LG Electronics on Thursday launched a new smartphone packing two screens at simultaneous events in Seoul and New York City, which the company hopes will help bolster struggling sales of flagship phones and beat back increased competition from China.
The LG V10 smartphone features an extra ticker-tape style screen above the main 5.7-inch display that can be used for notifications, as well as in multitasking. The second “always-on” screen displays battery level, the weather and time and date _ as well as a slew of little extras , such as emails, texts, missed calls and app activity _ even when the main screen is off.
LG has big plans for the V10, ostensibly the first in a range of V phones from the company as it seeks to boost sales in a difficult market.
But the reaction of analysts in South Korea was cool describing the new features as gimmicky and dismissing the new camera and other features as neat but not be enough to re-position the LG brand from a “a grey part,” an area between premium smartphones and Chinese budget handsets.
“They are focusing on the camera function, right. I don’t think it will impact the market,” said Joo Yong-dong, IT analyst with Hyundai Securities. “And LG Electronics is positioned in a grey part. The premium phone market is dominated by companies like Samsung and, especially Apple. The low end is dominated by many Chinese phones like Huawei and Xiaomi. They are taking market share from LG Electronics especially among low and mid-ranged smartphones. I think LG smartphone business does not look bright.”
LG’s V10 smartphone features premium materials including a stainless steel FRAME and silicone cover while internally it mimics the company’s G4 smartphone that was launched earlier in the year.
LG sales of the G4 were hammered in the first half of this year as compared to its predecessor phone, the G3, according to figure provided by KDB Daewoo Securities.
Sales of the G3 in the 12 month period from its release in June 2014 to May 2015 was about 13.5 million units, and 4.6 million units in the first four months. However, LG sold only 2.1 million G4s from April to July, less than half of how the G3 sold.
However, as the company declined to release official sales results, those numbers are unconfirmed. That said, operating profits from its mobile communications business, which includes LG smartphones, dropped 99.7 percent year-on-year to 200 million won ($166,666).
For any indication that LG is desperately looking to turn things around in Q4 the new v10 one has to look no further that the company’s stock price. LG Electronics stock dropped below the psychologically important level of 50,000 won per share on June 24, and remained there ever since. LG stock has not been that low in more than 10 years.