With the launch of a large-screen smartphone-tablet hybrid on Thursday, LG Electronics is attempting to achieve an ambitious goal: regain the No. 3 spot in the global smartphone market place. It may be a long shot.
There has been a lot of coverage in the press about the recent Lenovo-Motorola deal, but internally LG has been focusing on boosting their own market position, instead of getting mired in the pursuits of their competition. Andy Kim, a senior vice president for LG’s mobile product planning told reporters in Seoul: “We have a firm target of achieving third place in terms of market share by the end of this year and we’re preparing products with that in mind.”
In the wake of the Lenovo-Motorola news, LG’s stock price dipped 5.4% during the first two trading days of February on concerns that the South Korean handset maker will face tougher competition this year. While Apple and Samsung are the two global leaders in the smartphone race, the battle for No. 3 is still an open game, with companies like Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo and LG all vying for the No. 3 spot.
As part of its efforts to boost its mobile product line-up, the company launched the LG G Pro 2, a succeeding model to its key phablet-category of the G Pro series. The new phone comes with a 5.9 inch, full high-definition screen. This is even bigger than Samsung’s latest Galaxy Note 3 phone which comes with a 5.7-inch screen.
LG plans to start selling the new phone in Korea later this month, while a global rollout will begin in March starting with Asian countries, where the appetite for bigger-screen phones is relatively stronger than other regions like Europe or North America.
Some interesting features include the ability to shoot 4K resolution video – for playing on ultra high-definition TVs – and a new software that allows users to take prettier ‘selfie’ shots. LG boasted how a user can take nice pictures even in the dark, by clicking a selfie mode which automatically adds white lighting around the edges of the preview screen giving a self-illuminating effect.
But squeezing out profits will be more difficult than winning back market share, analysts say, as average selling prices for smartphones continue to fall in a saturating market.
LG, which was one of the world’s top mobile-handset makers until 2009 with an approximate 10% market share, has been struggling since the advent of smartphones. The company briefly made it to the third place in the smartphones early last year, but fell back towards the end of the year with its mobile unit suffering from losses due to stiff competition.
It logged a 4.6% market share in the fourth quarter, coming in fifth place after Lenovo’s 4.9% share. Samsung, Apple, and Huawei had the top three seats with 28.8%, 17.9% and 5.8% of the global smartphone market respectively, according to research firm IDC.
Original post from WSJ Asia