LG has made quite the recovery when you think about it – the manufacturer’s total shipments in the first quarter of 2013 were almost double that of the same period last year according to research firm IDC. The electronics giant has tried to branch out into high-end smartphones – with decent attempts emerging in the form of the Nexus 4 and Optimus G Pro – but can LG really keep up with the likes of Apple and Samsung in such a competitive market? What’s clear is that LG is certainly trying. Unveiled at a press event this week, the LG G2 has some impressive high-end specifications that undoubtedly put it in the running. With a 5.2-inch 1080p IPS display, 13-megapixel camera and 2.26GHz quad-core processor there’s a lot packed into this 146g device. In comparison to the Samsung Galaxy S4, for example, the spec is fairly similar when you put the handsets next to each other.
The feature that most caught everyone’s attention though was the volume and power buttons on the rear of the device – something that has never been done before by any other manufacturer. With a lot of talk about ‘change’ and ‘listening to what the consumer wants’, it was clear that LG was seriously looking to draw attention to this significantly different design. This is how LG is hoping to compete – by being different.
The questions is - why the sudden change? ABI Research believe that, if LG had managed to build a successful range of decent mid-range phones, it would be able to move up the list of top handset makers anyway - instead of attempting to keep up with brands like Apple, Samsung and Nokia.
But when you compare the money in the high-end smartphone market it’s hardly a surprise that LG want in. According to ABI Research, in Q1 this year Samsung shipped 112.8 million units, dwarfing LG’s 16.2 million shipments on lower priced handsets.
Up until this point LG devices have not been valued particularly highly, and they don’t seem to have held their value on the release of competitive smartphones either. Data from mobile phone recycling comparison site CompareMyMobile.com shows that LG is the top brand losing trade-in value most quickly for the second month in a row – beating Motorola to take the top spot.
The site say that the value may have dropped more quickly as recyclers anticipated the release of the G2, but the average value drop speed for LG was fairly quick in the first place, as its devices failed to compete with others that were released on the market.
Overall it seems that LG are looking to get serious about high-end, well-designed mobile technology. As far as the specifications goes, the G2 is an extremely competitive handset. There’s just a question of whether it can compete with the reputations of models from brands like Apple and Samsung. The rear buttons certainly make it stand out from the crowd though.
What do you think? Will the LG G2 sink or swim?