Admit it, the first thing that strikes your head when you hear the name of LG are television sets or even air conditioner. As much as you loved your transformers and the name Optimus, two years ago, having an LG smartphone was perhaps not the smartest choice. The hardware was not up to the scratch and the software was bloated, boring just non responsive at time. However, two years is a long time in the world of Consumer Electronics and things turn around.
Nexus 4 was the first major LG device after perhaps the Optimus 1 to be declared a hit. Post that LG has followed up with the likes of LG Optimus G Pro, LG Nexus 5 and LG G2, all the devices, which have gained significant traction in it’s own product category which definitely must be encouraging signs for LG. However, despite some very good products, LG was not perhaps the main player in the Mobile world, at least on the Android side of things given the attention that likes of Samsung or HTC or even Sony to an extent hand. But 2014 could be a different story and here are our reasons why:
LG Actually Dares to Innovate
In a world where Samsung has pretty much kept the same design for now third generation running with the Galaxy S V, LG has actually gone back to the drawing board and thought over things. Be it slim bezels on the LG G2 and the Nexus 5 or the back buttons on the G2 or even the knock on feature or a massive massive battery on the Optimus G Pro, LG has given consumers something new and something interesting each time. And one thing that history can vouch for is that innovation attracts attention, and this definitely is going the way of LG. Of all the manufacturers, you can already tell, just about everyone is expecting something innovative and something unique from LG’s flagship of 2014. (image: arstechnica)
The Competition is Not at its Strongest
This point is kind of continuation of the previous one, but fact is competition in the mobile world has kind of stagnated. The newer players are perhaps just not good enough because they cannot seem to see past stuff the specs and market the device, while the older ones seem to be going through a block. The Samsung Galaxy S V failed to wow us, and if the initial leaks of the HTC M8 are to go by, things would be similar. Sony, for all the good work they do always find one way or the other to screw up. Someone rightly mentioned on Social Media that, “Sony is everybody’s favorite brand, for a week!”. While the S V is a solid device and although its not right to comment on the M8 since it’s not official, these wont be devices that will have a wow or an x factor.
So, in a market where nobody is really threatening with ground breaking products, you sense LG is one hit product away from people really jumping on the ship. Agreed, the G2 was a massive hit and perhaps the best device of 2013, but people are still skeptical about if LG can keep that level up and if they do in 2014, there is no reason why LG would not be considered a serious threat to the likes of Samsung.
There are new product categories coming, surely?
2014 is going to be the year of the wearable, so far though, nobody seems to have cracked the market. There is an Apple powered smartwatch reportedly in works and there is no doubt Google will do something about it with maybe a Nexus watch. With LG delivering two of the biggest hits in terms of numbers with Nexus 4 and Nexus 5, there is every possibility that Google with go with LG as a preferred partner for it’s wearable. And given the open nature of competition in the market, if LG does get that right, it would be a great way to support the smartphone business as well as the brand would be trusted purely on the backing of delivering good products. LG also introduced the LG tablet that ran stock Android, so who knows maybe LG would delve into the tablet market too, which once again at least on Android is a very open field.
The numbers are encouraging
LG reported in it’s quarterly financial report of Q4 of 2013 that it had shipped over 13.2 Million units of smartphones and that figure was a 54% jump on YoY sclae which is impressive. The sales of LTE devices in fact rose by 110% YoY thanks to massive hits that the LG Nexus 5 and the G2 were. QoQ this rise was about 61% which is very impressive. LG clearly stated in the report that they “Plan to improve brand power and market position by promptly responding to consumer’s needs by launching market leading products and enhancing product line-up”for 2014. Though numbers never tell the whole story, they are indicative of definite progress made by LG and that if they keep the efforts up, there is an audience for them. (image: LG Financial Report)
It does not really require a very long analysis or business tools to know that LG mobile is going in the right direction. Thanks to some help by competitors who are failing to keep up the traction, apart from maybe Sony to an extent, LG with it’s ability to innovate has pleasantly surprised everybody. The only question now remains is of consistency and that is exactly the reason why the year of 2014 is so crucial. This is the year of consolidation and trying to scale things up a notch and maybe crack a few new product categories or even budget categories in smartphones. They have got off to a very reasonable start as the LIII series which is the budget series of LG was taken pretty well by those who attended the MWC and saw the devices while the G Pro 2 was more of an iteration in the direction of good work started by the G Pro and G2. How things play out, is anybody’s guess, but at the date of writing, it does look like there is a huge pie of market share waiting for LG, all they need is to grab and eat it now.