Ken Hon, LG: “The arms race among smartphone makers will end soon”


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At the MWC 2013 exhibition, we met with the director of corporate communications for LG Electronics Ken Hon

(Ken Hong) and had a small interview with him in which Mr.Hon expressed his point of view on current trends in the mobile industry. The most interesting, from our point of view, statements you will find in this short material.

About the arms race
Today, all manufacturers of Android smartphonesplaying an arms race. Everyone wants to announce a product that will be at least slightly ahead of competitors in terms of characteristics: screen diagonal, processor frequency, or camera resolution. This race will end soon, as it cannot be maintained at the same pace for ever. It will be the same as with the cameras: manufacturers stopped the race of megapixels and focused on things like autofocus or the quality of shooting in the dark. In smartphones, ultimately, everything will be solved by the interface, and under the interface I understand not so much the shell (it is easy to replace it with another), but deeper things specific to a particular manufacturer.

About the number of announcements
It seems to me that manufacturers are gradually moving away fromorder to announce dozens of phones every year. Personally, I like the scheme, when we announce two updates of lines for different market segments a year.

About shells
It is always very funny when someone says: "I hate such and such a shell because it is slow and uncomfortable." This is Android, it allows you to put the shell that you like! No one forces to use the fact that the manufacturer is pre-installed on the smartphone. More on the forums often write that because of the shells, manufacturers produce new firmware for smartphones once a year. In fact, porting the shell from one version of Android to another is only a very small part of the work on preparing the update. That is, people have no idea about the current state of affairs and invent their own theories.

About updates
The vast majority of update usersfirmware is simply not needed. Buyers are interested in what a smartphone can do now, and not what it can do in the future. The minority is interested in updating, but this minority shouts the loudest. Therefore, manufacturers update the firmware in order not to create a bad name for themselves.

About Windows Phone
We do not see much demand for Windows-smartphones. As you remember, LG was the first company to introduce Windows Phone in Europe, but today we are not needed there, since Nokia has completely taken up this niche. And if you look at Nokia, they have big problems: they cannot compete with Apple and Samsung in the upper segment of the market, not because they have bad phones, but because users who are ready to buy high-end, Windows smartphones Phone is not interesting. Although I personally hope that Nokia will succeed: another strong player will not interfere with the market.

About batteries
We conducted a study and found that forUsers of battery capacity is more important than the thickness of the phone. No one sees the difference between the phone thickness of 8 and 9 mm, but this difference allows you to use a more capacious battery and increase the battery life of the smartphone in half.

About cameras
Now all companies strive to make 8-, 12-,13 megapixel camera in the phone. I think it will end someday. Who needs 13 megapixels, if the camera can not take pictures of normal quality indoors? I hope that soon we will see larger matrixes in the cell phones.

About screens
The quality of the screen is very important. A good screen attracts those who make impulse purchases, and highlights the phone in the storefront. That is why we now use IPS-panels, even in entry-level phones, like the Optimus L3 II.

About design
Many believe that Optimus G Pro is similar toSamsung Galaxy Note. Therefore, I could not help asking our designers about this as soon as I had the opportunity. They explained to me that today there are few opportunities to create a unique design. All smartphones are essentially the same: everyone has a large screen, control buttons on the side and under the screen, the camera behind. In this situation, it is difficult to come up with something original.

About choosing
Unlike, say, HTC, we do not focus ourefforts only in the upper segment of the market. Of course, the high-end segment is very important, there is a good margin, but sales volumes are relatively small. We are committed to giving users a choice in all segments. If you look at, say, our F-series and L-series smartphones, you will notice that they offer very balanced characteristics in the middle and lower segments, respectively.

P. S. Ken Hon uses two phones: Optimus G (Korean version with LTE and DMB support) with native firmware and Optimus 2X (European version) with CyanogenMod firmware.