Growth in smartphones offset by decline in home entertainment business
LG G4 flagship focuses on camera capabilities
SOUTH Korea’s LG Electronics recorded mixed results in the first quarter of 2015, as strong smartphone sales were offset by a slowdown in its home entertainment business.
Net profit came in at KRW38.4 billion (US$34.91 million), a drop of 58% from last year but significantly better than last quarter. Revenue was flat year-on-year at KRW13.99 trillion (US$12.72 billion).
Its smartphone arm LG Mobile Communications recorded a 26% increase in smartphone shipments of 15.4 million units compared with a year ago, generating KRW3.6 trillion (US$3.27 billion), a 5% increase.
Top performing regions include North America, where it saw a 66% jump in sales year over year, and South Korea, which recorded a 57% growth from the previous quarter.
Meanwhile, LG’s home entertainment unit saw its first operating loss in over four years as sales of televisions suffered from weak demand and an unfavourable currency exchange. Revenue fell 5% from a year to KRW 4.44 trillion (US$4.03 billion) but the company expects increasing demand in Asia and North America for ultra-high definition TVs in the second quarter.
LG’s white goods subsidiary posted a 9% increase from a year ago in operating profits to KRW 229.3 billion (US$208.45 million) despite a decline of 2% in revenue, partly due to cost-cutting measures and a focus on higher margin products.
The company guided towards higher sales of air-conditioners and refrigerators in the upcoming quarter.
The relatively new LG Vehicle Components unit, created in mid-2013, announced its business performance for the first time, recording revenue of KRW382.6 billion (US$347.82 million), mainly from car infotainment, telematics, and navigation systems.
It suffered a modest operating loss of KRW2.4 billion (US$2.18 million) due to R&D (research and development) costs.
The results were announced during the same week as the launch of the company’s new flagship smartphone, LG G4 (pic above).
Information about the Android 5.1-based device was leaked weeks before the official launch, but the company still managed a few surprises, including the fact that it will be powered by the Snapdragon 808, a new 64-bit six-core chipset from Qualcomm.
That will be backed by 3GB of memory and 32GB of storage, with an option for expandable microSD cards.
The design is similar to the previous G3, but is now slightly curved (called ‘Slim Arc’). LG claims this new shape, along with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 4, will increase the durability of the device when dropped face down.
LG has also upped the quality of the display compared to the LG G3, with a 5.5-inch ‘Quantum IPS’ panel that clocks in at 1440P (1440 x 2560) resolution, promising better colour accuracy, brightness and contrast with this new display.
The focus for the G4 however, is clearly on the camera capabilities. The 16-megapixel rear camera comes with a bright f1.8 lens to capture more light, and it’s also endowed with a larger image sensor, improved optical image stabilisation, and a new colour spectrum sensor that assists the camera in difficult lighting conditions.
The laser light-based auto-focus system first used on the G3 is also present.
Photographers will be happy to know that the device can also capture pictures in RAW format, or digital negatives, giving them a lot more leeway to manipulate the images after they’ve been taken.
The front camera has been bumped up to 8 megapixels, which is more than enough to create huge poster-sized prints of your selfies – not that you’d want to.
The G4 will come with a choice of materials for the back cover, including leather, metallic and ceramic finishes. The removable cover means that you can swap out the 3000mAh battery should you run out of juice.
In Singapore, the LG G4 will be available at the end of May, priced at S$928 for the metallic back cover and S$998 for the leather cover.
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