Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Mobileworld: LG plans smartwatch, Nokia's low cost smartphone and Sony's HD video phone

LG Electronics has said it will launch a computerised wristwatch later this year, entering a nascent market where Samsung, Sony and smaller companies such as Pebble are already jostling for dominance.

Park Jong-seok, president of LG's mobile communications division, said early smartwatch models failed to demonstrate why consumers should buy them. He said LG's strategy is not to release a half-baked product but, like other smartwatches, the LG smartwatch will be paired with a smartphone.

The South Korean company announced its smartwatch plans at a mobile industry fair in Barcelona, Spain. Mr Park made his comments during a pre-announcement briefing last week.

LG was a late comer in both smartphones and tablets compared with its home rival Samsung, now the world's largest maker of smartphones.

LG spokeswoman Kim So-yeong declined to comment on news reports that LG will manufacture an Android-powered smartwatch for Google. LG already makes some of Google's Nexus mobile products.

Part of LG's efforts to boost its mobile brand in the crucial North American market was to collaborate with Google. It manufactured Google's Nexus 5 smartphone, the first mobile device to be powered by KitKat, which is the latest version of Google's Android operating system, and the Nexus 4 smartphone.

LG Electronics finished 2013 as a fourth-largest smartphone maker in the world according to research firm Gartner. But the No 4 title does not mean its business is profitable.

LG's mobile division is among the distant second-tier group in the market where nearly all profit is taken by the two leading companies - Samsung and Apple. LG lost 58.5 million US dollars (£35.2 million) in the final three months of 2013 due to hefty marketing costs and falling smartphone prices.

Samsung, which sold 1 million Android-powered Galaxy Gear smartwatches to retailers and mobile carriers last year, dropped Google's Android in its latest announcement of smartwatches.

Samsung unveiled two new smartwatches yesterday on the eve of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Both are powered by lesser-known operating system called Tizen, developed jointly by Samsung and Intel Corp.

NOKIA PLANNING LOW-COST SMARTPHONE

Nokia is targeting emerging markets with a low-cost smartphone that uses Google's Android operating system rather than the Windows Phone software from Microsoft, the company about to buy Nokia's phone business.

Nokia will ditch many of the Google services that come with Android. Instead, the new Nokia X phone, announced today, will emphasise Microsoft services such as Bing search. Its home screen sports larger, resizable tiles resembling those on Windows Phone.

Nokia is positioning the Nokia X as a bridge to high-end Windows smartphones under the Lumia brand. Microsoft is buying Nokia's phone business and patent rights in a 5.4 billion euro (£4.5 billion) deal expected to be completed next month.

The Nokia X phone will sell for 89 euros (£74).

SONY SHOWCASES ULTRA-HD VIDEO PHONE

Sony is borrowing innovations from its audio and camcorder businesses and incorporating its new Xperia Z2 smartphone with noise-cancelling technology and ultra-high-definition video recording.

Noise cancellation works with an in-ear headset sold separately, while the Z2's built-in camera can capture video in so-called 4K resolution, an emerging standard that offers four times the details as current high-definition video.

Today's announcement came at the Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona, Spain.

Despite favourable reviews, Sony phones have not had much traction in an industry dominated by Apple and Samsung.

With the Z2, Sony is trying to innovate on hardware, while many of the ground-breaking features in rival devices have been in their software.

 

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