LG quadruples smartphone R&D staff to 5600 people in 2011
LG has been really struggling in smartphone market lately.
Having risen to fame with Chocolate/Shine feature phone line, they made a series of strategic blunders just as the market started to shift to post iPhone mobile computing devices.
Back in 2007 LG had a contract with Google to make the very first Android phone, but they walked out on the deal deciding to focus on their own Prada and Arena touch phones.
Then, in early 2009, LG bet their smart fortunes on Windows Mobile, signing strategic cooperation agreement with Microsoft. The plan was to make 50 LG WinMo devices in 3 years. Unfortunately, by the time that deal was announced, Microsoft has already decided to kill its old mobile OS in favor of the new Windows Phone. Leaving LG with a dead-end OS, and no alternatives.
In late 2009 LG turned back to Android, but the best they were able to come up – was low spec mid-range Optimus GT540 and its derivatives. Allowing HTC and Samsung to take over Android market with top of the line Desire and Galaxy S smartphones.
Well, that was then. As mobile division profits turned into huge losses in 2010-2011, LG has finally woke up to the new mobile market realities. And in a big way.
According to Nomura Securities, LG only had 20% of their 6800 big R&D staff working on smartphones at the beginning of last year. That’s about 1360 people. By the start of 2012 they increased R&D personnel to 8000, with 60-70% of them focusing on smartphone development. Which means that LG now has somewhere between 4800 and 5600 people busy with new handsets. Or about 4 times as much as they had a year ago.
Will this help LG improve its position among top smartphone makers? We’ll see.
Their new LG Optimus L line, and other smartphones announced at MWC are not really exciting. But they look much more interesting than last year’s Optimus 2X. Who’s claim to fame was the dubious crown of the only dual core Android smartphone, held for a few months. Or LG Optimus 3D , with 3 dimensional display nobody cared about.
The new smartphones is an ok re-start for LG. If the rumors about 139 EUR price for LG Optimus L3 are true, if they manage to keep their other smartphones competitively priced, and keep going at it, they do have a chance.