AT&T is the king of exclusive phone launches, and this week they announced the LG Optimus G Pro would be available exclusively from their stores, for $199.99 with a two-year contract beginning May 10. We know why carriers love exclusive devices — they generate foot traffic in their retail stores, but why do hardware OEMs keep agreeing to limit their flagship devices to a single US carrier?
We assume that AT&T made some kind of deal with LG to spend a couple million on advertising the new Optimus G Pro. This might benefit LG by raising consumer awareness of the device, but the majority of US customers will still be unable to use the device since they are not on AT&T.
History has shown that carrier exclusive devices rarely sell well. The only major exceptions were the Apple iPhone and Verizon’s Droid series. The LG Optimus G Pro is an awesome device, but it doesn’t have the brand recognition of the iPhone and people will not be switching to AT&T just to buy one.
Samsung has proven that US consumers will buy smartphones with huge displays larger than 5-inches, so the LG Optimus G Pro could possibly sell pretty well if it was available across the four largest US carriers. The Galaxy Note II is still a great device, but the newer Optimus G Pro has a better camera, faster processor, and higher resolution display.
LG has a great product on their hands, but they appear to be shooting themselves in the foot by limiting the Optimus G Pro to a single US carrier.