[THE INVESTOR] At a glance, LG Electronics’ latest flagship G7 ThinkQ smartphone looks like a downgrade of US tech giant Apple’s iPhone X due to the stunningly similar notch display.
However, the Korean tech giant claimed that its latest smartphone is not a copycat of the iPhone, but something it envisioned long before the iPhone X.
"We planned the notch design before Apple," said Hwang Jeong-hwan, chief of LG’s mobile division, at a G7 ThinkQ showcase event in Seoul on May 3.
He added that instead of calling it a notch, which insinuates that something is missing, LG prefers to call it a second display to indicate there is more to show.
LG Electronics’ mobile division head Hwang Jeong-hwan (middle) at a G7 ThinkQ showcase event on May 3.
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In addition to the notch, LG has adopted a number of souped-up features in line with its focus on the ABCD -- audio, battery, cameras and display. There’s a premium audio system called boombox, AI camera solutions that choose the best of 19 shooting modes and long-distance voice command recognition that can pick up commands from as far as five meters away.
The 6.1-inch screen with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio is the largest among LG smartphones, and is slightly longer than Samsung’s Galaxy S9. The screen is 30 percent more energy efficient than the preceding G6, and it boasts 1,000 nits of brightness, which is the highest among smartphones out in the markets today and making it easier to view in direct sunlight.
The following are excerpts from the Q&A session with LG’s mobile chief.
The Investor: Did you copy Apple’s iPhone X features?
Hwang: LG planned the notch design before Apple. The display design may look similar to that of other smartphones, but boasts differentiated features.
TI: Why did you return to LCD from OLED?
Hwang: It’s actually incorrect to say LG has returned to LCD because this is a part of our two-track strategy. The G lineup will stick to LCD while the V models will deploy OLED.
TI: Please tell us about the sales target for the G7.
Hwang: That's a tricky question, but we do expect better results than the G6.
TI: Why is there is a price gap among the same LG smartphones sold at home and abroad?
Hwang: The same product should come with the same price tag. A price gap, if there is any, exists due to difference in hardware specifications or quality of accessories, like earphones.
TI: Has LG pulled out of China?
Hwang: LG has strategically reduced the number of markets for handset release, and the figure may keep falling. Having said that, we have not shut down operations in the Chinese market, but we are trying to put more focus on Hong Kong for now, which we plan to use as a stepping-stone to increase our presence in the mainland.
TI: The G7 seems to lack something funky compared to competitors.
Hwang: I assume you’re talking about augment reality-based animated emojis (available on the iPhone X). Those software features can be updated later and will be available both on the G7 and other preceding models to meet the demand of consumers who want a longer lifespan for their smartphones.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)