Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are waging an all-out war to take initiative in global mobile standards.
With the mobile phone-related business sectors of the two companies emerging as their major growth engines, Samsung and LG Electronics are focusing on the development of their own mobile ecosystems. To dominate the global Information and Communications Technology (ICT) market, they are concentrating all their competences into establishing an ecosystem for mobile platforms, wireless charging, and wireless communications.
Samsung, LG Intend to Develop Own Mobile Platforms
According to industry sources on November 10, the two Korean Android device manufacturers are aiming at the development of their own mobile platforms.
Samsung is intensifying its efforts to diversify its mobile platform with open source Linux-based operating system Tizen that was developed by Intel and members of the Tizen Association. This phenomenon shows that the Korean tech giant is trying to become independent of Google’s Android platform.
Led by Samsung and Intel, the Tizen Association is composed of 18 members including SK Telecom, KT, LG U+, NTT DoCoMo, Vodafone, Panasonic, Orange, Sprint, Fujitsu, and Huawei.
In particular, Samsung is spurring the development of the world’s first Tizen-based smartphone. At first, the firm planned its launch before the end of the year. However, the Tizen phone is likely to be introduced in the first half of 2014 because of the company’s attempts to diversify applications.
Choi Jong-deok, Executive Vice President at Samsung Electronics & Co-chair of the Tizen Technical Steering Group, will be the keynote speaker at the Tizen Developer Summit Korea 2013, which will be held at the Ritz-Carlton, Seoul from November 11 to 12. He will talk about Tizen OS and the present conditions of product development.
LG is also making an effort to diversify its OS offerings with Linux-based platform webOS and the free web browser Firefox developed by Mozilla. webOS is an open source Linux-based operating system acquired from Hewlett-Packard early this year.
In October, the second largest Android smartphone maker showcased the first-ever Firefox smartphone in Brazil, called the Fireweb. It is also planning to unveil a webOS-based smart TV in 2014.
Intense Competition in Wireless Charging, Wireless Communications
Both companies are also vying to develop wireless charging technologies for smartphones. Currently, mobile devices are mostly charged using wires plugged into a wall socket. However, the industry expects that wireless charging will become popular within 5 years.
LG is a key member of the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) that was developed ten years ago. It is necessary for any smartphones using WPC’s magnetic inductive charging technology to get a Qi certification issued by the consortium. For inductive electrical power transfer, a power transmission pad and a mobile device should be held at a distance of 1-2cm from each other. The wireless charging method is 90 percent more efficient than using a charger.
The Korean mobile phone manufacturer is also a pioneer in the field of Korean wireless charging for smartphones. In May 2012, LG released smartphones featuring magnetic inductive charging, including the Optimus LTE2, the Optimus G Pro, the Nexus 4, and the Revolution.
Meanwhile, Samsung is working on the development and standardization of a magnetic resonance-based wireless charging technology for its future smartphones. In resonance charging, two copper coils are used. One coil attached to a charger is the sending unit, while the other coil attached to the smartphone is the receiver. With both coils tuned to the same electromagnetic frequency, the energy produced from one coil is transferred to the other. The efficiency of resonance charging is lower than that of magnetic inductive charging, but the former can transmit power at a greater distance.
Samsung Electronics is leading the commercialization of the magnetic resonance-based wireless charging method by establishing the Alliance for Wireless Power in May 2012 in partnership with Qualcomm and others. LG and Pantech joined the alliance in the first half of this year, and are planning to use this method with their mobile devices in the future.
The influence of Samsung and LG is also increasing in the global near field communications device market. For instance, 25% of Bluetooth phones shipped so far this year were produced by the two firms. In particular, LG is expected to take the lead in the future development and direction of Bluetooth technologies, in light of its joining of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group in July for the first time as a Korean company.