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LG Electronics went big in style on Tuesday with a flagship G3 smartphone aimed at turning heads away from market titans Apple and Samsung.

LG introduced G3 smartphones at simultaneous events in a half-dozen cities, saying they would hit US soil by September in deals with an array of telecom service carriers.

The successor to the LG G2 has a 5.5-inch (14 centimeter) display with screen quality four times that of standard high-definition resolution and extensive battery life.

Features crafted in to entice smartphone lovers includes ramped up camera capabilities that include advanced hardware; letting people take “selfies” with gestures, and laser-enhanced focusing.

“It makes selfies simple,” head of LG Europe product marketing James Marshall said in a presentation streamed to a press event in San Francisco.

“Let’s face it, around the world we are obsessed with selfies.”

“Selfies” refer to pictures people take of themselves using front-facing cameras in smartphones.

Along with touches such as curving the G3 to make it fit more naturally in a hand, LG overhauled the user interface to make it simpler.

Among improvements is the ability to unlock a G3 by “knocking,” or using a series of finger taps, and a built-in virtual assistant of sorts referred to as Smart Notice.

Smart Notice offers suggestions based on factors such as user behavior and location.

For example, it will notice which apps aren’t used and offer to help remove them or pop up a shopping list memo when it notices that it has reached a preferred market.

LG also added a “kill switch” that allows G3 owners to lock, wipe clean, or permanently disable a lost or stolen smartphone.

“The smartest innovation in a fast evolving smartphone market is creating harmony between advanced technology and a simplified user experience,” said LG Electronics mobile communications company chief Jong-seok Park.

“The LG G3 is the result of our effort to actualize that idea into a tangible product.”

The G3 is South Korea-based LG’s latest champion in a smartphone arena dominated by Apple and Samsung.

G3 handsets are powered by Google’s free Android software.

LG was the fifth largest global smartphone vendor in early 2014 with a 4.4 market share, according to figures from research firm IDC.

Samsung was firm with 30 percent, to Apple’s 15.5 percent, followed by China’s Huawei (4.7 percent) Lenovo (4.6 percent), IDC said.

Larger smartphone choices and better wireless broadband drive trend

This year is expected to see Thailand embrace the mobile era to an even greater degree, with people online via mobile devices anywhere at any time.

The wide availability of third-generation networks, and 4G networks being developed; smartphones; and applications are actively driving this phenomenon. Smartphones this year could account for more than 60 per cent of the mobile phones in the Kingdom, a big jump in just a few years.

Opas Cherdpunt, chief executive officer of M Vision, an organiser of the four-day “Thailand Mobile Expo Hi-End” (TME) that ended on Sunday, said total spending at the event did not meet the target, affected by the current worrying political atmosphere.

“However, feedback, spending, and the numbers of visitors were good enough considering the event was held in the midst of the political protest,” he said.

He added that consumer behaviour was changing. People now take their time before deciding to buy a smartphone. They compare each product’s features with its price, while considering the design as well. They no longer base their purchases on brand awareness alone. Therefore, at TME this time, a lot of consumers shunned the famous names and bought smartphones from new brands.

“More consumers also bought lower-priced smartphones that addressed their requirements, including price, performance and design.”

More choices for consumers

Smartphones from personal-computer vendors were also popular at the event, reflecting the fact that this is now a very competitive market – good news for consumers, as they have more choices.

“By the second half of this year, there will be a lot more smartphones and tablets at affordable prices coming on to the market,” Opas said.

More than 40 brands were represented at the expo, including Samsung, Microsoft, OPPO, i-mobile, Sony, and HTC, as well as telecom operators including Advanced Info Service, Total Access Communication (DTAC), TrueMove H and TOT.

Recently, DTAC soft-launched a 4G system using LTE (long-term evolution) technology in inner Bangkok, while continuing to expand its 3G coverage nationwide. It targets 1 million 4G subscribers by year-end.

CEO Jon Eddy Abdullah said DTAC was ready to launch 4G on the 2.1-gigahertz spectrum and deliver an enhanced experience to wireless broadband customers. The initial launch was in parts of Bangkok with high Internet traffic, including Rama IV, Sathorn, Silom, Klong Toei, Sutthisan, Ratchadaphisek and Din Daeng.

“When DTAC TriNet customers enter 4G coverage [areas], the phones will automatically switch to 4G LTE on 2,100 megahertz and switch frequency bands according to customers’ usage,” Abdullah said.

“Additionally, 4G customers will experience better data services, including video, movie and content downloads, [and] new applications. The [use of] 4G LTE will also help offload 3G data traffic and improve performance in congested areas.”

Launched a year ago, DTAC TriNet, which claims to offer superior 3G service on the 2.1GHz spectrum, had 15.9 million subscribers by the end of the first quarter of this year, out of DTAC’s total 28.2 million subscribers.

DTAC TriNet targets at least 22 million subscribers by the end of the year.

By next month, DTAC TriNet plans to have enough base stations to cover 85 per cent of the population, including people in remote areas. Also, it says it has improved signal quality in congested areas, especially those with rapid smartphone growth and high 3G demand.

True’s 4G LTE service is available in Bangkok and 14 provinces, while True MoveH’s 3G network is available in 928 districts of 77 provinces throughout the country.

Meanwhile, Pratthana Leela-panang, AIS executive vice president for marketing, said the telecom now had 17,000 3G-2.1GHz base stations up and running and would continue to expand both geographic coverage and data capacity.

Better speeds

He said AIS had improved quality by improving base-station density, using innovative “small cells” to fill coverage gaps. Importantly, it uses a single frequency to secure more reliability than simultaneous use of multiple frequencies.

“Currently we have 26 million users of our 3G service, out of our total of 42 million customers. Our mission from now on is to tailor the benefits of the AIS 3G-2.1GHz network meet customer demands for source quality, and offer high-value smartphones for customers to choose from.

“We are also tasked to leverage on 3G technology as well as sourcing the new 4G technology for our customers,” Pratthana said.

More smartphone suppliers are becoming active in Thailand this year, such as Huawei, HTC and Asus, resulting in strong price competition.

Chinese company Huawei by the second half of this year plans to bring its smartphones into the Thai market. Chen Rui, managing director of Huawei Technologies (Thailand), said the company would increase its marketing budget.

It will put more focus on offering smartphones and enterprise solutions in Thailand.

He promised that affordable Huawei smartphones, which will support both 3G and 4G, will be available in Thailand soon.

Taiwanese company HTC is also becoming more aggressive in Thailand’s smartphone market. It aims to be the No 3 player here, targeting a double-digit share and growth rate this year.

HTC South Asia president Jack Yang said Thailand’s smartphone market in particular was growing very quickly and was in the top five of the company’s strategic markets in Asia.

It has adjusted its strategy by offering more than just high-end products. It is also working closely with DTAC for the phones’ distribution.

Huge opportunities

He added that Thailand’s smartphone market was competitive but there were huge opportunities, especially in the mid-tier market, where prices are between Bt10,000 and Bt20,000, and in the high-tier market, where prices are more than Bt20,000.

By the end of this month, it will launch the HTC Desire 310 for the low-tier market with a price between Bt4,000 and Bt5,000 and HTC Desire 816 for the mid-tier market. HTC One (M8) is its flagship product in the high-tier market.

Asus Thailand also has set an aggressive sales target for its smartphones, aiming to snare 10 per cent of the market of 14 million to 20 million units in its first year here. Jeff Lo, manager of AsusTeK Computer (Thailand), said the company was very focused on the smartphone market as it had high potential for growth.

Thus the company plans to spend nearly Bt130 million on smartphone marketing this year.

New smartphone offerings

Asus is launching its first Android smartphone, the ZenFone, in three sizes – the 4-inch model priced at Bt2,999, 5-inch at Bt5,999 and 6-inch at Bt8,999. They will all be available next month.

“In the past, we did not focus purely on smartphones but we on hybrid devices called PadFone and FonePad, the integration of phone and tablet in one device. But now it is time to focus on smartphones. Smartphones are a little bit different from laptops and tablets, as they are consumer products, so we need to invest in this market a lot to build brand awareness as well as drive sales,” Lo said.

Ariya Banomyong, country head of Google Thailand, said the readiness of the mobile broadband network and mobile devices were key drivers for the growth of mobile Internet usage in Thailand. The Internet is the game changer for the way of doing business. Almost all people are always online, via some device.

Vikas Gulati, vice president for Southeast Asia at, said smartphones were a connected ecosystem, with about a billion of them shipped worldwide last year. The mobile-device boom created challenges and opportunities in equal measure for businesses’ digital marketing.

“Mobile shopping is a huge opportunity in the emerging markets, and mobile devices are people’s purchasing partners,” Gulati said.

Krittee Manoleehagul, managing director of Sanook Online and assistant general manager of Tencent, the operator of WeChat, said that localising content was key to using messaging tools for marketing.

WeChat ties social messaging to e-commerce with payment solutions and demographic targeting.

Virutt Kosolvijak, sales manager for global business at Line Thailand, said Line was an important marketing platform for business. More brands have been establishing a presence on the Line platform to reach its more than 24 million users in Thailand.

Mobile commerce

Thailand is now moving towards the mobile-commerce era with people shopping more online via mobile devices, both smartphones and tablets, said Rakuten’s founder and managing director Pawoot Pongvitayapanu.

Rakuten is the operator of the country’s leading e-commerce portal in Thailand. It aims to double its business this year on the explosive growth in mobile devices, especially smartphones.

Mobile commerce has been the star business, ramping up from 27 per cent of its e-commerce sales last year to 50 per cent last quarter and heading for 60 per cent by year-end. As smartphone penetration continues to increase, more and more people turn to their mobile devices to get information about products and prices before they buy.

“Mobile commerce is our direction this year. We target first-time e-commerce buyers who normally go online via mobile phone. Last quarter, smartphones accounted for 73 per cent of its mobile sales, while 27 per cent was from tablets.

“We will focus on doing marketing campaigns over the mobile

platform. This year we set a bigger marketing budget to drive sales volumes from this target group,” Pawoot said.

LG unveils smart appliances that use natural language to communicate.

Feeling lonely? No-one to WhatsApp with? LG has the answer: you can talk to your fridge, oven and washing machine.

LG has unveiled a line of smart appliances that feature its HomeChat messaging service, which uses natural language processing and the messaging app LINE to control your fridge, oven and washing machine.

In use this will mean that users can send text-based messages to their appliances to ask for updates on the wash cycle or for recipe recommendations, for example. It even includes 40 “stickers” – images people send to each other as part of messaging app conversations – to make the interaction with your fridge more “enjoyable” and “personal”.

The app itself has three different modes – vacation, away and return-home – and has settings for most frequently used functions. “With an intuitive interface, HomeChat makes communicating with LG’s smart refrigerator, washing machine or oven much like chatting with a close friend,” LG claimed.

The Smart Refrigerator features a camera to enable you to see what’s inside via a smartphone or tablet, or from an LCD built into the front door – helping to keep items fresh by limiting how often the fridge is opened. It also tracks expiration dates and can recommend meal ideas based on the ingredients contained within – and on your diet, taking into account your BMI.

LG Smart Lightwave Oven will help you plan your menu. “With HomeChat and Recipe Search, homeowners can converse with their smart LG oven to recommend recipes,” LG said. “Select ‘Return-home’ using HomeChat and the smart oven will ask, ‘what dish would you like to make today?’ and open the Recipe Search window.”

When it’s time to cook, the oven will manage the temperature and cooking time. It will also send a notification to your smartphone of new recipes it thinks you should try.

The Smart Washing Machine uses specialised wash cycles that can be downloaded online and run remotely – you can choose from a number of different programmes, which you can turn on while you’re out of the house. You can start the wash by sending a text message, and receive progress updates by sending the machine the question “what are you doing”.

The appliances are launching in South Korea, but if successful will head to other markets, including the US, LG said.

Samsung on top in smartphone market

Posted by pakin On May - 2 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

South Korea’s Samsung remained at the top of the rapidly growing smartphone market in early 2014 as Chinese rivals gained ground, a survey showed Wednesday.

The overall global smartphone market grew 28.6 percent from a year ago with 218.8 million units sold, according to the IDC survey. That was down 2.8 % from the fourth quarter, with a seasonal impact on sales.

Samsung had a 30.2%t market share, compared with 31.9 percent a year earlier.

Apple remained the number two global vendor at 15.5%, which was down from 17.1% one year earlier.

Chinese firm Huawei held third place with a 4.7% global share, with year-over-year sales growth of 47%.

Fellow Chinese maker Lenovo saw 63% sales growth and grabbed a share of 4.6%, ahead of South Korean LG’s 4.4%.

IDC expects 19% sales growth in smartphones this year, following the first billion-plus sales year in 2013.

IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said he sees “sustained strong demand, driven by emerging markets, low-cost devices, and the proliferation of 4G networks.”

This suggests “another record-breaking quarter at the end of the year,” he added.IDC research manager Melissa Chau said the smartphone market is being driven increasingly by China.

“The face of the smartphone market is changing rapidly to reflect the rise of its largest market, China, where a record 40% of the smartphones shipped worldwide in the first quarter were bound to Chinese consumers,” said Mr Chau.

“In a quarter where global shipments declined sequentially, China bucked the trend. The market benefited from its seasonal Lunar New Year uptick, greater emphasis on 4G devices… and the official launch of Apple at China Mobile resulted in volumes a third higher than fourth quarter levels.”

The latest survey did not break down sales by operating system, but suggests that the Google Android system remains dominant, after grabbing roughly 80% of sales in late 2013.

Apple and Samsung are locked in a legal battle in the United States and elsewhere, with the US giant accusing its rival of infringing on patents.