LG vows to make smartphone business profitable in 2021 with "wow factor"

LG vows to make smartphone business profitable in 2021 with "wow factor"
LG’s smartphone division has been in a constant downward spiral for years with falling sales and big losses. Over the past twelve months, though, it has slowly managed to reduce expenses and now the company has revealed when it expects the business to become profitable.

LG's betting on phones that have the "wow factor"

Speaking at a CES press conference in Las Vegas, chief executive Kwon Bong-Seok announced LG’s intention to develop its mobile division into a profitable business by the end of 2021. This will be achieved by expanding the lineup of devices on offer and releasing models with so-called “wow factors” attached.

The executive didn’t elaborate on the plans for an expanded lineup but they likely involve growing LG’s presence in the low-end and mid-range segments. After all, that’s where the company continues to perform best and the vast majority of market share lies.

As for the “wow factor” that was mentioned, it certainly seems as though this will be more related to software than hardware. After all, recent LG V60 ThinQ and G9 ThinQ leaks don’t point to anything very revolutionary on the company’s next flagships. 

Like rival Sony, LG was previously betting heavily on the introduction of 5G connectivity as a path back to growth. However, as market data shows, only Samsung has so far been able to capitalize on its arrival with shipments of around 7 million devices and a market share of almost 75%. 

This year, the company is once again expected to put a big emphasis on 5G. But unlike the LG V50 ThinQ 5G which debuted as one of the first compatible devices on the market, in 2020 virtually every flagship on the market and even many mid-range smartphones will support the networks, meaning LG will be relying heavily on those aforementioned “wow factors” to stand out from the competition.

What will the LG V60 & G9 ThinQ bring to the table?

As mentioned above, the leaks so far don't point towards anything major for LG's next flagships. The LG V60 ThinQ and LG G9 ThinQ are expected to be 5G and 4G LTE variants of the same device, meaning they'll both feature 6.8-inch OLED displays coupled with in-screen fingerprint scanners, although it's unclear at this stage whether they'll be optical or ultrasonic sensors.

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Also expected on the next-generation devices is an aluminum frame that incorporates a USB-C port on the bottom and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The latter isn't as common as it used to be on smartphones, leaving LG as one of the few mainstream brands that still offer the legacy port.

Regarding the camera department, the South Korean giant has finally ditched its dual-camera setup in favor of a much more versatile quadruple-camera layout. It's expected to incorporate an upgraded primary sensor that's accompanied by an ultra-wide-angle shooter and a 3x telephoto snapper. 

Also understood to be included is a dedicated Time-of-Flight sensor, which will hopefully improve the quality of portrait photos and any other shots were background blur is required. 

Flagship specs are, of course, expected on the inside

Powering the LG V60 ThinQ should be the Snapdragon 865, like most other 2020 flagships, but the LG G9 ThinQ is largely expected to carry the Snapdragon 855+ because of its lack of 5G network connectivity.

The smartphones will likely ship with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of expandable internal storage as standard. Nevertheless, pricier configurations will likely be available at launch in an attempt to compete more directly with Samsung and Apple.

Completing the package on both phones will undoubtedly be Android 10 and LG's custom overlay on top.

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