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LG B Could Make the iPhone Look Fat and Dull

LG B Could Make the iPhone Look Fat and Dull

Leaked photos of an LG Android smartphone supposedly called the "B" reveal what could be the slimmest smartphone yet -- even skinnier than the iPhone 4. The screen also appears to be extremely bright. "Everybody's searching for ways, however big or small, to one-up the iPhone, which is supposed to be the slimmest device," Laura DiDio, principal at ITIC, told LinuxInsider.

By Richard Adhikari
12/17/10 12:20 PM PT

Hot on the heels of its announcement of the Optimus 2X smartphone this week, LG is reported to be working on yet another Android mobile phone.

LG B
An purported photo of an LG B between what appears to be an iPhone 4 (left) and a Samsung Galaxy S (photo courtesy of Phandroid).

The new, ulta-thin phone will be known as the "B," according to Phandroid.

LG itself has been somewhat coy regarding the smartphone. After Phandroid's story broke, LG posted a message on Twitter via an account dubbed "LGmobileCES11" inviting attendees of the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show to see the LG B at the conference in person. Later, that tweet was apparently removed and replaced with a message and a link directing the account's followers to check out an article about the LG B on UnwiredView.com -- which sources its information from the original Phandroid news item.

LG did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

Alphabet Soup

The B, according to Phandroid's report, appears slimmer than the iPhone 4. A photograph posted in the story also shows a device presumed to be the B providing much greater luminosity than either the iPhone 4 or the Galaxy S smartphone from LG's Korean archrival, Samsung.

However, some of the specs put up on Phandroid's page are confusing, as they refer to three devices, the B, the S and the R. The B and R have IPS LCD screens, while the S has an AMOLED screen.

The B has the brightest screen, followed by the R, while the S is less than half as bright as the B, according to the specs.

Thin Is In

Whether or not there is such a smartphone as the B is open to question. However, if it does exist, its slimness could be its most attractive feature.

"The device looks interesting, but I haven't heard of it," Chris Hazelton, a research director at the 451 Group, told LinuxInsider. "If it does exist, LG's focused on the thinness of the device, which is interesting."

If the B does exist, its slimness may be one way LG's targeting the iPhone.

"Everybody's searching for ways, however big or small, to one-up the iPhone, which is supposed to be the slimmest device," Laura DiDio, principal at ITIC, told LinuxInsider. However, she hasn't really heard anything about the B.

However, the brightness of the device's screen may be "the big differentiator in terms of the features that we've seen so far," DiDio said.

"Assuming we can believe what we're reading and hearing, the brightness could be a real differentiator because there's a lot of people who might be looking at these things in dim light or in the dark," DiDio explained.

Changing the Market

LG B
Profile comparison of an iPhone 4 (left) and an LG B (photo courtesy of Phandroid).

If claims about its slimness and the brightness of its screen are true, the B could shape the smartphone industry.

"I'd expect that the iPhone, the BlackBerry and the Droid would have to follow suit, if the reports about the slimness and screen brightness are correct," DiDio said.

The B might be what LG needs to fight off Samsung, which has a big lead over it in the smartphone market.

"If the reports abut the B we're seeing are true and this thing is out there, it fits what LG needs to do," Will Stofega, a program director at IDC, told LinuxInsider.

LG is lagging behind Samsung, and it reorganized its mobile division a few weeks ago, Stofega pointed out.

"If the B is there, it would fit in with LG's strategy of trying to ramp up its smartphone business," Stofega added.

Gartner's report on Q3 2010 worldwide mobile deice sales figures shows LG in third place behind Samsung and market leader Nokia.

LG's market share dropped from 10.3 percent in Q3 2009 to 6.6 percent, while Samsung's share fell from 19.6 percent to 17.2 percent.

LG is strong in stylish, mid-tier devices, but mature markets are moving toward smartphones, which is impacting its market share, Gartner said. LG lacks a flagship smartphone.

However, making smartphones slimmer than they already are is a technical challenge, Stofega pointed out. "There are physical limitations, and we'll have to see and hear a little more about the B than what's been reported so far," he stated.


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