LG announced its Q4 2015 earnings this morning and revealed that although the company as a whole saw growth and profitability, the mobile division made a loss. LG made $308 million in Q4 thanks mostly to strong performance from its Home Appliance and Air Solution Company.
Despite LG’s mobile division making a loss of around $39 million, LG managed to sell 15.3 million smartphones globally in the fourth quarter, bringing its total for 2015 up to 59.7 million units. That’s slightly better than 2014, when LG managed to sell 59.1 million smartphones. Sequentially, fourth quarter sales were up 12% on the third quarter, thanks to strong performance in North America, presumably as a result of launching the V10 flagship smartphone and holiday season sales…
LG recognizes the mobile space is only going to get more competitive in 2016. With prices for premium materials and components dropping, several manufacturers are starting to build devices with flagship-like specifications, features and build quality for very competitive prices. In order to compete, LG says it will not only launch two new flagship phones, but also “a more cost-competitive value chain”, which it hopes will lead to improved profitability in 2016.
One of those new flagships is expected to be the LG G5, a phone which the company is planning to unveil on February 21 in Barcelona, right before MWC 2016 kicks off. While we’ve seen a couple of leaks concerning the G5 in recent weeks, details have been a little light. We’re expecting the device to feature an all-metal body, fingerprint sensor, a laser autofocus-equipped dual camera and a V10-like dual-screen. One leak even suggested we might see an unusual design enabling the removal of the battery, despite the chassis having an (almost) unibody design.
Images of the phone recently appeared, disguised in an identity-protecting case, corroborating those rumors. Those images also seemingly confirmed speculation that the device would drop the trademark rear-placed buttons in favor of a more traditional side edge-mounted volume control.
With Samsung expected to launch the Galaxy S7 at a similar time, and several smaller companies lining up to push even more competitive low-cost smartphones to the market in 2016, the G5 has got a lot to prove. Can LG finally build attractive and responsive software to match its excellent hardware? Can it compete with Samsung on the flagship front, or will it be too little too late for the other Korean tech giant? Only time will tell.