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Departing chief executive Nam Yong  (Source: LG)

Incoming chief executive Koo Bon-Joon  (Source: Forbes)
Company is failing to keep up with Samsung, Motorola, Apple, and even HTC

When you think of the words "compelling Android smartphone" and "LG" in the same sentence its hard to bring an image to mind.  While the South Korean electronics maker does have a couple of Android phones (namely, the Ally and Optimus One) it has failed to keep up with Motorola, Apple, Samsung, and even much smaller Taiwanese manufacturer HTC.

That failure has cost Nam Yong the chief executive position at LG Electronics.  Mr. Nam has been ousted in favor of Koo Bon-joon, the head of trading firm LG International, another unit in the LG Group conglomerate.  The move echoes number one handset maker Nokia's decision to oust former CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo last week.  Seeking to overcome sliding performance in the mobile arena, Nokia tapped Stephen Elop, a Canadian Microsoft executive, as Mr. Kallasvuo's replacement.

Lee Yong-jik, a fund manager at AIG Investments in Seoul, was optimistic about the change in leadership and the benefits it may bring LG's smart phone campaign.  States Mr. Yong-jik, "Koo is expected to reshuffle the organization and actively cope with the fast-changing IT industry... LG is expected to narrow the gap with Apple and other leading smartphone markers."

Even if the LG Group's LG Electronics unit is struggling, its still accounts for a significant portion of the group's revenue.  In the second quarter the unit accounted for one third of the groups total sales and one fourth of the total revenue.  That wasn't enough, though, to stop the group from posting a 120 billion won (appr. $103M USD ) loss for the quarter.

Mr. Koo, 58, attended South Korea's top college, Seoul National University, and the University of Chicago's business school.  He worked at AT&T for some time, then moved to LG.  His older brother Koo Bon-moo is LG Group Chairman's Chairman and CEO.

Mr. Koo, who owns the Korean professional baseball team the LG Twins, is reportedly extremely focused on winning.  When he took over LG Phillips LCD (later renamed LCD Display), he would reportedly greet employees by saying, "Let's become No.1."

In 1999, after LG took the display lead, he changes his catch phrase to, "Let's keep our No.1 title."

The new executive is reportedly preparing to clean house, relieving much of LG Electronics top ranks.  KB Investment & Securities analyst Harrison Cho comments, "Koo is expected to replace (mobile chief) Skott Ahn and other top executives.  Under the ownership management, LG will speed up the decision making process and quickly respond to the change of the market environment."

The company is preparing the successor to the low-end original Optimus (Optimus One), a high-end model complete with a 1 GHz processor, dubbed the Optimus Q.  It is also prepping Windows Phone 7 model(s) for launch.  LG Electronics thinks that the new Optimus Q phone, launching on as many as 120 carriers worldwide, is capable of selling 10 million units.  

That's an ambitious goal, considering that no single LG model has yet sold more that 1 million units.

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When I got the...
By Motoman on 9/17/2010 2:58:10 PM , Rating: 4
...first eNv phone right after launch, I was overjoyed. It had a magnificent QWERTY keyboard, and did everything with aplomb. My wife also got one shortly thereafter...we used and loved those phones and they were stone-reliable.

Since then, I had a Blackberry foisted upon me by an employer, so I gave my eNv to my brother to use. My wife decided to upgrade to an LG Voyager after a while, and gave her eNv to a friend.

Since then, my wife went through 4 replacement Voyagers, at which point Verizon let her trade up to the eNv Touch...and she's on her 4th or 5th one of those now. LG's product quality is HORRIFIC.

Verizon won't let my wife out of the LG product though...regardless of how bad the experience has been...they just keep giving new (well, refurbished) LG phones to her - essentially all of which are messed up somehow from the get-go.

The moral being that there was a time when either one of use would have gladly recommended an LG phone to anyone. That time has long since passed, though...and I would no longer recommend LG to anybody.

Forget about what models and specs and whatnot they have on the market...their products are piss-poor and frankly are the kind of thing I'd expect from Apple.

RE: When I got the...
By Camikazi on 9/17/2010 4:15:36 PM , Rating: 2
enV, sorry had to correct that :P

RE: When I got the...
By FITCamaro on 9/17/2010 5:03:32 PM , Rating: 2
I had a first gen enV. I loved it. Yes the keyboard was great. My mom now has an enV Touch and likes it. She tried a Droid and it was just too much for her. She didn't need all the features.

I remember the LG 8100 on Sprint. Wasn't the prettiest or flashiest, but got great reception, battery life, and was built like a brick. My college girlfriend had one and she dropped it a number of times without issue.

Can't speak to their products now really but yes they really did have great products a few years ago. I wish my Droid had the keyboard from my enV. I hear the Droid 2s keyboard is a lot better through.

RE: When I got the...
By FITCamaro on 9/17/10, Rating: 0
RE: When I got the...
By Yongsta on 9/17/10, Rating: -1
RE: When I got the...
By Devil07 on 9/17/2010 7:01:08 PM , Rating: 1
umm....LG is a Korean conglomerate.

RE: When I got the...
By XSpeedracerX on 9/17/2010 8:00:36 PM , Rating: 1
The real fail here is your nonexistent sense of humor. Take a frickin' joke already.

RE: When I got the...
By vtohthree on 9/18/10, Rating: 0
RE: When I got the...
By Camikazi on 9/18/2010 2:14:17 PM , Rating: 3
I found it funny, but then again I don't care about using people's ethnicities to make a joke (including my own) if it makes me laugh and this one made me chuckle.

RE: When I got the...
By Yongsta on 9/19/2010 11:33:05 PM , Rating: 1
If it's funny sure, but you can stay ignorant if you prefer.

RE: When I got the...
By AnnihilatorX on 9/18/2010 9:09:45 AM , Rating: 2
Actually you can make a useable Cantonese name using Wong, Sum Ting. I have never heard of this joke but I don't find it funny either. Two Wongs don't make a white and a white baby is just forced. This joke is not funny.

My professor once said Two Wongs don't make a Wright after looking at the exam results in alphabetical order, and found that the Wright had 1st class honors while the other Wongs barely scraped third.

RE: When I got the...
By thrust2night on 9/18/2010 12:49:40 PM , Rating: 1
No, i think it's Wong Suck Ing. Hahaha

RE: When I got the...
By Alexvrb on 9/17/2010 10:54:51 PM , Rating: 2
Dude, after that many phones I'd have to say it's probably not the phones. :-/

I had the original Voyager (VX10000) for about 18 months. Other than a couple of software updates, I did NOTHING to it. No battery replacement, no broken hinges. It worked perfectly when I decided to upgrade - it was awesome for texting and phone calls, but email and web browsing were weak. I still have it in a box in case I break my current phone and need something temporarily. I powered it up last week and everything is still fine, it's well over 2 years old now.

RE: When I got the...
By Motoman on 9/18/2010 9:22:07 PM , Rating: 2
Well, considering that the enV (apparently I was capping that wrong), worked fine for my wife for a couple years to start with...and both of our enVs are still in use today by the brother & friend, I'd say it probably is the phones.

Naturally, before the enVs we had other phones. Only sporadic issues before them.

So an environment where other phones have lived an prospered for many years, the problem definitely is the later LG models.

RE: When I got the...
By Gul Westfale on 9/18/2010 7:48:01 AM , Rating: 2
i've never had an LG smartphone, but i did have an LG neon with a slider keyboard for a while. i traded it in for an iphone 3GS, and when i came to the store to tell the guy that i wanted to trade up because the LG would keep switching itself off randomly he actually laughed and said 'oh, you got one of those, yeah they all come back.'

RE: When I got the...
By MrBlastman on 9/20/2010 12:28:30 PM , Rating: 2
LG = Goldstar

Some things... never change.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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