Counterclockwise: an abridged historical past of LG’s telephones

Seoul, South Korea is residence to 2 tech rivals – LG and Samsung. Whereas the latter is the bigger firm, LG has additionally introduced loads of innovation in tech even when it typically goes underappreciated. So, allow us to inform you its story and see when you acquire extra respect for the corporate.

Let’s begin with the LG Prada – it first emerged in December 2006 and launched in Might 2007, it was the primary cellphone with a capacitive touchscreen. Sure, LG beat Apple by a couple of months. The corporate even suspected that Apple ripped off the design, although nothing got here of that.

Alas the Prada may by no means be the success that the iPhone was. Its smaller display screen (3.0″ vs. 3.5″) had a restricted coloration vary (256K vs. 16M) and did not help multi-touch, which means fancy pinch gestures would not work.

Worst of all was the storage – solely 8MB (megabytes!) in-built. Certain, there was a microSD card, however it solely supported as much as 2GB (costly on the time). Regardless of Apple’s regular stinginess, its first cellphone had 4GB of storage as base, which was quite a bit in 2007.

LG KE850 Prada

LG KE850 Prada

One other cellphone from the identical period was the LG Viewty. It was a cameraphone with a 5MP sensor (in comparison with 2MP for the Prada and iPhone), it had Schneider Kreuznach optics with autofocus and digital picture stabilization. And it had a xenon flash!

Its declare to fame, nonetheless, was its slow-motion mode – it may document 320 x 240px video at 120fps. Not dangerous contemplating its regular recording mode was 640 x 480px at 30fps.

LG said that in 5 weeks of gross sales, the Viewty moved over 300,000 models in Europe. A UK retailer even recommended that it outpaced the iPhone. Nonetheless, it was by no means made accessible within the US, which restricted its affect.

LG KU990 Viewty

LG KU990 Viewty

LG, Samsung, Nokia and Sony Ericsson have been in a contest for probably the most spectacular cameraphone – it was the digital camera that drove the gross sales again then (and to a big extent at the moment nonetheless).

The LG Renoir got here out in 2008 marked one other first – the primary full touchscreen cellphone with an 8MP digital camera. It beat rival Samsung Pixon by a couple of months and there have been a couple of non-touch 8MP shooters to deal with. It was the slimmest 8MP cellphone amongst them at 14mm.

The Renoir boasted a built-in GPS for geo-tagging pictures, handbook focus, blink detection and different goodies.

LG KC910 Renoir

LG KC910 Renoir

LG briefly toyed round with Symbian, however in 2009 it positioned its bets on Android. Its first Android cellphone was the LG GW620 aka Eve or InTouch Max. Like the unique G1, this one packed a slide-out {hardware} QWERTY. LG mentioned that it might launch extra Androids and even Home windows telephones, however it wasn’t completed with featurephones.

LG GW620

LG GW620

Earlier that 12 months the spectacular LG Area got here out. It boasted a tremendous sharp display screen – 311ppi with 480 x 800px decision – and it was lined with Gorilla Glass. The metallic chassis of the cellphone solidified the impression that this can be a premium machine.

LG ready visible feast with S-Class Contact UI with a 3D dice changing tabs and a 3D carousel serving as menus. Whereas not a smartphone, the Area supported multitasking (at a time when the iPhone couldn’t), featured a multi-touch browser, Google Maps (with built-in GPS, however no voice-guided navigation) and a Microsoft Workplace bundle.

LG KM900 Arena

LG KM900 Area

In some methods LG presaged the ultra-widescreen craze that’s upon us now. The LG New Chocolate had a 4″ display screen with an insane 21:9 facet ratio and supported Dolby Cell, a boon for film watching on the go.

The cellphone additionally used the S-Class UI, full with multitasking (the app switcher UI was styled to appear like the Symbian one). And it did have voice-guided navigation due to Wisepilot, the app labored significantly better than Google Maps (which did not fairly match Chocolate’s display screen). Sadly, this was solely a trial app.

LG BL40 New Chocolate

LG BL40 New Chocolate

By the way in which, it is “New Chocolate” for the reason that unique cellphone was the LG Chocolate (from 2006). It was the primary of the Black Label Collection telephones and it traded on its design. The capacitive keys across the D-Pad disappeared when the cellphone was closed, making for a smooth exterior.

LG KG800

LG KG800

Cell phones have been in an ungainly interval in 2009 – the market was nonetheless transitioning from key-operated telephones to touchscreen. The main push was completed by smartphones, however they have been costly, so LG equipped budget-friendly alternate options.

The LG Cookie had a resistive display screen and a stylus – a 3″ 240 x 400 display screen. LG minimize down the options, even fundamentals like 3G, Wi-Fi and GPS, however it did not matter – the value was proper (€200) and it grew to become a best-seller. The very best-selling contact cellphone, says LG.

It offered a whopping 2 million models in 5 months and 5 million in 9 months.

LG KP500 Cookie

LG KP500 Cookie

Earlier than shifting on, let’s point out that LG made some Home windows Telephone 7 handsets. There, we simply spent as a lot time desirous about them as LG did.

LG E900 Optimus 7
LG C900 Optimus 7Q
LG Quantum
LG Jil Sander Mobile

LG E900 Optimus 7 • LG C900 Optimus 7Q • LG Quantum • LG Jil Sander Cell

LG’s most up-to-date historical past is outlined by the LG Optimus, a mid-range cellphone designed for smartphone first-timers. It adopted Cookie’s sport plan: an reasonably priced worth will convey within the crowds. After a brief detour by means of 3D, the Optimus collection introduced us the LG Optimus 2X – the world’s first smartphone with a dual-core processor.

Powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 chipset, it was additionally the primary cellphone to have sufficient energy to document 1080p video (supposedly at 24fps, however in actuality lower than that). The replace story was surprisingly good, launching with Android 2.2 Froyo and being introduced as much as 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

The efficiency was Optimus 2X’s finest characteristic. We had Nvidia promising video games with Unreal Engine 3 and “maybe even” the iD Tech 5 engine (Doom 4!) and Frostbite (Battlefield: Dangerous Firm). That did not come to move, sadly.

LG GT540 Optimus
LG Optimus 3D P920
LG Optimus 2X

LG GT540 Optimus • LG Optimus 3D P920 • LG Optimus 2X

However actually, we’re on the lookout for the LG Optimus G – the primary broadly accessible cellphone with the Snapdragon S4 Professional, Qualcomm’s first chipset with a quad-core processor (however not the primary quad-core cellphone, that was the Optimus 4X HD with a Tegra 3). The processing energy was put to good use with the Q Slide choice – LG’s multitasking resolution that used home windows as a substitute of display screen splitting. The 16:10 display screen gave you the required room to maneuver. Q Slide did not work for all apps, however it was a begin.

The {hardware} was used as the bottom for the Nexus 4 – the cellphone that redefined the phrase “flagship”. It value $300 at launch, a steal for a Snapdragon S4 Professional cellphone, and the value would go on to drop to $200. Competing telephones may simply value 2-3 occasions as a lot. This was one of many earliest telephones to help Qi wi-fi charging too.

LG Optimus G E975
LG Nexus 4 E960

LG Optimus G E975 • LG Nexus 4 E960

The subsequent-gen cellphone dropped the “Optimus” and used the now acquainted G-series branding – the LG G2. It was a bezel-less cellphone earlier than it was cool and had uncommon key association – the quantity rocker and the facility button have been on the again.

On the identical time the corporate unveiled one of the vital futuristic telephones in years – the LG G Flex. Not fairly a foldable cellphone like those we see within the rumor mill at the moment, however it did flex. Every thing, the display screen, the battery, the motherboard, every part flexed. And we cherished the thought of the self-healing coating on the again panel. Bye, bye, scratches!

The early technology P-OLED panel was low-resolution (720p) and it suffered from different points. LG would repair a lot of these with the LG Flex 2, however it deserted the Flex line after that.



Shifting on to the LG G3, one of many first telephones with a 1440p QHD display screen. LG labored laborious to get acceptable battery life (and management the warmth) out of the 2014 chipsets, which weren’t properly suited to rendering at QHD (even at the moment many flagships default to 1080p inner decision).

The Laser autofocus system was an enchancment over the sluggish AF methods of the time too. Promoting practically 10 million models in lower than a 12 months made the G3 a hit.



LG tried to be fancy with the LG G4. It was a curved cellphone and had optionally available leather-based again covers with ornamental stitching. The again buttons have been enhanced with a fingerprint reader, one other forward-looking transfer by LG. The Quantum IPS show (QHD, after all) fastened among the coloration rendering complaints concerning the G3 display screen, however the Snapdragon 808 chipset was not splendid (LG correctly prevented the S810).

Later that 12 months LG launched its Observe competitor – the LG V10. It was a cellphone that meant enterprise, it was MIL-STD-810G powerful and had a grippy again. Its distinctive characteristic was the secondary line show that held notifications, shortcuts and different instruments. The selfie digital camera was pushed right into a proto-notch on the facet.

And it was a twin digital camera – one of many first of its sort. Not used for 3D, it supplied two fields of view 80° and 120°.

Round this time the bootloop points (that plagued earlier LG telephones too) have been turning into a meme, which wasn’t nice.

LG V10

LG G4 • LG V10

LG additionally constructed the Nexus 5 and Nexus 5X (which was accessible alongside the Huawei-built Nexus 6P). Not fairly as low cost as its predecessor, the Nexus 5 was nonetheless among the many most reasonably priced flagships and it went on to turn out to be a fan favourite. The 5X was, properly, costly – $380/€480 for a 16GB cellphone was by no means going to fly.

LG Nexus 5
LG Nexus 5X

LG Nexus 5 • LG Nexus 5X

Then got here the LG G5 – LG’s tackle a modular cellphone. However extra importantly, it moved the twin digital camera magic to the again – it was among the many first usable twin digital camera telephones, once more exhibiting LG’s capability to innovate. However the modular system flopped and the shift to a metallic physique was marred by the unusual coating that gave it a plastic-like really feel. On the upside, the All the time On Show labored fairly properly and the battery was user-accessible.

The G5 was adopted up by the LG V20, which dropped the sensible exterior of the V10 for a smooth metallic unibody. It was nonetheless MIL-STD-810G compliant, although, and the battery was nonetheless user-accessible (the detachable again cowl had smooth padding). The V20 was the primary cellphone to launch with Android 7.0 Nougat.

LG V20

LG G5 • LG V20

The LG G6 launched final 12 months and adopted the army toughness of the V-series and improved on them with an IP68 score. The display screen was enhanced with HDR10 and Dolby Imaginative and prescient, however quick provide of chipsets left it with an outdated Snapdragon 821. The failed modular system was dropped, sadly, the detachable battery went with it.

The LG V30 is extra of a G6+ – gone is the secondary display screen, swapped for a P-OLED show. Regardless of supporting HDR10 and Dolby Imaginative and prescient once more, the display screen caught some criticism. However the V30 has a lot to be happy with, it did improve to Snapdragon 835 and its twin digital camera boasted the brightest aperture (on the time) at f/1.6.

LG V30

LG G6 • LG V30

This brings us to at the moment and there is not a lot to report. The LG G7 ThinQ felt like a small improve on the V30 (however with a notched LCD display screen), then LG refreshed the V30 with the V30S (a easy reminiscence improve) and once more with the V35 (V30 display screen and digital camera, G7 chipset). There might have been a Plus model or two in there, however we really feel like we’re spinning in circles.

As you possibly can see, LG has a protracted historical past of innovation, particularly on the subject of cameras, but additionally when speaking about processing energy and screens. Nonetheless, regardless of being the primary on many events, it seems like the corporate hardly ever managed to be on high (particularly recently).

This leaves us with a multi-million greenback query: what can LG do to show “first to market” into “first out there”?

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