Korea Stories September 21, 2015

LG Class unveiled in Korea: Metal build, 5-inch display and support for 2TB MicroSD in tow

You may remember, just a few weeks ago, an upcoming LG device was leaked showing what looked to be a metal chassis and protruding rear camera. Today, the LG Class went official in Korea and — although it probably won’t make its way to Western markets — it looks to be a solid mid-ranger.

It’s been designed to look and feel like a quality device. Both the glass on the front and metal on the back are curved towards the left and right edges to make it feel great in hand. It’s also just 7.4mm thin, making one of the thinnest smartphones around.

Specs aren’t exactly inspiring, but typical for a mid-tier device. The 5-inch display on the front boasts 720p resolution with a pixel density of 294ppi. There’s a 13MP camera on the back and an 8MP front facing sensor. The Korean manufacturer opted for a quad-core 1.2GHz processor on the inside, along with 2GB RAM and a 2,050mAh battery.

Perhaps the most noteworthy specification is its expandable storage. Like many phones, it has a MicroSD card slot, except this one will support memory cards up to a huge 2TB after a software update is released next month. With just 16GB internal storage, that extra capacity will surely make the device much more tempting to buyers. There’s also a loud 1W loudspeaker, 4G LTE connectivity and Bluetooth 4.1. It’ll cost just under the equivalent of $340 when it goes on sale in Korea, and will be available in three colors: Blue Black, Silver and Gold.

It’s not likely that we’ll see this smartphone outside Korea, but there’s always hope that the manufacturer will release a new phone for us before the holiday season rolls around. Although I’m not holding my breath, it’d be nice to see the company compete with Samsung’s Note series.

Korea Stories July 27, 2015

Past meets future: LG’s new ‘Gentle’ flip-phone runs Android 5.1 Lollipop

This morning, LG announced a brand new Android flip phone to join its ranks. The LG Gentle, or LG U Plus, will be sold for 200,000 Korean Won (roughly $171 USD) to early adopters, and be available in both navy or burgundy.

The ‘Gentle’ is aptly named, and is designed to be both soft to the touch and comfortable to hold in your palm. Flip the phone open and there’s a large traditional physical keypad with bespoke buttons for functions like launching camera and messages, for example. Although you can use the directional pad to control the phone, the 3.2-inch 480×320 LCD display is touch sensitive too.

Specs include a modest 1.1GHz quad-core processor, 1,700mAh battery, 3MP rear camera, 1GB RAM and 4GB storage with the option to expand via MicroSD card. It runs Android 5.1 Lollipop and is equipped with USB 2.0, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

It’s not the first, and almost certainly won’t be the last Android-powered clamshell launched in Korea. They are seemingly very popular with the older generation who want the latest tech in a familiar form factor.

Korea Stories May 17, 2015

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In a pretty ambiguous press release, LG has come out this afternoon (or this morning for those in Seoul) to announce that its recently-announced G4 flagship will begin shipping this week to consumers in “key markets around the world.” The rollout will supposedly begin in Hong Kong, followed by introductions in Turkey, Russia, and Singapore… expand full story

Korea Stories March 4, 2015

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A couple reports out of Korea today highlight some of LG’s plans for the relatively near future, including a statement (via Korea Times) from the company’s mobile chief Cho Jun-ho suggesting that the upcoming LG G4 is going to be “radically different” than its predecessor. The device will reportedly feature a “metal-mixtured” body and sport the company’s LG UX 4.0, which Cho says will be announced sometime before the new phone.

Also, LG also reportedly has a completely new device series in the works (via Korea Herald), featuring more powerful specs than the current top-of-the-line G series… expand full story

Korea Stories January 29, 2015

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LG posted its quarterly earnings numbers today and boasted  impressive numbers in its smartphone group. Globally, Smartphone sales were up 24% but in the US alone, smartphones shipments were up 78% for the quarter year over year. LG ended the year having moved 59.1 million smartphones, bolstered by its popular G3 flagship. Those aren’t Apple numbers by any stretch but still very solid.

LG also posted growth in its home entertainment sector but a net loss overall for the quarter mostly due to charges related to shutting down its Plasma business.

SEOUL, Jan. 29, 2015 ― LG Electronics Inc. (LG) today announced net profit of KRW 501.40 billion (USD 474.81million) for full-year 2014, an increase of 125 percent over 2013 net profit. Operating profit increased significantly in 2014 to KRW 1.83 trillion (USD 1.73 billion) from KRW 1.25 trillion (USD 1.14 billion) in 2013, an increase of 46 percent. Full-year consolidated revenue of KRW 59.04 trillion (USD 55.91 billion) was mainly boosted by a 24 percent increase in smartphone shipments.

The LG Mobile Communications Company reported a 16 percent increase in annual revenue to KRW 15.06 trillion (USD 14.26 billion) with help from North America, where shipments increased 78 percent during the fourth quarter of 2014 from the previous year. Fourth-quarter revenue of 3.78 trillion (USD 3.48 billion) was 5 percent higher than the same period in 2013. A total of 59.1 million smartphones were shipped in 2014, an increase of 24 percent from the previous year, among 78.2 million mobile handsets sold last year. Expecting a challenging year ahead with greater competition globally from various manufacturers, LG will concentrate on improving its brand power, operating more efficiently, and focusing on selective key markets.

Korea Stories October 29, 2014

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LG’s twin-track smartphone strategy – offering both premium G-series models and cheaper L-series devices – appears to be working, with the company announcing Q3 smartphone sales up by 39% to 16.8M and operating profits more than doubled to 461B won ($440M). The results beat analyst expectations, and LG said that it was bullish about future prospects.

Building on its momentum and two consecutive profitable quarters, LG expects to strengthen its positioning in the smartphone market with its G Series and L Series models despite the landscape becoming more competitive

The G3 handset in particular has helped the company gain ground against its much larger Korean rival Samsung. Samsung is due to announce its own Q3 results tomorrow, but has already issued a profit warning on the basis of low average selling prices of its phones …  expand full story

Korea Stories October 6, 2014

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According to leaked documents spotted by GForGames, Samsung is planning a December release for its new Gear VR virtual reality headset that pairs with the recently launched Galaxy Note 4. The document, which we haven’t been able to verify as authentic, also claims that the headset will arrive for 200,000 Won in Korea. That’s under $200 in USD (approximately $187). expand full story

Korea Stories September 29, 2014

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It appears Samsung’s launch of its new Galaxy Note 4 is running into issues with a number of early customers in Korea reporting a manufacturing problem causing a large gap between the display the frame of the device. South Korean outlet IT Today first reported the controversy noting that the gap on the device is roughly the the thickness of a business card. As you’d probably imagine, that could be a big problem for dust, dirt and waterproofing features. expand full story

Korea Stories September 24, 2014

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Samsung officially confirmed the launch of its new Galaxy Note 4 today announcing that the device will launch in Korea on September 26. It also said the new flagship smartphone would arrive in 140 countries by the end of October. expand full story

Korea Stories August 27, 2014

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Google announced today that it’s launching a Campus startup community hub in Seoul Korea. This will be the tech giant’s first location in Asia, which joins its growing global network of sites like Campus London, Campus Tel Aviv, and the soon to be available Campus Warsaw and Campus Sao Paulo.

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Korea Stories May 14, 2014

Google Chromecast now available in South Korea

After months of streaming content around the world, Chromecast is now officially available in South Korea. As in other territories, the me Google’s media dongle will feature streaming support across Android, iOS and desktop versions of Chrome. Google is partnering with Korean media outlets like Tving and Hoppin to offer access to thousands of domestic videos, movies and TV shows.

Google estimates that over 80 percent of YouTube views in Korea come from smartphones, which could make the Chromecast a viable option in this mobile driven market.

(via Google)

Korea Stories May 8, 2014

Samsung’s Swarovski Galaxy S5, Galaxy Gear collection launches today

Samsung’s “Crystal Collection” Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Gear line are available on the company’s online store starting today, though only in Korea. The devices are also available for pre-order for the Chinese market.

The sparkly device will eventually be make its way to Samsung’s UK retail stores in the UK in the coming weeks. If you’re in the United States and hoping to get your hands on this handset, start looking into importing it. Chances are, Samsung will never officially release the device in the North American, as no plans have been shared thus far.

The “Swarovski for Samsung” collaboration comes on the heels of a successful accessory partnership between the two brands during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York this past season. The collection marks the first time in more than 100 years that Swarovski has participated in a collaboration of this scale, where it fully integrates its branding into the collection.

With technology and fashion so deeply intertwined, Samsung is more dedicated than ever to supporting self-expression through technological innovation and meaningful partnerships,” said Younghee Lee, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, IT & Mobile Division at Samsung. “Collaborating with Swarovski on this stunning collection of device accessories reflects our commitment to providing people with user-experiences that express their distinct personalities and taste.

Korea Stories April 11, 2014

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Samsung has announced that the Samsung Galaxy S5 goes on sale today in 125 countries, along with the new Gear smartwatches. It was already known that it would be launched today in the USA.

The new Galaxy S5 and the Samsung Gear devices – Samsung Gear 2, Samsung Gear 2 Neo, and Samsung Gear Fit – are ready to hit the market in 125 countries in Europe, Middle East, North America, Latin America, and most of Asia.

The S5 has a 5.1-inch full HD display which was declared “the best smartphone display ever tested” by DisplayMate. Other key features include a fingerprint sensor and heartrate monitor. Reviewers considered it an excellent phone, albeit lacking in excitement …  expand full story

Korea Stories December 9, 2013

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A story out of Korean publication Asia Today is indicating some bad news for fans of LG’s G2 flagship smartphone. According to the publication, sales of the device are falling well below expectations with just 2.3 million units sold in the four months post launch. LG had projected 3 million units for the third quarter alone and have only hit 600,000 units in their home country of Korea.

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Korea Stories November 6, 2013

The video may be slightly cringeworthy (hot girls are always turned on by geek tech, right?), but the concept is certainly an exciting one: a foldable display which allows a pocketable smartphone to unfold or unroll into a tablet …  expand full story

Korea Stories November 5, 2013

We first heard the LG G Flex – a smartphone with a curved OLED display – was on its way just over a month ago. That was followed by renders and then photos and video. What none of these showed, however, was the the flexible display really does flex. In fact, the whole phone does …  expand full story

Korea Stories April 11, 2013

Gangnam Style star ‘PSY’ to perform new single live on YouTube this weekend

YouTube announced on its official blog today that YouTube star PSY will be hitting YouTube this weekend to perform his second single “Gentleman” live for the first time ever following the success of his massively popular Gangnam Style video:

This Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Korean Standard Time (2:30 a.m. PST), PSY will kick off a live streamed concert from the Seoul World Cup Stadium and share his new single with the world. You can check out the action atwww.youtube.com/officialpsy, where the concert will be rebroadcast for 24 hours after the live event.

Back in December PSY’s Gangnam Style video became the first to hit 1 billion views.

Korea Stories October 24, 2012

LG reports ‘solid’ Q3 earnings with $138.57M in net profit

LG is out with its Q3 earnings today, and it is reporting what it called “solid third-quarter performance” thanks to strong handset sales. The company took in $138.57M in net profit for the quarter, while recording 19.42 million operating profit for its mobile business:

LG Mobile Communications Company improved significantly in the 2012 third quarter, recording operating profit of KRW 22 billion (USD 19.42 million) due in large part to healthy sales of LTE smartphones in Korea, Japan and the United States. In addition, Optimus L-Series continued to expand into 3G markets, contributing to the sales increase. Revenues increased by 5 percent quarter-to-quarter to KRW 2.45 trillion (USD 2.16 billion) as shipments exceeded 14 million units, an increase of 9 percent from the previous quarter. The company expects to further increase its shipments and revenue in the fourth quarter with the global launch of the Optimus G superphone and sales of Optimus Vu: 2 in Korea.

LG’s full press release below:

Korea Stories August 27, 2012

LG reveals Optimus Vu II ‘all-in-one remote control’ smartphone with infrared, launches in September for Korea

The Optimus Vu II, or the “all-in-one remote control,” just unveiled for Korea, but Engadget promptly noted the announcement falsely claimed it is the first smartphone to sport infrared. LG dubbed the Optimus Vu II the “the world’s first smartphone using infrared,” and it gave the Android handset a general launch date for “next month.” The device’s tech is built around the QRemote remote control app, which subsequently allows users to manage set-top boxes, appliances, TVs, and even competitors’ electronic products, but the presser did not name additional specs or pricing.

Check it out: Press release (translated

Korea Stories August 19, 2012

LG’s 5-inch Vu phablet launches globally

LG ANNOUNCES GLOBAL AVAILABILITY OF OPTIMUS VU: Largest LG Smartphone to Be Launched in Europe, Asia, Middle East/Africa and Latin America

SEOUL, Aug. 20, 2012 – On the heels of its successful debut in Korea and Japan, the Optimus Vu: will make its global debut starting in select markets in Europe, Asia, Middle East/Africa and Latin America starting in September. With the world’s first 5-inch 4:3 aspect ratio display, the Optimus Vu: blurs the line between traditional tablets and smartphones for a truly unique smart device experience.

Since its March debut in Korea, the Optimus Vu: has sold over 500,000 units, demonstrating public acceptance of its form-factor. The reception the device received in Korea prompted LG to launch the Optimus Vu: in Japan this month, where it has also been received positively by Japanese consumers.

For the global roll-out, the Optimus Vu: will be equipped with NVIDIA? Tegra? 3 mobile processor, the super 4-PLUS-1™ quad-core with 5th battery-saver core, that offers a superb balance of performance and power requirements. 4 cores are used for high performance tasks such as games and multitasking. For voice call, email, music and video playback, only 5th battery-saver core is enabled and it consumes very less power.

When paired with the high-resolution 5-inch, 4:3 ratio IPS display, the Optimus Vu: becomes something special – a device that’s both pocketable and spacious. The Optimus Vu: will come with an upgraded version of QuickMemo™ and Notebook, two features which make great use of the large display real estate.

“The different form factor makes Optimus Vu: unique even in the 5-inch smartphone category which we expect will catch on once they become more widely available,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company.

Key Specifications: Operating System Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Network 3G Display 5.0-inch 4:3 ratio XGA IPS with 768 x 1024 pixels Memory 32GB Cameras 8.0MP rear / 1.3MP front Size 139.6 x 90.4 x 8.5mm Weight 168g

Korea Stories July 30, 2012

Report: HTC shuts down South Korea office over sinking handset sales

Smartphone manufacturer HTC just announced that it closed its South Korea office due to low device sales in the country. The Taiwan-based company, which produces many Android handsets, suffered financial declines in recent quarters due to stiff competition in the market.

According to Korean news site Yonhap:

  • “Taiwanese handset maker HTC Corp. is set to pull out of South Korea following fruitless attempts to stay afloat in the local market dominated by the world’s top smartphone maker Samsung Electronics Co., market watchers said Monday.
  • On Friday, HTC officially announced its plan to close its Seoul office, a move that comes just a few months after its local unit head ended a brief six-month stint due largely to sluggish sales.”

TechWorld elaborated:

  • “HTC did not specifically mention layoffs, and said it was encouraging affected employees to apply for open positions within the company. ‘This is a hard decision that has direct impact on people who have contributed to the growth HTC has experienced the past several years,’ it said in a statement.”
  • South Korea has been a challenging market for foreign vendors including HTC to break into, said Nicole Peng, an analyst with research firm Canalys.
  • HTC had a 2 percent share of the smartphone market in the country for the year 2011, and a 1 percent share in this year’s first quarter, she said in an email. Korean vendors, including Samsung, LG and Pantech, dominate with about a 90 percent of the market.

Get the full report at TechWorld.

Korea Stories May 16, 2012

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LG announced this morning that it developed a new LG Optimus 3.0 overlay.

The press release claimed Optimus UI 3.0 is “unobtrusive and simple” to use, and its primary design function has speed in mind. For example, a new memo function called “Quick Memo” allows users to jot notes on the screen in a “more convenient” method, and then users can share the scribblings through text messages, email, or social networks.

“With smartphone hardware becoming more and more similar, it’s important for manufacturers to differentiate their products from the competition through the user interface,” said President and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company Dr. Jong-seok Park in the presser.

Other features include: an unlock function that allows users to drag anywhere on the screen; a preset Pattern Lock that enables the most frequently used function to automatically open; an easier method for organizing the primary applications, a new Voice Shutter for capturing images through voice commands; a camera feature for shooting the best picture within multiple images; an Icon Customizer that allows users to set their own images as icons and shortcut; and a Download category for the main menu.

The Optimus UI 3.0 is initially slated for Ice Cream Sandwich devices, because it debut on the LG Optimus LTE II that unveiling this week in Korea, and then it will roll out to the LG Optimus 4X HD in June.

LG’s full press release is below.

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Korea Stories April 30, 2012

LG abandons Windows Phones for Android, blames poor sales (Update)

 

UPDATE: An LG spokesperson reached out to PCMag and denied allegations that the company is abandoning the Windows Phone platform:

“No, we are not giving up on Windows Phone. Although we don’t have another Windows device in the pipeline at this moment, that is simply because demand for Android devices is so strong. […] We’ve maintained since the beginning that LG will support whatever operating system consumers want but at the moment, our priority is to get our Android devices to a level where we feel we’ve covered all the bases, to use an American analogy.”

During last week’s Q1 2012 earnings call, LG hinted it is abandoning Windows Phone hardware production to focus on Android, and now a Korean newspaper attributes the move to underwhelming sales and claimed Microsoft’s chief is immediately meeting with the manufacturer in coming weeks.

Microsoft Korea spokesperson Lee Seung-yeon told The Korea Herald that LG is dumping Windows phones due to poor retail performance and said Windows Phones barely stole 2 percent of the global smartphone market share.

The report also suggested Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer will attempt to remedy the split with LG during a May 22 visit to Seoul, Korea by engaging in business meetings with local industry representatives, including LG:

  • “’Ballmer, who will speak about the ‘new era of technology,’ will be staying for a day in Seoul,’ said a Microsoft Korea spokesperson Lee Seung-yeon. ‘We, however, don’t have the fixed details of his business meeting schedule as of now.’
  • An LG spokesman also said it is yet unaware of the meeting.
  • “Ballmer’s visit takes place shortly after LG Electronics’ executive said during an earnings conference session last week that the company is planning to focus on smartphones running on Google’s Android mobile operating system.”

LG makes a slew of Windows-based handsets, such as the Optimus 7. 

Korea Stories September 19, 2011

The Korea Times reports that Samsung “is seeking a complete ban” on the iPhone 5 sales in Korea – even before the handset is even released, let alone officially announced. Local carriers KT and SK Telecom have so far sold about 3.1 million iPhones in the country. The paper quotes an unnamed Samsung senior executive:

Just after the arrival of the iPhone 5 here, Samsung plans to take Apple to court here for its violation of Samsung’s wireless technology related patents. For as long as Apple does not drop mobile telecommunications functions, it would be impossible for it to sell its i-branded products without using our patents. We will stick to a strong stance against Apple during the lingering legal fights.

Another Samsung executive is “quite confident” about “a big breakthrough” provided Samsung wins in Germany, adding that “so will other envisioned efforts against such products as the iPhone 5”. The report goes on to mention that iPhone sports an LG Display-made screen, LG Innotek’s eight-megapixel camera, Samsung-made NAND flash and A5 chip and an NFC chip for wireless payment.

The twist in this case, of course, is the fact that Apple is Samsung’s biggest customer, buying displays, NAND flash memory and custom-built A4 and A5 chips for its products. It has been reported that Samsung may soon lose its contract as Apple turns to rival TSMC.

The manufacturing relationship means Samsung gets information about the innards of Apple’s non-released devices months before the actual manufacturing ramp up. This early access to Apple’s designs could have led Samsung to move with the iPhone 5 ban in Korea ahead of Apple’s official launch. On the other hand, Apple did not accuse Samsung yet of abusing its manufacturing contract to rip off Apple’s upcoming devices with its own products.

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Korea Stories July 28, 2011

Motorola Mobility reported June quarter earnings today, nearly hitting Wall Street estimates with the reported GAAP net loss of $56 million, 19 cents a share. Revenues for the quarter topped $3.3 billion and non-GAAP earnings were nine cents a share. One of the noteworthy highlights includes shipments of 400,000 Xoom tablets, although the company wouldn’t divulge actual sell-through numbers. Xoom shipments amount to some 2.65% June tablet market share, per Strategy Analytics’s cumulative figures.The company also shipped eleven million mobile devices in total, including 4.4 million Android smartphones. Analyst Tomi Ahonen wrote on Twitter that Android shipments amount to an eight percent market share, making Motorola “8th biggest smartphone maker and 5th biggest Android”.

Xoom aren’t bad at all, actually a bit higher than the 300,000 units investors were expecting. Furthermore, the Xoom, Motorola’s inaugural Honeycomb tablet, arrived to market with little or no support from third-party developers plus devices from rivals ensued soon thereafter. Motorola benefited from an expanded distribution of the Atrix 4G smartphone and Motorola Xoom tablets in Latin America, China, Korea and Europe. They also rolled out four new smartphones in China. Moving forward, the company previously pledged to launch ten new devices in 2011 with Sprint, including Motorola Photon 4G which launches this weekend. Other tidbits right below…

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