Could LG’s Optimus 4X HD transform the firm’s fortunes? The Korean company has predicted a mobile comeback for itself and believes focussing on the high end side of the market, selling the quad core in the UK and focussing on LTE devices in the US will help them reach their target of over 80 million sales in 2012.
LG has taken a big gamble in the direction is has moved in in terms of its handsets on sale this year. It has pitched itself at the pricier end of the market showcasing 3D devices along with its new quad core 4X device., The 4X HD has a 4.7 inch screen with a 1280 x 729 pixel resolution. Screen and the quality of the image on the screen has always been a major selling point of LG devices and this is no exception with many consumers likely to buy the handset because of the crisp clean image. The screen, inevitably, takes up most of the front of the device with the rest of the handset black and razor thin. There are three touch buttons underneath the display. Running Ice Cream Sandwich these buttons aren’t actually integral but many other designers have opted to keep them as well. The device runs with the quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and has 1 GB of RAM.
LG wants to shift 80 million handsets in 2012. It predicts almost half, 35 million of these, will be smartphones. These clearly are worldwide figures but LG is faced with a battle that shows its total volume sales falling year on year. Last year the firm shipped 88 million handsets, the year before 116 million. The price of its devices and its profits however are increasing.
Rather on focussing on variety, therefore, the firm is opting for value and margin, so offering more luxury high end products in the same way Motorola has and Sony, rather than like HTC and Samsung in opting for a range of devices to fit every price point. Earlier this year Samsung said its aim to provide a device for a range of budgets would be its key to selling over 100 million handsets worldwide this year.
A boss at LG says instead they believe focusing on high end models will be key to turning round the company that is, they say, still in transition.
In the smartphone market the firm faces real competition from the HTC One X which launched at the same time at Mobile World Congress. Both devices have a remarkably similar specification in terms of screen size and camera. Both are also powered by the same processing chip. HTC comes with a strong and popular brand in the UK so it will be up to consumers to device which device they prefer.
Will LG’s gamble payoff? Offering a range of devices to suit each price point has been a popular strategy from several manufacturers, although really only Samsung and HTC properly fulfil it. It help extends brand and is a good way of building profit. If LG was the only manufacturer offering a quad core they might have more opportunity to shore up a strong position in the smartphone market, the fact they have stiff competition from HTC might make it harder. Plus later this quarter it is likely that Samsung’s S3 device will launch, which will also be a quad core. LG will have to take on some of the biggest smartphones brands in the UK if they are to achieve their aim for this year.