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Overall phonemaker's profit has plunged, though, amid weakening TV market

LG Electronics, Inc. (KSC:066570) said during its Q1 2013 earnings release that it is preparing a flexible-screen smartphone for launch in Q4 of this year.  The OLED smartphone could be the first flexible smartphone to hit the market, after years of product demoes.

Analysts are concerned that low yields could make for a rocky release for the South Korean Android smartphone maker.

LG is also planning to in May launch in the U.S. a "safer" entry -- an upgrade to the Optimus G Android smartphone, dubbed the Optimus G Pro.  The phone packs a 1080p 5.5-inch screen, a quad-core Snapdragon 600 SoC from Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM), and Android Jellybean.  That places it in competition with domestic arch-rival Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KSC:005930) Galaxy S IV, which launches May 1 on U.S. carriers, and the HTC One from Taiwan's HTC Corp. (TPE:2498).

The Optimus G Pro is already on sale in Japan and South Korea.

OLED flexible
LG is racing to deploy a smartphone with a flexible OLED display. [Image Source: Shiny Plastic]

Overall LG's smartphone unit is performing well, improving its operating margin from 1.4 percent to 4.1 percent.  The unit moved 10.3m smartphones globally in Q1 and hopes to sell at least 45m smartphones this year.

But the company has been hard-hit by declines in its TV business unit.  While its overall revenue rose from 13.2T Won ($11.9B USD) last year to 14.1T Won ($12.7B USD) this year, its profit plunged from 247.5B Won ($223M USD) to 22B Won ($19.8M USD).  This contrasts with Samsung, which posted a record profit.  Samsung and LG are currently embroiled in a contentious court dispute over false advertising.

In related news LG purchased webOS from Hewlett-Packard Corp. (HPQ) in late February.  Thus far it's a bit unclear how that purchase will fit in with LG's smart-TV and smartphone offerings.

Source: WSJ





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