[THE INVESTOR] Jo Seong-jin, vice chairman and CEO of LG Electronics, has ordered a revision of the company’s upcoming premium phone, tentatively called the “G7,” possibly pushing its launch to April.
According to a company official who asked for anonymity, the G7 smartphone team of the company’s mobile communications business was told to halt recent work related to development of the newest phone, and to review the new product from scratch.
A rumored image of LG G7
“Right after the vice chairman made the announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show last week, a direct order was sent down to the working-level officials to start over,” the official told The Korea Herald.
“A new decision on a possible launch date will be released around the Lunar New Year holiday next month,” he said. The smartphone was initially expected to be unveiled at the end of February and launched in March.
At the CES in Las Vegas on Jan. 11, Jo hinted at a major change in the company’s money-losing smartphone unit, saying, “We will unveil new smartphones when it is needed. But we will not launch it just because other rivals do,” during a press conference.
The company has been excelling in premium home appliances but it is struggling with smartphones.
Instead of LG’s G series phone, techies will be able to see Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S9 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, where LG has unveiled its first-half flagship device in past years.
Jo had also said he is considering retaining existing models longer, or changing the smartphone’s brand name.
According to speculations surrounding LG’s G7 by foreign media outlets, the 2018 edition is expected to have slimmer bezels than before, while appearing to retain an aspect ratio of 18:9.
A dual camera module is likely to be on the front of the handset, raising speculation that one of the cameras will be used for LG’s first iris scanning function.
“The internal speculation is that the company hasn’t been able to find a strong selling point for the G7 smartphone,” the official said.
Market observers expect a scale-down of LG’s smartphone business after the unit was degraded to a vice president-led unit at the end of November.
Under former President Juno Cho, the company’s smartphone unit posted deficits for 11 straight quarters, until the final quarter of 2017 with an estimated 233 billion won (US$219 million) in losses.
“Concerns are spreading across the entire smartphone business, causing worries about what kind of changes will be made to the V series smartphone that used to be launched every autumn,” the official added.
A LG Electronics public relations official said that the vice chairman’s message at CES was that the company was seeking new marketing strategies related to launches and that nothing has been set in stone.
By Song Su-hyun/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)