SEOUL (Reuters) – LG Electronics Inc unveiled a premium smartphone on Wednesday that the South Korean firm hopes will help revive its money-losing mobile business, a major revenue contributor and key customer for components suppliers in the LG group.
LG announced its V20 just hours before rival Apple Inc is due to launch its latest iPhone. The V20 also comes about five months after LG launched its flagship G5, which fell short of expectations due to production problems and competition from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s Galaxy S7 phones.
The G5’s disappointing performance pushed LG’s mobile arm to its fifth consecutive quarterly operating loss in April-June. The division made up almost a quarter of LG’s first-half revenue and buys parts from affiliates such as LG Display Co Ltd and LG Innotek Co Ltd.
“We hope the V20 will be a turning point,” LG mobile division chief Cho Juno said at a news conference.
LG’s new phone will face tough competition from Apple and Samsung, though the latter’s recall of the newly launched Galaxy Note 7 may work in LG’s favor.
Cho said he was not sure whether the Note 7 recall would help the V20, but would not comment further on any competition including Samsung and Apple.
The V20 offers a 5.7 inch display, metal body, replaceable battery and beefed-up audio capabilities with new chipsets and through a partnership with audio equipment maker Bang & Olufsen A/S.
It also has improved photo and video capabilities through features such as dual rear cameras and reduced blurring on pictures and videos, LG said.
LG did not disclose pricing or sales targets. It said it would start selling the phone in South Korea at the end of September, followed at undisclosed times by markets such as the United States, Hong Kong and China.
(Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Richard Pullin and Christopher Cushing)