LG shrugs off concerns of Qualcomm tsunami
By Kim Yoo-chul, Cho Mu-hyun
LG Electronics has shrugged off rising concern caused by a supply shortage of chips for its strategic Optimus-branded smartphones from U.S.-based Qualcomm.
LG’s company’s mobile division chief Park Jong-seok admitted that the current supply shortage will probably impede its plan to boost production and sales this year but the impact will be limited.
``This is an issue that almost all handset manufacturers are facing. I can’t say LG Electronics is immune to the shortage. But we will put more focus on qualified growth not external growth by rolling out high-end mobile phones,’’ Park told reporters during an event to unveil its upgraded Optimus smartphone that supports advanced Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology.
LG released its latest smartphone at the firm’s headquarters in Yeouido, downtown Seoul, Thursday.
The LG executive said that despite the supply shortage, its plan to sell 35 million smartphones hasn’t changed.
The new Optimus LTE is a continuation of the Optimus series, for which LG plans further sequels as it believes a change in brand “deceives consumers.” The phone is the world’s first to boast 2 gigabytes of RAM that gives a longer battery life ― 40 percent ― than previous handsets in the series, and enhanced camera applications.
Though the new phone has hard buttons and does not apply Google’s new Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, which doesn’t need buttons and is used widely by Samsung, Park says LG is planning to apply the new technology in future releases.
“We are considering an upgrade in some of our LTE smartphone models, possibly in May and June at the latest. We will upgrade step by step,” he said.
During the conference, LG said it is delivering the phone to Korean dealers this week, priced at 935,000 won without subsidies.
Pantech started selling its new Vega Racer 2, and Samsung’s Galaxy 3S will be out next month. Park says “all three products have similar features.” He believes the next trend will enhance user experience as much as possible, which LG will lead.
LG Electronics is still discussing whether to use quad-core mobile applications for domestic releases.
The firm’s handset business is recovering after a deep struggle. It has a long-term plan to beat its cross-town rival Samsung Electronics, which became the world’s top phone maker from the first quarter of this year after passing Finland’s Nokia.