LG’s plans for 2013: no Nexus 5 or flexible displays, a new Android tablet, own CPU production
Thanks to a few different sources, today we got a nice picture of LG’s plans for the near future. And, disappointingly or not, the Korean company is not going to be making the next Nexus smartphone (if there’s even going to be one). There have been some reports earlier this month claiming that Google stuck with LG for development of the Nexus 5 (or whatever it will be called), but those were wrong, according to Kim Wong, LG’s Vice President for the EU.
He spoke to a Dutch site and spilled the beans on some of the things LG’s planning on doing (and, interestingly, not doing as well) over the course of this year. Despite not working on the Nexus 5, LG wouldn’t turn down Google if the Mountain View giant asked it to develop some future Nexus device. However, LG doesn’t think it’s going to benefit tremendously from offering Nexus hardware in the future. The company thinks it’s strong enough now that it doesn’t need a Nexus to put it in the spotlight, which implies that the situation was different last year and the Nexus 4 helped LG to start making a name for itself in the mobile world once more. We really can’t disagree. Joining the Nexus programme made LG seem like a ‘serious’ Android manufacturer, just like HTC and Samsung (the past Nexus makers), and the Optimus G, Optimus G Pro, and lower-end Optimus L series all assisted LG in growing its smartphone sales lately.
Oh, and don’t expect a ‘Nexus edition’ LG Optimus G Pro or G2, a la the Samsung Galaxy S4 – at all. LG loves its Android skin and thinks its customers do too.
LG also won’t be releasing any devices with bendable (flexible) displays this year, unfortunately for those who consider this to be the best thing since 3D screens on phones. According to Mr. Kim Wong, the technology simply isn’t mature enough yet. So supposedly we might see something like that next year, but not any sooner.
That said, do expect something new from LG in 2013: a tablet. Yes, apparently those rumors were true. After basically abandoning the tablet business because of its unsuccessful Optimus Pad venture, the Korean company is ready to get back in the game. It will release an Android tablet by the end of the year. As for a possible Windows 8 tablet, that’s not been discussed.
LG is not satisfied with the whole Apple-Google duopoly on the mobile software front, so it is going to hedge its bets in the future. Windows Phone isn’t a priority anymore, as Kim Wong admitted. We won’t see any webOS-powered phones and tablets, he assures us, nor will LG develop a new in-house operating system. But it will have devices running something other than Android. With all that said, the only plausible contender here is Firefox OS, as it has been said in the past that LG was going to join Mozilla’s party. Kim Wong did not explicitly say the words “Firefox OS”, but all the hints lead us there. It’s unclear when LG’s first Firefox OS-based offerings will see the light of day.
LG’s next flagship smartphone, which may or may not end up being called Optimus G2, will see a near-simultaneous worldwide release. This will come in contrast to what happened with the Optimus G last year, which took many months to become readily available everywhere. Distribution is a key part of success in the mobile space, and it definitely looks like LG has learned that lesson.
Speaking about the Optimus G2, another report out today says it will be the first handset to use a processor developed by LG. This would come as a natural progression of LG’s efforts to itself make as many of the components for its devices as possible, through its various subsidiaries (‘emulating’, if you will, the Samsung model). LG’s already making the batteries, displays, and a few other components found in its latest handsets, so developing the chipset too makes sense. Kim Wong confirmed that the ability to produce its own mobile chipset is extremely important for LG, and it is something that the company is working on. Without more official details, it remains to be seen whether the G2 will indeed be used to showcase LG’s first mobile CPU.