LG’s Optimus G is more than just another hot Android phone, it may also be the last hurrah of a company slowly being edged out of the mobile space.
Market research firm IDC says that LG’s mobile division has lost close to $ 1 billion in the last two years, and the company is now fifth behind Chinese telecom firm ZTE in global mobile market share.
Enter the Optimus G, announced Wednesday and slated for a launch later this year. On paper, LG’s smartphone looks like it will be able to hold its own against the Nokia Lumias and Samsung Galaxy S IIIs of the world: The phone will have a 13-megapixel camera, a 4.7-inch HD IPS display, and will be powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor.
However, good specs don’t always translate into good performance, and previous high-end LG phones have had critical bugs that kept them from functioning properly. LG’s G2x, for example, was the first dual-core phone in the United States and was pulled from store shelves after only a few short weeks due to severe glitches that would cause the phone to restart itself multiple times a day.
If LG is betting it all on the Optimus G, the company is going to have to make sure to tighten all the screws and iron out most (if not all) of the phone’s quirks before it goes on sale, lest it suffer the same fate as the G2x.
The Windows Phone option
While LG has had bad luck with its Android devices, it may find success should it branch out to Windows Phone 8. (The Optimus G is an Android phone, shipping with Android 4.0 and not the newer 4.1 version of the mobile OS.) Other than Nokia, very few companies are making the big push for Microsoft’s mobile OS, leaving a lot of room for newcomers looking to provide a different kind of mobile experience to smartphone owners. If LG were to throw itself head-first into the Windows Phone scene, it could push Nokia and others into creating more high-powered WP phones and help make the platform more competitive against the likes of iOS and Android.
A Windows Phone-centric LG could also help with the creation of more budget Windows Phone devices (similar to LG’s line of budget Optimus Android phones), which would help get Windows Phone into the hands of more people.
LG needs to stay in the game
Few people shed tears about whether or not a company succeeds. But it would be a loss if LG were to drop out of the mobile space. Competition is good, and LG in partcular has been good at spurring other mobile phone makers to do better.
Take the G2x. Yes, it was a buggy mess of a phone, but it pushed other handset makers into getting their dual-core devices into the United States much faster than they might have otherwise. The company has dabbled in everything from tablets to phablets; though it has never had a runaway success, LG is still keeping other companies on their toes.
The Optimus G may be LG’s last stand when it comes to high-end Android phones (or phones in general for that matter), so here’s hoping that the phone is a good one.