LG Electronics stole a little spotlight from Korean-rival Samsung May 4, with the introduction of the Optimus LTE2. Like Samsung's bar-raising Galaxy S III, introduced in London May 3, the new LG phone brings with it an industry first: 2GB of on-board RAM.
Delivering "firsts" to market is apparently part of the LG strategy to get itself noticed by smartphone buyers largely focused on Samsung and Apple. LG was also the first to debut a smartphone with a dual-core processorthe Optimus 2Xthe first to offer a glasses-free 3D experience, on the Optimus 3D Max, and, with the Optimus 4X HD, the first to introduce a phone with a quad-core processor.
The bad news: LG introduced the LTE2 during a press event in Korean, suggesting U.S. consumers shouldn't be expecting it any time soon.
Still, the tantalizing detailsthree cheers for Google Translateinclude:
¢ a 2,150mAh battery that offers a 40 percent boost in battery life compared to earlier LG smartphones;
¢ Android 4.0, known as Ice Cream Sandwich;
¢ software that's Long-Term Evolution- (LTE-) optimized for better power efficiency;
¢ support for wireless charging;
¢ a 4.7-inch True high-definition IPS display; and
¢ though this one is based on rumors, a dual-core Snapdragon processor.
LG could certainly use a hit. During the first quarter of 2012, it managed to grab the bottom spot on IDC's list of the top-shipping mobile phone vendors, despite posting a year-over-year loss of 44.1 percent.
While during the first quarter of 2011 it controlled a 6.1 percent share of the overall mobile phone marketto Apple's 4.6 percent, Nokia's 26.8 and Samsung's 17.1 percentthe most recent first quarter told a much different story.
This year, Samsung pulled ahead of Nokia, claiming 23.5 percent of the market to Nokia's 20.8 percent, followed by Apple, with 8.8 percenton 88.4 percent year-on-year growth, the industry's best growth by a large margin. ZTE, with a 4.8 percent share, on 27 percent year-on-year growth, took fourth place, while LG followed, with its market share down to 3.4 percent.
In IDC's smartphone maker rankings for the first quarter LG failed, along with ZTE, to make the top five, replaced by Research In Motion and HTC.
While LG may not be shipping a good deal of new phones, its older devices are in the hands of a lot of Americansmore Americans, in fact, than Apple iPhones or HTC and Motorola devices combined.
According to an April 3 report from comScore, which looked at U.S. mobile subscribers ages 13 years and older, during a three-month period ending in February, LG handsets were being used by 19.4 percent of the 30,000 subscribers surveyed, down from 20.5 percent during the previous three months.
Apple devices, during the most-recent three-month period, were used by 13.5 percent of subscribers, Motorola phones by 12.8 percent and Samsung phones a 25.6 percent of subscribers.
LG has mastered the feat of getting to market first. Now it needs to figure out how to not get pushed aside when the rest of the market catches up.
Follow me on Twitter at @eWEEK_Michelle.