One of the top three manufacturers of mobile phones for the Cambodian market, LG, is likely to roll out its new flagship product, the Optimus G, by the end of the year.
Hor Hab, deputy managing director of G Gear – Cambodia’s authorised distributor for LG mobile phones – had high praise for LG’s latest smartphone.
“There’s a lot being said and written about this phone. This isn’t just the best phone that LG has to offer, it is the best in the world,” he said.
In a market increasingly polarised between Apple and Samsung with their own flagship models, the iPhone and Galaxy series, LG is placing high expectations in the Optimus G, which was just released in South Korea last week.
While no official price has been released for Cambodia, it had been estimated that it will sell for between $600 to $800.
Hab, a native of Koh Kong province who joined G Gear six months ago, is confident that the Optimus G will make a breakthrough in the already saturated smartphone market. The Optimus G is the first smartphone to emerge from the combined efforts of LG Electronics and LG Display, two different companies that used to produce their own range of phones.
The device, which will be released in the United States in November, has received mostly positive reviews. JR Raphael from Computerworld said the Optimus G “certainly looks impressive”.
Choi Namkon, a tech analyst at Dongyang Securities in Seoul and quoted by China Radio International, said that “the Optimus G will highly likely make LG dominate in the [Chinese] and North American markets among second-tier players.” However, Simon Thomas, from 3g.co.uk was disappointed to learn that the Optimus G will run on Android Ice Cream Sandwich software and not on Jelly Bean, the latest release.
Success in the smartphone market would signal a successful turnaround for LG. Prior to the explosion of smartphone sales in Cambodia, LG was the second-biggest player, just behind Nokia. Now, Hab estimates LG to be in third or fourth position, with Samsung climbing to the top spot.
Each month Cambodians buy about 2,000 units of the Optimus L series. Hab said LG’s most purchased products are feature phones including LG A290 and the LG 1375, which together sold about 4,000 units last month.
“Cambodia is still a country of feature phones; there is no shame in that. They still compose a significant share of the market in America,” he said.
Hab said branding not quality was the reason for LG secondary position in the market.
Hab gave the example of the Optimus 4X HD, a phone released earlier this year, that differed little from the latest Galaxy or iPhone, but which didn’t have enough market share because of lack of promotion. He said G Gear should invest more in the LG brand.
Hab sad one of the advantages LG has over its competitors is that LG is the only phone manufacturer that offers an official mobile operating system in the Khmer language.
The software, developed by the G Gear team in Phnom Penh, features the only available version of Android in Khmer, and it was released for the Optimus 2X November 2010.
“Actually there’s an operating system for the iPhone in Khmer, but it’s not official – you’d have to jailbreak it,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Javier D Yepes at [email protected]