Meet the LG Optimus LTE II: LG’s latest flagship smartphone. With its 4G LTE speeds, it’s a South Korea-only model for now, but the company says it’ll be heading overseas soon, according to the Associated Press. It’s also a spec-beast, and the first smartphone to cram in a massive 2GB of memory, making it a potential multi-tasking powerhouse. But is it missing the point entirely?
Don’t get me wrong: while the LG Optimus LTE II’s 4.7-inch screen and Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor make it a phenom phone on paper, the message it’s sending out is entirely the wrong one. The smartphone war simply isn’t about specs anymore.
LG’s never struggled to make decent smartphone hardware. Last year’s LG Optimus 3D was a benchmark beast, and LG was the first with 720p HD display on a phone. But something’s amiss: right now, LG isn’t making a penny of profit on its mobile operation, while arch-rival Samsung is raking it in.
What’s wrong? For one, LG is simply behind schedule compared to the likes of Samsung and HTC, delivering phones six months later a version behind – we’ve covered the problem of Android fragmentation many times before.
And it doesn’t update its phones when it does: while the LG Optimus 3D has been promised an Android 4.0 update later this year, it hasn’t even received a 2.3 upgrade in the UK. Compared to the multiple updates the Samsung Galaxy S series models have received, it makes LG look lazy.
And then there’s the human touch. It’s been said a thousand times, but the iPhone changed the game: it made smartphones smart by making them easy. While Asian phone manufacturers have had a terrible reputation for user interface experience, Samsung and HTC have made huge strides forward in recent years: just look at Samsung’s voice commands on the Galaxy S3, or HTC’s class-leading camera app in the HTC One X. LG though? Not so much. It’s still using a homescreen layout its feature phones were packing before the iPhone came along. Remember S-Class? It’s still alive and kicking.
Now, its clever cloud syncing service for mobiles and your smart TV shows that there’s a glimmer of hope for the company. And the LG Optimus LTE II is at least running Android 4.0, the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system.
But by banging on about RAM in the hope that it’ll win customers – and profits – back, it’s missing the point. What’s the difference between 2GB of RAM and 2GB of storage space? One’s a lot, the other’s a little, and your regular punter will get them muddled up and choose an iPhone instead. Right now, the message it’s spoon-feeding to newswire agencies such as AP is completely the wrong one.