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Nexus TV, Glasses, and Nexus 5 may be on the menu for LG and Google

The Korea Times is reporting that Google Inc.'s (GOOG) new CEO Larry Page flew to South Korea last week to meet with top executives at the world's largest and third largest phonemakers -- Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) and LG Electronics, Inc. (KSC:066570) (respectively).  Both South Korean-based firms are key proponents of the Android platform.

I. Google Meets With LG, Samsung

Mr. Page's meeting with Samsung’s vice chairman Lee Jay-yong, a son of owner Lee Kun-hee, was more casual with the pair appearing in public and Mr. Lee putting his hand on Mr. Page's shoulder in a friendly gesture.  Two other Samsung executives -- Samsung Corporate Strategy Office head Choi Gee-sung and mobile division chief Shin Jong-kyun were pictured at the outing.

The world's largest smartphone maker is a challenging puzzle for Google. Recent reports indicate that Google is nervous about Samsung's size allowing it to try to force Google to abandon its position as a non-biased third-party platform provider.  At the same time Google is well aware that Samsung is working on a new Linux-based smartphone OS -- Tizen -- with Intel Corp. (INTC).  Thus Google must tread cautiously.

Larry Page at meeting
Larry Page meets with Samsung executives. [Image Source: HK Silicon]

But ultimately the problem may be fixing itself, via Google's other host on the visit -- LG.

LG Electronics started the smartphone wars sluggishly, which led to the ouster of then-CEO Nam Yong.  The gadgetmaker refreshed its management, installing Koo Bon-Joon as its new CEO.  Under Mr. Koo's leadership the phonemaker began to recover, with the smartphone unit first returning to profitability in 2011.  LG has since quietly become a power player in the Android market.  And with LG emerging as a strong second-place Android phonemaker, Samsung's potential leverage over Google may naturally erode.

The KT report cites sources as saying, "Larry Page invited Koo for a meeting while he stayed in Seoul last week. They discussed ways to improve their business partnership. The meeting lasted for more than an hour."

II. LG and Google Rumored to be Working on Glasses, Nexus TV, and Nexus 5

Multiple sources have all but confirmed that LG is working to make the next generation Google-branded Nexus smartphone, following the success of its Nexus 4.  The high-end smartphone is rumored to be codenamed "Megalodon" and pack a 5-inch 1080p OLED screen.  It will reportedly launch at Google I/O later this month.  LG is also working on an Android smartphone with a flexible display for the holiday season.

Nexus Megalodon

Google Glass is another key joint effort between LG and Google.  LG does not make the current dev-model Glass devices, however, it is expected to release future devices of this form factor, driven by Google technology.  Both companies are working on both the hardware and software side to mature the project.  LG last week received a new patent U.S. Patent No. 8,427,396 which covers a "Head mounted display and method of outputting a content using the same in which the same identical content is displayed."
LG wearable display patent
LG's new wearable display patent [Image Source: USPTO]
LG's new technology could offer improved augmented reality displays for Google Glass, such as overlaid text message readouts or turn-by-turn directions.

While Samsung insists on developing its own proprietary software for its SmartTVs, LG completed in 2012 a deal to adopt Google TV.  It only launched two models in 2012, but this year it's looking to expand the mix of Google TV's in its lineup, which primarily features SmartTVs with a proprietary OS. LG is trying to figure out how best to balance Google TV, its recent purchase webOS, and its older proprietary OS in its line.  

Google's TV OS has struggled, but the company doggedly continues to pursue it, expecting this to emerge as a key market.  Reportedly Google may look to pair with LG to do a special "Nexus TV" OLED set, beating rival Apple, Inc. (AAPL) to the market with a flagship model.

LG is second place in the LCD TV market, currently, trailing Samsung, according to Display Search's March 2013 numbers.  But LG is expected to see gains as the first major manufacturer to release a large form factor OLED TV.  It also released an eye-catching curved 55-inch OLED design, which is currently on sale for roughly ~$13,000 USD and only available in South Korea (for now).

Source: The Korean Times

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Google and LG
By retrospooty on 5/3/2013 2:06:40 PM , Rating: 2
I like this partnership... Hopefully they can do some goof things with it. I am REALLY drooling over the Optimus G pro. So far only announced on AT&T in the US though :(

RE: Google and LG
By retrospooty on 5/3/2013 2:06:59 PM , Rating: 2
lol... goof = good.

RE: Google and LG
By bug77 on 5/3/2013 6:50:31 PM , Rating: 2
Sadly, I'm not drooling over anything that's not a Nexus.

RE: Google and LG
By arthur449 on 5/3/2013 7:31:40 PM , Rating: 2
As an owner of an Optimus G, I agree. While this phone has almost all of the capabilities of the Nexus 4 (excluding wireless charging), its lack of timely updates and limited developer community really let it down.

And I feel this way despite its 32GB internal memory, LTE radio, capacitive buttons, and slightly improved camera. (LS970)

From here on I'm only interested in phones with guaranteed software support that doesn't end as soon as I've bought the phone.

RE: Google and LG
By ChronoReverse on 5/3/2013 7:32:55 PM , Rating: 2
I've decided the same thing but I ended up getting the GS4 in the end.

Well, technically it's only a small step down from the Nexus phones since Samsung is pretty much the only vendor that upgraded their phones to 4.2

RE: Google and LG
By retrospooty on 5/3/2013 7:39:03 PM , Rating: 2
Dood, dont wait for carriers and manufacturers. If you want the latest software take control.

RE: Google and LG
By arthur449 on 5/3/2013 11:46:02 PM , Rating: 2
I'm running the latest unofficial cyanogenmod for the sprint lg optimus g. The camera doesn't focus after first launch (and is limited to 8MP instead of the 13MP it's capable of), NFC is buggy and insists my SIM card has been ejected every time I use Wallet (which has to be hacked on) or android beam, and battery life is notably worse than stock while playing video from either Netflix or over our network with other video player apps.

Photosphere also doesn't work properly and there are special pre-flash preparations if you want the GPS radio to pick up any satellites. Additionally, using Bluetooth audio (A2DP) severely impacts WiFi bandwidth.

That being said, I'm still using CM10.1 because the experience of actually using the phone is superior to the stock or modified stock roms.

RE: Google and LG
By retrospooty on 5/4/2013 9:14:19 AM , Rating: 2
Are they at an M1 or M2 release yet? Until the official CM10.1 release they do monthlies that are more stable than the nighlies, if they are that far along anyhow.

RE: Google and LG
By arthur449 on 5/4/2013 11:45:35 AM , Rating: 2
They're not that far along yet. The Sprint variant of the Optimus G (LS970) has a small devoted developer community, but its differences in radio, camera, and GPS from the Nexus 4 (and no open source drivers from LG) mean there's tons of trial and error. Each release feels like a game of whack-a-mole where one bug is squashed only to find another new or recurring bug popping up to take its place.

Don't get me wrong though; I love to tweak my hardware and the OG's similarities to the N4 made it easy to root/unlock, but the entire phone experience has been frustrating.

However capable the hardware is, it's beginning to appear that unless one picks the "popular" android handset or a nexus device, getting meaningful software support is a dice roll.

The "killer" feature I want Google to implement in either Key Lime Pie or Jellybean III: The Jellybeaning is some kind of unifying system software update.

RE: Google and LG
By retrospooty on 5/4/2013 1:23:38 PM , Rating: 1
That would be nice , but I doubt it will happen. The strength of Android is the flexibility, many ARM chipsets, many LCD's with varying res, many GPU's and other hardware features give us flexibility, but also creates a weakness of unified OS updates. Its complicated enough for manufacturers, and carriers make it much worse than it needs to be.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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