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Flashbacks and Forecasts: LG in 2016

LG V10 Vs LG G4 Quick Look-10

In our second installment of Flashbacks and Forecasts, let’s take a look at LG in 2015 and make some predictions for 2016. LG’s empire may not be very big compared to Samsung’s, but the “other” South Korean OEM has been making some very impressive phones for the last several years and manages to cast a much larger shadow than its comparatively diminutive scale would lead you to believe.


samsung galaxy note 5 review aa (15 of 32)See also: Flashbacks and Forecasts: Samsung in 201620

LG in 2015

LG got off to a tumultuous start in 2015 thanks to a rather bizarre incident in September of 2014 during the IFA trade show in Berlin. You may remember the rather comical accusations that an LG executive willfully sabotaged four Samsung washing machines in a shopping mall in an attempt to secure a “competitive advantage”. Bizarrely, the case lasted for an entire year, with the exec finally being acquitted in December 2015.

But it wasn’t all crazy hijinks in 2015 for the company formerly known as Lucky Goldstar, with a weak start to the product lineup and worrying earnings and market trends making it look like a tough year lie ahead.

Despite making some great phones in 2015, LG was to suffer from the same market fortunes of every other large smartphone manufacturer besides Apple.

Despite making some great phones in 2015, LG was to suffer from the same market fortunes of every other large smartphone manufacturer besides Apple. Increased competition, a plateauing mobile market and increasingly difficult product differentiation put LG in a tough spot throughout the year.

The LG G Flex 2 was the first product off the ranks and it flopped rather spectacularly, despite being light years better than the original G Flex. Most blamed the problems surrounding the Snapdragon 810 processor and thermal throttling issues as the reason for the G Flex 2’s poor performance, but whatever it was, it set the stage for a rollercoaster of a year.

lg g flex 2 unboxing aa (3 of 31)

Legal problems

In March of 2015, LG and Samsung agreed to call off their various ongoing legal disputes and to play nice for a change, but by the end of the year both companies found themselves being sued along with Apple and Qualcomm  by ParkerVision in December 2015 over cellular radio frequency patent infringements. The case has just been picked up officially for investigation by the U. S. International Trade Commission for unfair trade practices.

LG also got entangled legally with its display partner Apple at the end of 2015, when accusations were levelled at Apple for not licensing LG’s LTE patents which are part of the LTE standard. As always, patent disputes throughout the year continued to distract LG and everyone else from the business at hand. Perhaps this is why Samsung is calling for the Supreme Court to re-evaluate the patent law system. Fortunately, nothing terribly bad happened to the company throughout the year.

MORE FROM LG:

Smartphone performance

Following on from a solid last half of 2014, 2015 sales started off quite well, with LG posting its highest ever Q1 revenue since LG entered the smartphone business back in 2010. The company shipped 15.4 million smartphones in the quarter, only 0.1 million less than the previous quarter (which is typically higher due to the holiday buying season). For reference, LG’s best quarter came in Q3 2014, when it posted a record high 16.8 million devices sold.

Unfortunately, the good start to 2015 wasn’t to last, with Q2 earnings slumping by 60% YoY, making Q2, 2015 LG’s lowest quarterly profit in a year and a half. This was the quarter in which the Snapdragon 810 and G Flex 2’s poor reception were felt most acutely. LG’s weak performance in the quarter and increasing competition from China, witnessed LG slip out of the global top five smartphone vendors, shipping only 14.1 million units.

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On the television side, despite maintaining its number two spot globally, LG also saw its worst TV sales in over four years.  The LG G4 arrived in Q2, 2015, but wasn’t able to make much difference to the quarter’s profits. Despite having a remarkably good camera, just as the G Flex 2 did, the G4 failed to make a huge impact, primarily for not offering enough product differentiation, according to analysts. Nevertheless, LG was confident it could turn things around in the next quarter with the LG V10 and Nexus 5X.

LG Mobile is losing vast amounts of money, but despite the ups and downs, LG has come out with a profit in every quarter of 2015 so far.

Fortunately, it did. But not by much. Shipments in Q3, 2015 went up to 14.9 million but they were still not enough to get LG back in the top five behind Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi respectively. LG Mobile lost vast amounts of money again, but overall LG came out slightly ahead. In fact, despite the ups and downs, LG has come out with a profit in every quarter of 2015 so far.

A strong finish?

So what can we expect for LG’s Q4, 2015 earnings? Considering the V10 has sold much better than the G Flex series ever did, and interest in the Nexus 5X has been decent, if over-shadowed by the Nexus 6P, smartphone sales for Q4 should be strong. However, LG’s device sales are typically made up of more mid-range devices than flagships and the second generation Watch Urbane is unlikely to make any real impact.

LG Mobile earnings shouldn’t see such massive losses in the final quarter of the year, but it’s still quite likely a loss will be made, just not as bad as previous quarters. Nevertheless, LG’s other divisions like LG Display, LG Home Appliance and LG Chem will likely make up for the shortfall, but only just, and see LG finish off the year with another net profit and operating profit, as modest as they may be.

LG V10 Hands On-4

2016: a lot rests on the LG G5 and continued aesthetic differentiation

So what does this mean for 2016? What does LG’s generally downward-trending market share allow us to predict? The first thing is that LG already knows that product differentiation at this point only needs to be skin-deep in order to succeed, with very little differentiating flagship devices internally these days. The G series’ rear-key setup was evidence of this, as was the V10’s secondary screen.

LG already knows that product differentiation at this point only needs to be skin-deep in order to succeed.

The rumored modular nature of the LG G5 will absolutely help it stand out in an otherwise very “samey” marketplace. For the uninitiated, the device will reportedly have a removable bottom section that will allow for different modules – cameras, larger batteries etc – to be inserted. It’s an interesting idea that, like the V10 screen, might take some explaining, but will certainly make the G5 a unique device.

We can safely assume the G Flex series has been officially retired and that LG won’t be making a fourth Nexus in 2016. That opens up some space for some other possibilities, perhaps in the wearable sector and perhaps in tablets. The V10 will absolutely see a second iteration and LG will be on the lookout for even more new ways to stick out from the crowd, so expect some more whacky new features as 2016 progresses.


LG V10 Vs LG G4 Quick Look-15See also: LG G5 rumor roundup: release date, specs, and features65

nexus 5x second opinions aa (9 of 10)

Managing the trouble ahead

Fortunately, LG also has LG Chem and LG Display up its sleeve and both of these divisions will be working overtime on new flexible displays and battery technologies. Breakthroughs in these areas would not only boost LG Electronics’ fortunes but also generate a lot more component sales for the company, something Samsung is relying on in these tough times.

The LG G5, running the Snapdragon 820 no doubt, has a lot of potential to get LG off to a solid start in 2016.

The lawsuit against LG and other companies regarding RF patents could cost the company dearly if found guilty, but the case will likely take a while to conclude. The LG G5, running the Snapdragon 820 no doubt, has a lot of potential to get LG off to a solid start, but only if the modular nature isn’t seen as pointless or received as an Apple-like proprietary gimmick.

As far as competition goes, the G5 will be in direct competition with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and its multiple variants, which are also expected to debut at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona at the end of February. If the rumors of a return of microSD to the Galaxy S range are true, it could negatively impact LG’s recent advantage, which has seen it become the default fall-back option for Samsung fans slighted by the removal of microSD in the Galaxy range.

LG Vs. THE COMPETETION:

LG’s mid-range offerings throughout the year will see increasingly tough competition from low-cost Chinese manufacturers like Xiaomi at the same time as LG’s high-end competition expands to include challengers like Huawei. Sony and HTC may be near irrelevant these days and Motorola’s transformation might put it off the radar, but LG has more than enough things to worry about internally.

The recent job cuts in the WebOS team at LG Silicon Valley Labs means we won’t be seeing too much from that department in 2016 but LG’s Vehicle Components division has been identified as one to keep an eye on. A massive new OLED factory should help pay the bills, especially if it starts making panels for the iPhone 7 like Samsung is rumored to be doing, and LG’s home appliances are performing well.

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The forecast

The recent high-level exec restructuring at LG is designed to “give each executive more independence and responsibility to facilitate rapid decision-making”. The company is clearly aware it needs to shake things up a little to remain competitive. While the last quarter of 2015 may not be too bad, LG’s smartphone business is unmistakably being carried by LG’s other divisions.

Differentiation will be the name of the game for LG in 2016.

As with Samsung, LG is also facing heightened competition from China in the low-cost sector as well as in the high-end market due to the success of the iPhone 6. Differentiation will be the name of the game for LG in 2016: it already has good batteries, solid performance and an excellent camera. All that remains is a software overhaul and ways to stick out. With any luck this means we’ll see some really exciting new developments from LG this year and a few more high-profile risks taken.

Also check out – Open letter to the manufacturers: what we want in 2016

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Razer Kishi Controller review: Xbox Edition

As a longtime console gamer, mobile games have never appealed to me much. I’ve always preferred the types of games released on console and playing on a larger screen. However, with the recent introduction of cloud gaming, one of those topics has resurfaced, but in a new way.While cloud gaming doesn’t have me prepared to ditch the console anytime soon, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to at least check it out. In order to make the most of the experience, you’re going to need a good controller. That’s where the Razer Kishi (~$100 USD) comes into play.There are plenty of other controllers out there to choose from, but the vast majority of them require you to mount your phone. If you’ve ever tried one of these before, you already know how awkward it can be to wield this top-heavy monstrosity.Fortunately, the Kishi mounts your phone right in the center, much like the Nintendo Switch. This layout makes it easier to view all of your buttons and feels much more natural to use while gaming in a variety of positions.DesignIf you’ve ever used a gamepad before, then you won’t be surprised by the design of the Razer Kishi. It features all the basic buttons, including a joystick on the left with a D-pad, and a joystick on the right with four main buttons. There are also two trigger buttons on both the left and the right side. Besides the main buttons, you’ll also find an Xbox button along with a share and menu button.What truly makes the Kishi standout from the crowd is its expandable design and hardwired connection. Thanks to some clever engineering, Razer has managed to make a compact controller for on the go, capable of expanding to hold even some of the widest phones around.I had no issue fitting my 6.2-inch Samsung Galaxy S9+ or a ZTE Axon 10 Pro which measures in at 6.5-inches. A word of warning though, the Kishi does not support the massive Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.User ExperienceI absolutely loved gaming while using the Razer Kishi, in my opinion, nothing beats this layout. It’s one that has already been a huge hit with the Nintendo Switch, and it works just as well as my Switch, with the added benefit of being more lightweight.Even though this is the Xbox edition of the Kishi, it still works with any game or service with controller support. I personally tried it out with several different games, including Asphalt 9, Dead Cells, PUBG, Call of Duty Mobile, and various emulators. It worked great on all of them, except for PUBG and Call of Duty Mobile, both of which restrict the controllers that can be used.I also spent some time testing it with Stadia and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Cloud gaming is what the Kishi was truly built for, and it excels with both of these platforms. So much so, that I can’t imagine using any other controller with these services, nothing beats this layout with the phone comfortably placed in the center. It feels so balanced and works great at every angle.The buttons all worked perfectly, and I was more than satisfied with the travel and lack of latency thanks to the hardwired connection. I did find the left and right trigger buttons to be a little springy and mushy compared to other console controllers though.However, not everything is perfect on the Kishi. For starters, I had some minor issues when trying to close it back up into its compact form. It seemed to work best when I turned it over and looked at the back side, otherwise, I had issues trying to get everything lined up properly.Next, I found on several occasions that it had completely drained the battery while staying connected to my idle phone. This happened a handful of times when I left my fully charged phone with the Kishi connected, only to find it completely dead when I returned 16-24 hours later ready to play some games.For comparison, without the Kishi connected, my phone will only have lost 12-16% of its charge in the same time period. I quickly learned not to leave the Kishi attached and to only connect it when I was ready to play.I was also disappointed that the Kishi lacked Bluetooth support. I would have loved to use the Kishi in its closed up form as a regular Bluetooth controller with my tablet or other devices. Specifically, I would have enjoyed using it with my Chromebook or laptop while using cloud gaming services. It would really make the Kishi a much better investment and more versatile if it could be used with other devices besides your phone.Finally, the USB-C port on the Kishi only works for charging. It is not possible to connect a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone adapter or to even use a pair of USB-C headphones. That’s a pity, because having low latency for your audio is often just as important as having that same trait in your controller.Although I can understand the challenges here, USB-C audio has been a mess on phones since its introduction, but Bluetooth audio latency is still a huge issue for mobile gamers.Fortunately, there are some low latency Bluetooth headphones out there such as the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Earbuds that help address this problem.Speaking of audio, the Kishi sports a couple of vents on the right side to help channel audio from bottom-firing speakers. That way your games won’t sound muffled while being covered up with the gamepad.Final ThoughtsAs much as I love this controller and want to recommend it to everyone, $100 is a lot to ask. For $60 you can get a PS4 or Xbox controller that works with Android 10 phones, not to mention the numerous other cheaper alternatives. Unfortunately, the form factor alone cannot justify such a high price tag.That makes the Razer Kishi more of a luxury product, nice to have, but too expensive for most people. If they were to add Bluetooth and cut the price in half, then it would be a must-have for any mobile gamer. Still, if you can afford it, and don’t mind the minor drawbacks, I highly recommend it. And if you’re looking to save a little money the regular edition of the Razer Kishi can be purchased for $80, and it is literally the same controller without the Xbox branding.Razer Kishi Xbox EditionBuy from Amazon Buy from RazerRazer KishiBuy from Amazon Buy from Razer

The best phones available at T-Mobile (October 2020)

With nearly 100 million subscribers, and highly-rated customer service, T-Mobile is the second largest wireless network provider in the US. As such, it has a wide selection of devices to complement the service, including phones, tablets, watches, and more.Here, we gather up a handful of the best phones you can purchase at T-Mobile today. Do note that this isn’t a list of the best overall which often focus on performance. Rather, our list aims to speak to specific users and demographics.Motorola Phone Buyer’s GuideSamsung Phone Buyer’s GuideCheap rate plans that use T-Mobile’s networkSamsung Galaxy Note 20 UltraThe Most Well-RoundedIf you’re looking for the biggest and most powerful all-around device from T-Mobile, this is it. With a screen size (6.9-inches) that rivals early tablets, it packs an upgraded S Pen stylus and cutting-edge hardware. Oh, and then there’s a first-of-its-kind 108-megapixel camera, too.Powered by Android 10 with Samsung’s custom UI, the handset has generous battery, tons of (expandable) storage, and downright sleek design. Choose from Mystic Bronze, Mystic White, and Mystic Black.Shop Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra at T-MobileSamsung Galaxy S20 Fan EditionThe Flagship for You and IIf you’re on the hunt for a phone that you plan to own for a few years, you don’t want to cut corners. You want a flagship phone. The problem is that too many of them cost way more than we’re willing to spend.The Fan Edition of the flagship S20 is what happens when you keep the most important stuff and toss aside the frills (and extra cost).Here, you get a large screen with high refresh rate, a large battery, three rear cameras, and a modern Android and user interface. Offered in three colors, it’s the S20 you deserve.Shop Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition at T-MobileOnePlus 8Mid-range Money, Top-Tier PerformanceWe’ve fallen head over heels in love with OnePlus these last few years. Rather than releasing an expensive, annual flagship, it refreshes its portfolio as needed. And it doesn’t charge nearly as much for the experience.The OnePlus 8 comes in about $200-$300 cheaper than what you’d see from other bigger brands, yet it doesn’t skimp on the features. A giant 6.55-inch display with 90Hz refresh rate and 48-megapixel triple-camera array lead the way, but it’s just as appealing internally, too.Running Android 10, there’s a bleeding edge Snapdragon 865 processor, 128GB UFS 3.0 storage, and 8GB RAM. Add in a generous 4,300mAh battery with lighting fast charging and you see why we’re so fond.Shop OnePlus 8 5G at T-MobileMotorola Moto EFirst-time BuyerBuying your first smartphone doesn’t mean you start at the bottom and tip-toe about. The Motorola Moto E is the perfect way to learn what your needs are without breaking the bank. Moreover, there’s enough under the hood to keep you from looking to replace it anytime soon.For your money you get a large display, impressive battery, and dual camera system on the rear. Over on the software front you get a clean Android 10 install with helpful custom touches from Motorola. Flashier than it needs to be, the Midnight Blue is easy on the eyes.Shop Motorola Moto E at T-MobileSamsung Galaxy Z FlipYou’ll Flip for ItThe Galaxy Z Flip 5G brings back the familiar clamshell design that your parents had at the turn of the decade but with a much smarter operating system… and a heftier price tag.Fully opened, you’ve got a 6.7-inch screen that rivals other phones in size and quality. Under the hood are a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, 5G support, and more than enough storage. Grab it in Mystic Gray or Mystic Bronze.Shop Samsung Galaxy Z Flip at T-Mobile

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