BUSINESS

LG seeks turnaround with V30, with broadened AI capability

By Shin Ji-hye

LG’s mobile business outlook upbeat, AI tech to expand, connect with other appliances

  • Published : Sept 25, 2017 - 15:05
  • Updated : Sept 25, 2017 - 15:05
It is never easy to satisfy the fast-evolving needs and preferences of tech-savvy consumers, who are currently moving towards bigger screens but with thinner and lighter devices for an easier grip with up-and-coming functions.

LG Electronics, which has remained steadfast to its smartphone ambition through trial and error, has recently launched its flagship smartphone V30 on Aug. 31 that highlights its comfortable grip despite a 6-inch screen and high-end camera feature.

With the well-rounded phone, the Korean tech giant seeks to make a turnaround in its mobile business and to broaden its artificial intelligence capabilities.

“V30 is focused on multi-media function. In a word, it is a phone that makes you take a video like a pro with ease,” said Cho Jun-ho, the head of LG’s mobile division, at its launch event, when asked about the differentiation from Samsung Galaxy Note 8 that unveiled on the same day.

The first impression when you grip V30 is that it is thin and light. At 158 grams, it is the lightest smartphone among 6-inch or bigger screens. It is 0.3-inch larger and still 5 gram lighter than LG’s other flagship smartphone G6 that unveiled in February. Along with the comfortable grip, it provides a larger screen than its predecessor V20 by reducing the top and bottom bezels by 20 percent and 50 percent respectively. 



Its new camera setup is also one of its most prominent features. Its new cine video mode lets anyone shoot moody, cinema-quality videos. It offers a variety of color grading presets that give a user’s footage a certain type of appearance -- such as adding a romantic feel or a sense of mystery -- directly from the camera.

With the impressive new features, local analysts are upbeat about LG’s ability to bounce back in its mobile business. They predicted V30 sales will reach up to 1.5 million units, higher than its predecessor V20 that had sold around 1.1 million units.

“V30 is expected to ride high and likely to contribute to reducing losses of LG’s mobile unit. They will be mainly sold in the firm’s strategic markets, including Korea and the US,” said Kim Ji-san, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities.

LG’s smartphones have fared well in the US apart from its home ground, Korea. Last year, its handsets ranked third in the US smartphone market with a 15.9 percent share following Apple and Samsung Electronics. It also saw a sales growth of 7.6 percent from the year earlier on the back of solid performance of V20 that was launched in September, last year.

“V30 is expected to sell around between 1.3 million units and 1.5 million units. It will play a role in vitalizing its stagnant mobile unit,” said Kwon Seong-ryul, an analyst at Dongbu Securities.

V30, which went on sale on Sept. 21 in Korea, is slated to be released in the global market, including the US and Europe, in October.

Apart from seeking to make a turnaround in its mobile unit, LG also aims to broaden its artificial intelligence capabilities with the launch of V30.

V30 continued to adopt Google’s AI-powered voice assistant Google Assistant, with a Korean service available for the first time. LG’s G6, which was unveiled in February, was the first non-Google phone that featured Google Assistant.

The machine-learning powered Google Assistant can search the internet, schedule events and alarms, adjust hardware settings on the user‘s device, and show information from the user’s Google account.

By working with Google, LG added customized command features such as cine video mode or wide-angle camera for V30. For instance, when a user says, “Shoot a video like a romantic movie,” LG V30’s cine video mode automatically runs.

The V30 user can also control LG’s home appliances. They can turn on LG’s air purifier, by saying, “OK Google, talk to LG to start air purifier.”

Analysts predicted LG will unveil more AI-powered products and further integrate AI technologies with its other goods and technologies.

“Starting with Google Assistant’s Korean service for V30, LG is expected to expand AI-powered products into its smartphones, home appliances and electronics automobiles,” said Noh Kyung-tak, an analyst at Eugene Investment & Securities.

LG began to connect Google’s AI services to its premium home appliances, including refrigerator, washing machine and air purifier this year. 

By Shin Ji-hye  (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)