Google is poised to enter the smartphone market in earnest. This means the emergence of another rival on the part of LG Electronics which is cooperating extensively with Google.
Google recently bought the Pixel phone division of HTC for US$1.1 billion. Earlier, Google acquired Motorola for US$12.5 billion in 2011 and released several smartphones, but sold Motorola to Lenovo for US$2.9 billion after the phones failed to gain popularity. Still, Google did not sell Motorola’s patents. Google’s recent attempt to come back to the market is based on the popularity of the Pixel phone released last year.
In the meantime, LG Electronics is adopting the Google Assistant for an increasing number of its products. For example, the LG G6 released in March this year is the first non-Google smartphone coming with the AI assistant and the V30 released on September 21 is the first smartphone coming with the Google Assistant that supports the Korean language.
At present, LG Electronics and Google are working closely with each other in a variety of fields, ranging from smart car to TV as well as smartphone. LG Electronics is currently cooperating with YouTube for OLED TV marketing and LG Display and LG Innotek are expected to supply their OLED displays and dual camera modules for the Pixel phone scheduled to make its debut in the second half of this year. Google is said to have invested one trillion won (US$900 million) with regard to LG Display’s OLED manufacturing facility expansion.
Google’s first target market is likely to be the United States, which is the largest premium smartphone market in the world. The company recently set the prices of Pixel 2 and Pixel 2XL at US$849 to US$949. Under the circumstances, LG Electronics, which sells half of its smartphones in the U.S. market, is feeling some pressure. LG Electronics took up 20% of the market in the first quarter of this year.