By Patrick Avenell
LG Australia’s biggest move in mobile phones since importing Mr Big in 2008 began yesterday when its new flagship handset, the Optimus G, went on sale exclusively through Telstra. Dubbed a “superphone” by the Korean mega-vendor, this is the first of many new 4G smartphones planned for 2013.
Originally unveiled six months ago, the Optimus G marks a return to the prepaid, high-end sector that LG participated in the pre-smartphone era. Since the iPhone and Android boon accelerated in the late 2000s, LG moved to the entry level with pre-paid options and, in its own words, “dropped the ball” on the high-value, feature packed devices that consumers gravitated to in swarms.
Lambro Skropidis, general marketing manager at LG Australia, was forthright in ambition at the press conference launching the Optimus G — LG wants to be a premium player and it is confident in its ability to deliver.
Self confidence, Skropidis said, was the first necessary attribute to deliver success. A good device helps. The Optimus G runs Android 4.1.2 has a 4.7-inch WXGA touchscreen (1,280 x 768), 13-megapixel camera, 1.5GHz Quad Core processor (Snapdragon) and 32GB of storage.
All of the new smartphone features, previously lacking in LG releases, are now on board: Near Field Communication, 4G connectivity (1800/2600 MHz), Wi-Fi Direct and a Lithium-Polymer battery with 15 hours talk time per charge (LG quote).
A good salesman knows features are good but benefits move stock. The real benefit of the Optimus G is its multitasking. Users can play videos in half screen while writing emails, using an app or changing the settings on the handset. Play a video fullscreen and you can dim playback so you can access the homescreen and other apps without interruption.
Skropidis said that when features such as this were demonstrated to consumers, over 80 per cent said they would consider purchasing the handset. Before the showcase 70 per cent had said they would never buy an LG smartphone. Consumers can be fickle where smartphone multitasking is concerned.
Having arrived late to a market dominated by Apple, Samsung and HTC, LG needs to act fast to win mindshare in this space. To that end, Skropidis has put together an unparalleled marketing campaign for the Optimus G, heavily focused on LG’s global partnership with Formula 1 racing.
Starting at this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, LG will start broadcasting a television commercial promoting its Superphone-iness, followed up with training, in-store point of sale, public relations, print advertising, online activity, social media, direct mail, experiential, consumer promotions and trade incentives.
The Optimus G will compete directly with the Sony Xperia Z at launch and, when it launches, the Samsung Galaxy S IV. Although the Galaxy S IV is being unveiled this week, sources say it could be months before being released in Australia. The earliest previous Galaxy launch was for the S III, on 31 May 2012. Sources at LG say that with three months ‘clean air’ the Optimus G is expected to make deep inroads into its Korean rival.
Available from JB Hi-Fi, Leading Edge, Fone Zone and Telstra stores, exclusively on the Telstra network, the Optimus G is $0 upfront on the $60 Every Day Connect plan (24 month contract; minimum spend $1,440). The first 5,000 customers will also receive a free Miracast Wireless Adaptor (RRP $99).
Also coming out from LG in 2013 is its new L Series of entry level 4G smartphones. Much is expected of these handsets, which will offer a 4G option to consumers unable to afford the complete superphone experience.
LG Optimus G.