Samsung is under-pressure as a long-period of growth continues to flatten out, but things couldn’t be going much better for fellow Korean phone-maker LG, which just announced that it shipped a best-ever 16.8 million smartphones in Q3 2014.
LG is adding a new smart speaker powered by Google Assistant to its 2018 lineup, the company announced this morning. The LG ThinQ, as it’s being called, looks to be a more high-end competitor to something like Google’s recently launched Google Home Max. LG’s new speaker is promising offering a “premium” audio experience thanks to Meridian Audio technology and support for lossless high resolution audio. The speaker can also control smart home devices via Google Assistant and a voice app from LG that controls the company’s ThinQ smart home appliances.
Robots are hard. Softbank has pumped a bunch of money into them, and the best it’s come up with so far is Pepper, a friendly humanoid that stands outside of stores and restaurants, tablet in-hand. LG announced this time last year that it was planning to move before vacuuming cleaners, into a wider world of robotics, and thus far, its own products have followed a similar route.
LG spent much of their lackluster CES keynote highlighting the potential of its new AI platform, ThinQ, to revolutionize the lives of consumers and their company’s bottom line. A big part of this vision was voice control interfaces.
Generally speaking, at CES and elsewhere, when a company says something is powered by AI, they’re blowing smoke. And while smoke was definitely blown at LG’s otherwise unremarkable press conference this morning, the company also announced it was applying AI in a way that’s both unexpected and smart: intelligently enhancing TV images using computer vision.
LG’s smartphone business still continues to lose money at an alarming rate.
Update: A source very close to Apple says that the company has not invested in OLED display maker eMagin — and, according to a statement eMagin has now also published, nor have Valve and LG:
LG today announced an updated version of the V30 smartphone and it comes with a supercharged camera powered by a third-party AI system. LG turned to EyeEm to add new features to the camera. Now, thanks to the EyeEm platform, the LG V30S ThinQ and soon the original V30 can automatically detect the subject of the picture — being a hamburger or dachshund — the camera will adjust the settings to produce the best results.
Welcome to LG’s new smartphone strategy. A new flagship every year, followed by an incremental upgrade six months later. It’s a strange approach that’s sure to annoy early adopters, but LG’s certainly not the first to adopt the strategy — it’s in-line with the sort of thing OnePlus, among others, have been doing for a while now.
LG’s mobile business may be a serial loss-maker, but the rest of the Korean firm’s interests are doing pretty well… better than ever actually according to its newest earnings forecast.