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LG at 3GSM – European wars
LG cannot show off considerable progress on the European market over the past year – constantly reducing share, pressure coming from other players and Motorola’s activity on the market of cheap 3G-enabled terminals don’t make it look all sunshine and rainbows for LG. All this has forced the company to pick the route of injecting new life into the business; specifically they have decided to come up with well-designed products, though a handful of them, and push them with great pomp, like they did it for LG Chocolate and the Black Series. This is what guides LG on the market now – the benefits of these efforts one could witness at 3GSM Congress.
First, the mind set of Europeans is much different from that of Russians, as while we treat Asian brands with a note of incredulity, for Europeans it is all about the price. In conditions of broadly available after-sales service and minor amount of issues in this field, purchasing such device is no longer a lottery, when many are worried about whether they will “repair it or not”. Given that, one can easily afford making mistakes in choice, since he/she will definitely get the device fixed. Hence, broad audience of potential buyers already feels that “Life is Good” with LG’s service and reliability is not a question for them. Many are into looks, design, and the credit here goes to Motorola’s policy, as this maker has made up everyone’s mind and defined such treatment of many products.
The Shine aims to become LG’s best selling – it was the Shine’s dummy that welcomed the visitors at the booth’s entrance.
The mirror finishing, metal casing, RAZR-esque keypad, 2 Mpix auto-focus enabled camera, QVGA camera – that is pretty much all about this slider’s highlights. The basement of probable success lies in the design – it catches everyone’s eyes, it is the talk of the town. All in all the Shine leaves a positive impression, I was happy to find standard keys on it, rather than touch sensitive controls. The rear of the designer edition of Shine is textured with flowers or hieroglyphs, nevertheless models sporting such custom options will be available only in Korea – no supplies for the European market are scheduled for the time being.
The Shine series will also feature a clamshell, which was shown under glass and didn’t carry any identifiers or indexes. Next to it was a Bluetooth-headset developed for this line-up as well.
It comes as no surprise that the range also contains a conventional candy-bar, which is the most unsophisticated offering at the same time, the KE770. All this evokes certain associations with Nokia’s very own L’Amour – three different form factors, complementing each other.
Briefly speaking, if we are to rate the Shine line-up, then we can’t overlook the fact that consumers have always been drawn by the metal casing – the Shine has just enough of it and even a bit more. These handsets will have their own share of success, but one shouldn’t expect anything more than that. At the same time, for Russia, the outlook for the models’ future is not exactly bright, bearing in mind the failure of the Chocolate.
The Prada or the LG KE850. A special credit goes to the marketologists for adapting this offering to the post-Apple iPhone market, even though the iPhone and Prada share only touch sensitive display and accordingly tailored interface in common. In fact, LG’s product is an ordinary phone with an offbeat design and standard specifications. Such products are getting popular with manufactures; soon we will see more of them coming. Did I like the KE850? Both yes and no. As a device laying the groundwork for impeding solution, this offering is really fetching. But if look at it as a phone for everyday use – it doesn’t let you feel at home and as a result might end up not being a mass offering.
At the same time, it does produce WOW effect. During the exhibition I kept hearing the same story effusively told by many visitors and journalists: “You know iPhone? This is the same thing but by LG”. Sometimes I caught myself feeling that everything around me was unreal: was I in fact surrounded by people working for LG or those who had something to do with the company? The Prada, apparently, will be a big event on the release. Again, in Europe, not in Russia, where the device is hitting the shelves in the middle of April at a price of 600-700 USD.
P.S. A colleague of mine who took my camera to make a single snap, “accidentally” wiped 200 photos of LG Prada – such a sad story it is.
3G for All. LG’s motto for struggling for its own market share is plain: the cheapest solution in the most rapidly growing segment. Which segment grows faster than the others? Correct, 3G-enabled handsets. LG KU250 is a device allowing 3G connectivity for 99 USD. And twelve European carriers are making this phone their foremost entry-level offering. It is strange to hear that many deem it the cheapest proposal around – for example at this 3GSM one could check out Huawei’s solution retailed for the same money. Over and above, at comparable price it sported more appealing design and better materials used.
A budget 3G solution housed in a casing with rubber buttons reminded me of Samsung E590 designed by Jasper Morrison. The model stands out thanks to a memory expansion slot, mp3 player, 1.3 Mpix camera and a 176x220 pixels display. Bluntly speaking, a solution that could be dubbed as mid-range and higher a year ago.
At the booth one could have some quality time with out LG-branded models, specifically the fold phone L600V (V-version for Vodafone) – a cheap music-playing phone supporting microSD, 3G and boasting specs much similar to those of the KU250.
The name of U400 has been around for a while, since its navigational wheel and accordingly reworked main menu. The rest of the U400’s features are nowhere near extremely interesting, due to its being a typical LG solution with all following pros and cons
LG KE500 – Shine-esque slider, but made of plastic and sporting more entry-level looks, at that the KE500 is dubbed as a mid-range solution. Its highlights include – 2 Mpix camera, radio, animated Flash-menu and mp3 player. I didn’t like the touch sensitive buttons, but for the rest it will turn out to be an interesting offering, if only the vendor throws in some more trims, rather than confine himself to the silver color scheme.
LG KG130 – A budget monoblock with unpretentious specs: STN display with 128x128 pixels resolution and a VGA camera.
LG Joy smartphone has been given another name – the KS10, which is a device running on S60 3rd Edition FP1 with a 2 Mpix auto-focus enabled camera onboard. It is a fetching solution reminiscent of Nokia’s proposals in some way, specifically Nokia 6290, whose review you can find on Mobile-Review.com.
And this white-coated model for the Japanese market appealed to me with its design – there is something special about it, some flavor, make no mistake about that.
Prototypes got their own representation – a line of pioneer devices with bundled TV receiver and also actually working DVB-H offerings.
For the very first time LG has forgone the idea of big numbers, sacrificing large-scale announcement to come up more cutting-edge solutions. This is a positive shift for the company, but will it manage to secure its sales in Europe and boost them by to 60 percent in 2007? As it will make up about 14 mln. units, and even the low-end 3G won’t give such a vast improvement. So we are down to wait and see what fields the company will succeed in.
Published 22 February 2007
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