batteries to global tech firms," company spokesman Woo Byeong-min said Sunday. "The batteries, manufactured in Nanjing, China, where LG operates massive battery factories, will be used in upcoming smart watches."
He said the hexagonal battery, which the firm says is the first in the industry, was the result of closer cooperation with a top-tier technology company, though Woo declined to name it.
But iPhone designer Apple and LG Electronics were not partners in the battery's development, sources said.
LG said the hexagon-shaped battery improved storage capacity by 25 percent compared with rectangular batteries.
"The development will help users have four hours more for their smart watch," Woo said, adding LG Group's chemical affiliate would respond to growing demand for smart watches with rounded shapes.
LG Chem said more IT companies will introduce smart watches with a rounded surface design from the latter half of this year.
For example, Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest phone producer, plans to introduce its upgraded smart watch at this year's IFA technology fair in September. LG Electronics and other leading Chinese tech companies will also exhibit their latest smart watches at the trade show.
Gartner, a market research firm, expects smart watches to make up at least 40 percent of wearable devices by next year.
Woo said LG had secured patents to promote what it calls "Free Form Batteries" with its "Stack and Folding" technology backing up the plan. LG, which developed step, curve and wire-based batteries in 2013, has 10 global clients in that business, said the company.
LG Chem plans to introduce batteries of various shapes, including an L-shaped one or a rectangular model with a hole in the middle.
"The best thing to lead markets is to reach out to territories that haven't existed before," Kwon Young-soo, president of the company's battery business, said.
"LG Chem has the ability to exceed market expectations and to develop innovative products. LG will become the global top supplier in small-sized batteries by 2018."