Hot Season for Premium Smartphones

  • By Kim Bong-kee

    August 29, 2016 13:27

    LG will unveil its premium V20 smartphone on Sept. 7 in both Seoul and San Francisco around the same time as Apple's new iPhone.

    The Korean electronics giant changed the location of the U.S. launch from New York to San Francisco, the better to challenge the American market leader on its own turf.

    Samsung, Huawei and Sony are also unveiling their latest strategic smartphones amid intensifying competition in the market for premium models.

    Samsung already unveiled its Galaxy Note 7 earlier this month, while Huawei is launching its latest model at the IFA 2016 in Berlin in September.

    The battle for the dwindling high-end market began with Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 on Aug. 19. Samsung pushed the date forward to get a head start on Apple, and sales have been excellent amid rave reviews. The Chinese launch is next month.

    Apple is set to launch the iPhone 7 next week. The company's second-quarter net profit fell 27 percent on-year due to weak sales of the iPhone 6S and iPhone SE as customers waited for the new model.

    Then new phone reportedly features new shock and waterproof functions along with a dual camera. Other changes are also expected, including wireless headphone connectivity.

    LG's V20 reportedly focuses on sound technology though a tie-up with Danish high-end audio firm Bang & Olufsen.

    LG hopes strong V20 sales will make up for the weak performance of the G5. Sales of last year's V10 totaled 450,000 units in the U.S. just 45 days after its release in late October.

    Sony and Huawei plan to unveil the Xperia XR and Mate 9 at the IFA, which opens on Friday. Both companies sent out invitations to the launch, but details of the products have yet to be revealed.

    Apple's weakening dominance has intensified competition even further. According to market researcher IDC, Apple's global market share stood at 50.9 percent during the second quarter, down 9.2 percentage points compared to last year.

    Meanwhile Samsung's market share rose to 35.9 percent narrowing the gap quickly. Huawei, which has rolled out mainly mass-market smartphones, grabbed more than three percent in the global premium market.

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