Every handset maker in the industry is starting to develop a reputation among the Android community. We pretty much know what to expect from HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. However when it comes to LG, many of us are still trying to figure out their smartphone strategy.
To understand LG properly, we need to cover some basic background about the company. LG Group is the second largest Korean conglomerate company behind Samsung. LG Electronics is the world’s 3rd largest maker of mobile phones and the 2nd largest producer of LCD televisions.
We saw how fast Samsung entered the high-end smartphone market this year and quickly became the top seller of Android phones and we should expect that same push from LG in 2011. Samsung and LG are fierce competitors in Korea, so LG will be giving even more effort to catch up to their rival.
A recent report from Bloomberg says LG Group will boost spending by 12 percent to a record next year to further growth. LG said in an e-mail that the group companies will invest 16.3 trillion won ($14 billion) in capital expenditure and 4.7 trillion won ($4 billino) in research and development in 2011.
LG is coming on strong in 2011 with new Android devices and they have Samsung as their top competition.
The last couple of months have shown us that LG is delivering a lot of “firsts” to the Android community. They were the first to produce a value-priced Android 2.2 smartphone that we can actually recommend to our friends and family, the Optimus One. They were the first to announce a dual-core smartphone with the Tegra 2 processor, the Optimus 2x. It also appears they will be the first to announce a high-resolution IPS LCD display that offers double the brightness of Samsung’s Super AMOLED display, when we see the LG “B” at CES.
Qi – Setting the international standard for interoperable wireless charging
Another new innovation we might see from LG is the world’s first Qi-enabled Android smartphone.
The Qi standard (pronounced “chee”, meaning “vital energy” in Asian philosophy – an intangible flow of power) was designed by the Wireless Power Consortium, which is comprised 69 companies who have committed to using this new international standard for interoperable wireless charging.
Members of the consortium include many of our favorite handset makers like HTC, LG, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson, so it looks like Qi will in fact become the wireles charging standard for Android phones.
The first part of the Qi standard definition was released this summer and there are already several products available that sport the Qi logo. Energizer sells a charging pad and several sleeves that act as receivers. Battery manufacturer Duracell has also adopted the Qi standard, so look for their products to appear at your local Best Buy next year.
Next month we expect to see the first Qi-enabled products at the Wireless Power Consortium media event at CES. We don’t know what devices and chargers will be shown, but LG Electronics is a special guest and a representative from Energizer previously told me that the first Qi-compatible phones would arrive in 2011.
It sounds like it might take a year or two for all the big players to adopt the Qi standard, but when they do we should see some pretty innovative charging solutions. In a recent interview on CNBC, the chairman of the Wireless Power Consortium, Menno Treffers, described some of the possibilities for wireless chargers including Qi-enabled desks, tables, or any other surface where you place a mobile device.
It might be several more years before we finally see a true revolution in battery technology, but universal wireless chargers and more power-efficient multi-core processors should help extend battery life in the short term. I am more than ready to cut the cords, so hopefully the first Qi-enabled phone arrives soon.
What do you think about Qi? Is this a feature you would hope to see in your next smartphone or tablet purchase?
Some of the benefits of Qi include:
- WIRELESS IS BEAUTIFUL - We love the freedom to stay and go wherever we like. Linked but not tied. Connected without wires.
- CONNECTORS AND CABLES ARE UGLY - Let’s get rid of the last wire. Why do we still need to plug the power cable in our phones and headsets?
- CONNECTORS AND CABLES ARE UNNECESSARY - Electric power can be transported without wires or connectors. Power transfer over short distances is surprisingly simple.
- WIRELESS BATTERY CHARGING IS POPULAR -Short distance power transmission is used in many products. Toothbrushes, LED candles, remote controls, medical equipment and phones. It is reliable and convenient.
- INCOMPATIBILITY IS BAD -We all love wireless products but hesitate to stuff our desks and homes with incompatible charging stations. We demand that our charging station will work with products from many companies, and will work with next year’s models as well.
- INTEROPERABILITY IS GOOD - The Wireless Power Consortium sets the international standard for interoperable wireless charging. Interoperable products can be recognized by the logo “Qi”. Phones, cameras, remote controls, and all mobile electronics carrying the logo will work with all charging stations that carry the logo. Simple and obvious.