It seems that the LG G7 may launch ahead of the Galaxy S9, as some of the early big guns in the smartphone marketplace jockey for position.
There had been rumors that the Galaxy S9 may emerge for the first time at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but this now seems increasingly unlikely. Samsung is instead expected to dust off its next flagship mobile at the Mobile World Congress as usual, leaving the course free for the LG G7 to be the first major smartphone release of the year.
This isn’t a certainty as of yet, but Business Korea reports that LG is currently contemplating a January launch for its technology. There is a commercial imperative behind this decision, with the Korean publication suggesting that LG is pushing for this early release thanks to the advantages the LG G6 gained from arriving before the S8.
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While the same publication notes the rumors regarding the Galaxy S9 and the Consumer Electronic Show, the hierarchy of Samsung has already poured scorn on these murmurings. A Samsung executive stated publicly that it is unlikely that the Galaxy S9 will launch at CES, clearing the way for the LG G7.
As LG continues to grow in prominence in the marketplace, the potentially early release date of the device provides it with an opportunity to seriously challenge Samsung. And this possibility will also be amplified by another aspect of the two devices.
Early reports on the Galaxy S9 suggest that Samsung may play it rather safe with its flagship this year. The Galaxy S9 was a massive success for the mega-corporation, and there is no doubt that 2017 was an extremely successful calendar year for the Korean company.
Conservative Galaxy S9
With this in mind, it is believed that Samsung may be conservative with the Galaxy S9, delivering a device that is an evolution of the already successful Galaxy S8. The emphasis will be on upgrades rather than design changes, meaning that an updated processor and improved specs can be expected, rather than a significant redesign.
This doesn’t exactly present LG with an open goal, but it does mean that the Korean rival of Samsung can make serious inroads with the LG G7. In the smartphone marketplace, consumers naturally have a major decision to make between Android and Apple, and the power of Samsung in this niche is meant that some of the other Android producers have been rather overshadowed.
There is no doubt that Samsung will remain one of the big two power players in the market in 2018, but the approach of the company means that some of its Android rivals could emerge from the shadows somewhat.
With Samsung reserving some of the more spectacular updates for its Galaxy Note 9 phablet, LG could surprise consumers by being the first smartphone manufacturer to deliver a true 4K resolution display. This is something that has been continually linked with Samsung owing to its reputation for outstanding screen technology, but LG could really steal a march on its Android rivals by including such a display in the LG G7.
The Korean company could also embrace virtual reality and augmented reality functionality, responding to both Samsung and Apple in this respect. Apple has staked its reputation on the success of augmented reality, with the company offering its explicit backing to this system. Meanwhile, Samsung has been far more enthusiastic about virtual reality, with its Gear VR headset being a notable product in this genre.
But it has been reported in some quarters that the LG G7 will deliver both VR and AR functionality, in an attempt to be all things to all people in this new area of technology. This would be a bold step, but could provide users of the LG flagship with both gaming and security features. Whether this will actually come to fruition remains to be seen, but it is an interesting proposition.
LG may also follow on from Samsung releases by producing a smartphone with a headphone jack. Apple has famously eliminated this physical port from the iPhone range, but the Korean electronics giant could join with Samsung by retaining the popular physical feature.
LG is also expected to redesign the user interface is included in its flagship when the LG G7 is unveiled, ensuring that the user-friendliness of the device is improved. Although this aspect of the LG TV series is adequate, it is also lacking in comparison to other android competitors. More customization options and a more modern look are predicted for the next-generation smartphone.
The difficulty for LG is undoubtedly establishing its LG G7 in a smartphone marketplace dominated by Apple and Samsung. Not only do the two big players completely outsell all rivals, but they generate so much more interest and attention than any other brands that even the slightly less prestigious Samsung has become a household name all over the world.
It is very difficult for any company to penetrate this hegemony, with HTC and even Google having found competing in the smartphone niche particularly challenging. It is also notable that a major corporation such as Amazon, which has dipped its toes into many different markets, has stayed firmly away from the mobile marketplace, despite its growing technology division.
Establishing LG as a major force in the mobile marketplace will undoubtedly be extremely challenging. The smartphone is up against two of the most recognizable brands in the world, and in the case of the iPhone, probably the most iconic consumer electronics product on the planet.
In this context, it will be tricky for the LG G7 to make gains against the Galaxy S9 and next generation iPhone, but a combination of early release date, excellent new features and skilful marketing could lead to this long since praised smartphone series to becoming one of the big boys in 2018.