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LG Rides High In Smart & Dumb War

By Oonagh Reidy | Monday | 20/05/2013

Rising phone giant says it is happy with how Optimus G 'superphone' has fared in Oz, so far.

A relative newcomer to the smartphone race, LG became a top 5 player in both the smartphone and 'dumb' phone race in Q1 2013, according to Canalyst stats released last week. 

Chinese makers Huawei and ZTE joined LG in top five smartphone brands in Q1- all with less than 5% market share, and pales into comparison with Android rival Samsung 32% share. 

LG's appearance in the top 5 is thanks to its "increased focus on its smartphone business at the expense of its feature phones" which analyst say is "overdue"

LG smart ascension kicked off when it first made it into the top 5 brands in the US in Q4 '12, and now aims to sell 10 m devices every quarter this year, as demand for smartphones grew almost 50% last quarter to 216 million, while features phone demand slumped

But its a tough race as HTC, Motorola - due to launch X phone soon, Sony, Huawei and every other smartphone maker eagerly eyeing growth in the mobile market.

However, local IDC mobile analyst Aman Bajaj predicts phone race won't change drastically from the current 'two horses'  in the lead in 2013, namely Apple and Samsung, although noted players like HTC, BlackBerry and Motorola have got their act together, although didn't mention LG, traditionally a big player in the 'dumb' phone scene, only.

Demand for the premium 'Optimus G' 4.7" dubbed "superphone" which went on sale in March has been in line with expectations and Philip Anderson, LG Australia's Head of PR told CN the company was 'happy' with its' success so far.  

LG who launched the powerful quad-core Optimus on Telstra only are aggressively looking to take market share from the current two horses leading the smartphone race, who command over half of the market.

Anderson would not comment on LG's other smartphone releases this year locally (several phones including Optimus G II, Optimus G Pro with Full HD display and quad core were recently announced in Asia).

However, LG is targeting the 4G market in particular and its three pronged phone attack in Oz and confirmed at Optimus G launch its grand plan to unleash mass market 4G phones 4" Optimus F3 and 4.3" F5 here, and is also looking at the 3G market with an Optimus L Series low-end budget devices.

But analysts are warning cheap Chinese brands such as Huawei and ZTE, could be the biggest threat to Apple and Samsung domination this year.

"The issue isn't HTC, Sony or LG - it's a flood of cheap Chinese handsets," Enders Analysis analyst Benedict Evans told CN last month, speaking about the new mobile players that will arise this year.

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