With webOS and wearables, LG’s shifting past simply shows at CES
Samsung and Sony might seize a bigger share of the CES fanfare, however do not rely LG out. It has fairly the annual presence in Las Vegas, too. The Korean firm makes use of the tech business’s January soiree because the backdrop for a wide array of product reveals — all the things from wearables to smartphones to 4K TVs — and it has a large sales space to deal with all of it. It is virtually a provided that LG will supply up enhancements to extra of the identical at this CES. However earlier than we attempt to gauge what the corporate might have in retailer for 2015, let’s first check out how far LG’s come.A Look Again
LG’s 60-inch plasma shows at CES 2004
LG made its CES debut again in 2004 and to make the event memorable, it introduced alongside a assured showstopper: the “world’s first” seventy six-inch plasma show. Proper from the leap, LG made it clear that show know-how can be its key focus on the annual present. And it is a recreation plan we have seen the corporate play out yearly since. Unsurprisingly, that first Vegas present was additionally LG’s “most vital presence ever at a shopper electronics present,” because it helped the corporate make an enormous splash and set up itself among the many heavy-hitting competitors.
In fact, shows aren’t the one a part of LG’s enterprise or its CES story; the corporate has its palms in quite a lot of product classes, masking every little thing from fridges to TVs to washing machines. For those who look again to 2005, you will see how LG started to take a extra properly-rounded strategy to its sales space lineup. Home equipment have been included within the lot, together with a fridge that packed a constructed-in thirteen.5-inch LCD TV within the door, in addition to a smattering of smartphones. Since then, LG’s stored its CES presence various, although it nonetheless locations heavy emphasis on shows.
The GD910 Watch Telephone
Although wearables could also be a current development, with corporations like Apple, Samsung and Google every vying for a bit of the pie, LG truly started experimenting with the class way back to CES 2008. That yr, it confirmed off a prototype of the GD910 Watch Telephone, a curious proof-of-idea wearable that would not look misplaced alongside different Android Put on units from at this time. However it wasn’t till after its second displaying at CES 2009 that LG obtained the product out to market. Now, absolutely 5 years later, LG’s taking yet one more stab on the smartwatch class, albeit with its extra strong G Watch and G Watch R.
A lot has been stated concerning the demise of CES and its lessened significance within the business. And whereas a few of that speak could also be true, there are events once we get a real glimpse of the technological future; when CES exhibitors are firing on all cylinders. Which is strictly what LG pulled off three years in the past when it handled attendees to large, eighty four-inch 4K TVs. The tech, although visually spectacular, wasn’t fairly sensible — there was no companion 4K content material and the units have been prohibitively costly for the typical shopper. LG additionally threw OLED TVs some love that yr too, when it rolled out a fifty five-inch mannequin — the “world’s largest” on the time.
Regardless of their related excessive prices, these future-leaning OLED and 4K panels as soon as once more accounted for a big a part of LG’s present in 2013. And, by that time, LG had completed what it’d got down to do: It was now one in every of two massive-identify shopper electronics corporations to convey 4K to market and vie for early adopters’ cash.
However LG did not simply cease there and accept enhancing the image high quality of its TV units; it additionally went after developments in type issue and software program. Final yr, the corporate unveiled curved 4K OLED TVs, certainly one of which measured an enormous one hundred and five inches, and introduced plans on the 2014 CES to leverage webOS as a platform for its sensible TVs.The Street Forward
Let’s begin with LG’s huge draw at CES: TVs. LG’s already gotten a leap on CES rumors by saying that it will have LCD fashions that function its newfangled quantum dot tech on show. These new fifty five- and sixty five-inch units, located between its Extremely HD LCDs and OLED panels, boast a wider shade palette and improved saturation… or so LG claims. (We’ll be the decide of that when the present flooring opens.) It additionally already revealed that model 2.zero of webOS shall be there, an replace that ought to tackle most of the widespread gripes surrounding LG’s sensible TV platform.
With 4K nonetheless barely making its mark on mainstream shoppers, it appears foolish that LG would increase the bar greater and debut an 8K set at CES. However that is simply what rumors point out. Based on a number of firm insiders, LG’s show arm has purportedly been exhausting at work on a fifty five-inch 8K show that options 33.2 million pixels at a decision of seven,680 x four,320. Understand that 4K and curved shows, the 2 most up-to-date TV improvements to return from LG, are nonetheless trickling into the market. So any strikes the corporate might make into 8K at CES are more likely to be pure proof-of-idea; a pleasant spectacle for an outsized present.
There’s one more reason why LG may need to exhibit its 8K tech, and it is the identical cause LG trotted out 4K units two years in the past: mindshare. As Juniper Analysis’s James Moar explains: “The introduction of 8K TV showcases the potential for LG and establishes its credibility within the space earlier than 8K turns into a necessity.” And that credibility might translate right into a gross sales benefit amongst early adopters as soon as 8K units start to realize traction.
Although most main producers now reserve their huge smartphone bulletins for personal one-off occasions, there are rumblings LG might use CES to debut the G Flex 2. In case you’ll recall, the unique G Flex, with its curved show, was the corporate’s try at a bendable, extra sturdy smartphone. And, as early leaks point out, the forthcoming G Flex 2 might supply “enhanced flexibility” whereas retaining the self-therapeutic again cowl from final yr’s mannequin.
When you’re hoping for a flagship telephone from LG, do not get too amped up. The G3, the corporate’s present smartphone crown jewel, continues to be comparatively new — it is only a hair over six months previous. And, as Moar factors out, LG tends to favor different one-off occasions for these forms of huge smartphone bulletins.
After which there are the wearables. LG hasn’t been as aggressive as Samsung on the subject of churning out the units, however it has just lately served up the G Watch, G Watch R, Lifeband Contact and the child-oriented GizmoPal. Which leads us to the subsequent spherical of LG’s CES rumors: a 4G-enabled G Watch R2 and a webOS-based mostly platform for wearables.
So far as LG’s G Watch ambitions go, it is solely potential we’ll see some kind of SIM-enabled gadget on the present. We all know it exists. A 3G-enabled smartwatch from LG surfaced in FCC filings simply this previous September. That stated, it isn’t clear whether or not LG will unwrap its SIM-enabled G Watch at CES in Vegas or Cellular World Congress in Barcelona this coming spring.
Whereas a continued push into Google’s Android Put on is a certainty for LG, its plans to pursue an alternate wearables platform with webOS usually are not as clear. A couple of months again, pictures from a developer web page for LG’s webOS-based mostly wearables surfaced and have been then shortly pulled. But when the corporate is trying to create its personal working system for wearables, there is a good probability we might hear extra about it within the halls of the Las Vegas Conference Middle.
Whereas different corporations maintain their product reveals for the week of the present, LG does issues in another way. Annually, prematurely of CES, LG makes a slew of early bulletins detailing parts of its deliberate lineup. Whereas that technique definitely takes a few of the thriller out of the corporate’s annual displaying, it additionally helps to construct buzz and direct shopper (and press) consideration to the merchandise it needs spotlighted. Working example: the G Flex. That bendable smartphone broke cowl forward of final January’s gathering within the desert, however nonetheless managed to garner a share of the CES consideration. You’ll be able to anticipate LG to do a lot the identical within the days main as much as CES 2015.
[Photograph credit: AFP/Getty Pictures (lead), Bryan Haraway/Bloomberg by way of Getty Photographs (CES 2004), Cellulari World/Flickr (Watch Telephone)]