updated 08:50 am EDT, Fri April 6, 2012
LG to focus on intelligent smartphone software
LG's mobile Managing Director Kwon Bong-suk in a Korean interview on Friday suggested that his company was about to make a sharp break from its past and its peers in smartphones. Arguing that the next innovation "doesn't necessarily have to come from Apple," he explained to INews 24 that LG was moving away from putting in more features solely to say it had them and to focus instead on a "thinking" phone that reacted to real conditions. In a rough example, he raised the idea of a phone waking up its owner at 5:30AM instead of 6AM if it knew that traffic would be unusually bad on the route.
In a certain amount of controversy, though, Kwon suggested that the Optimus Vu was the result of extensive research. LG had looked into the average length of fingers and thumbs to determine the unusual 4:3 ratio, five-inch screen, he said. It had also checked shirt pocket sizes and even looked into lowering the stress levels of executives.
Electronista and others who have tested the Optimus Vu have noted that the phone is awkward to hold in a typical voice call grip and that its signature stylus can be awkward to use.
LG might also dip into very low-cost smartphones, where a $100 off-contract was an option. It wouldn't dip into the category unless the costs could come down and it could preserve the user experience, Kwon warned. The company is already partly leaning towards this area as phones like the Optimus L-Style series, mainly the L3, put Android on cheaper hardware.
How soon an intelligent phone might appear isn't known, although LG has unveiled its first batch of phones for the year and might not have followups until late in the year at the earliest.
The effort would be an attempt to stand out as LG continues to slip in market share in the face of both Apple's iPhone and LG's Korean opponent Samsung. LG has until now been trying to sell on checklist features like 3D and has fared poorly next to straightforward devices like the iPhone or Galaxy S II, where the advantages are in design quality and software. [via The Verge]