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Late entry in smartphones for LG

Korea’s underdog electronics firm answers criticism with new Optimus line

July 06,2010
LG Electronics unveils three Optimus series smartphones yesterday ?from top to bottom, the Optimus Chic, Optimus One with Google, Optimus Chic and Optimus Z. [YONHAP]
Stung by its belated entry to the smartphone market, LG Electronics is launching a series of smartphones under the brand name Optimus this year, the company said in a release yesterday.

“With the Optimus series, we now have a product lineup to compete in the smartphone market,” said Ahn Seung-won, head of LG’s mobile division. “We plan to release various models one after another to satisfy customers’ needs.”

LG was late in introducing smartphones, releasing its first handset last month in Korea, but it is making a delayed counterattack to compete with Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S and Apple’s iPhone.

The company also plans to launch a tablet PC to compete with Apple’s iPad in the fourth quarter of the year, which will also be sold under the Optimus name.

Worsening profitability in mobile handsets and televisions sent LG’s share price plunging recently to around 94,000 won ($76) per share. In particular, LG has been criticized for being late to jump on the smartphone bandwagon.

LG will launch its smartphone line globally with the “Optimus One with Google” handset in the third quarter of this year. It will be distributed through 120 mobile telecom carriers around the world, including those in Korea, and run Google’s Android 2.2 operating system.

The latest version of the Google OS features tethering, in which a cell phone provides an Internet connection for a laptop. The OS also allows the handset to store various applications in its external memory.

After that, it will introduce another handset, the “Optimus Chic,” a sleeker model designed for a younger market.

The “Optimus Z” will follow in the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter also brings the launch of another high-end model, which has yet to be named.

This handset will be equipped with an OMAP3630 processor from Texas Instruments, which is faster and consumes less energy. It has a 3.8-inch display and can shoot a high-definition video image. The new high-end model will also be able to exchange multimedia content with PC’s and television sets.

LG introduced the Optimus Q in Korea last month, which the company said has been very successful. It will upgrade the OS for the existing Optimus Q models beginning in the fourth quarter, the company said.


By Limb Jae-un [jbiz91@joongang.co.kr]



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