LG, Sony, Pantech taking aim at the Galaxy S5

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LG, Sony, Pantech taking aim at the Galaxy S5

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May is shaping up as a tough month for smartphone makers, as LG Electronics, Pantech and Sony will release new models.

Some are determined to break the hold of Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S5, which cornered the domestic premium smartphone market since its launch in the first quarter.

Pantech will launch its Vega Iron 2 early this month and offer Signature Service, which offers customized engraved letters on the phone’s metal frame.

LG Electronics will launch the high-end G3 with state-of-the-art features at the end of the month. LG’s goal is to sell 1.5 million units of the G3 per month and 10 million in total.

Sony also decided to launch the Xperia Z2 on Thursday. According to industry sources, Sony’s Xperia Z2 will have waterproof features and a wristwatch-type device called the Smart Band.

The international waterproof standard of Xperia Z2 is IP58, which means the phone can be submerged for 30 minutes in 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) of water.

In addition, Sony’s strategy is to target the domestic market by launching the Smart Band along with Xperia Z2. Earlier, Samsung Electronics also attracted consumers’ attention by introducing its Gear 2 with the Galaxy S5.

Sony debuted its Xperia Z2 at the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. It allows users to record ultra-high definition video with its 20.7-million-pixel display lens.

Meanwhile, LG Electronics is ramping up for its introduction of the G3 at the end of the month.

“We will launch the G3 the last week of May starting in the Korean market,” said Kim Kyung-hwan, spokesman for LG Electronics.

LG has sent media invitations for release events on May 27 and 28 in London, New York, Seoul and Istanbul.

LG’s G3 will have a quad high-definition (HD) (2,560 X 1,440) display, which exceeds the full HD (1,920 X 1,080) display of the Galaxy S5.

“It [G3] will feature a high-quality display that will be outstanding anywhere in the world,” said Kim.

“There have been rumors that Samsung Electronics will launch a premium smartphone in June equipped with a quad high-definition (QHD) display,” said an analyst at a local securities company. “It seems that LG Electronics moved up the G3 launch date to May in order to be able to call the phone Korea’s first QHD smartphone.”

LG Electronics, which turned a profit in the first quarter, is determined to close the gap with Samsung and Apple and unseat China’s Lenovo to become the world’s third-largest smartphone maker.

In the first quarter, 75 percent of LG Electronics’ mobile phone sales were smartphones.

Of all smartphones sold in the world last year, 41 percent were LTE devices compared to 27 percent last year.

Pantech, which aims to regain its footing in the domestic smartphone market, will launch the Vega Iron 2 this month with a metal frame without seams or joints.

Its battery capacity of 3,220 milliamps per hour (mAh) will exceed the 2,800 mAh of the Galaxy S5. Pantech says 3,220 mAh is the largest battery capacity by far of smartphones in Korea.

BY KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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