About LG mobiles
A big name in electronics LG have also had success in the mobile phone industry, their LG Cookie handset sold in huge numbers followed by the LG Chocolate and LG Viewty, a good range of handsets covering a variety of styles, features and budgets.
The ads may suggest LG stands for "Life's Good", but it's actually short for Lucky-Goldstar: LG was deemed more appealing to the Western market. The phone bit of the business is LG Electronics, while other divisions are involved in chemicals, displays and mobile phone networks.
LG Electronics is split into four divisions - Mobile Communications, the phone bit; Home Entertainment; Home Appliances; and Air Conditioning and Energy Solutions - and owns around 75 subsidiary companies around the world. It's a big player in all of those markets, and in 2010 it sold an impressive 116.7 million mobile phones. In the UK it's best known for its high-end Optimus devices, which come in Android and Windows Phone flavours, but LG also offers a range of more affordable handsets for mass-market customers.
Until recently LG was the world's third-biggest phone maker, but Apple overtook it in February 2012. It's significantly behind Nokia and Samsung too, and its market share has dropped: research firm IDC says it had 8.4% market share in 2010, but just 5.7% in 2011. Those figures cover all phones, not just smartphones.
History of LG mobile phones
Lak-Hui Chemical Industrial Corporation was founded in Korea in 1947 to make plastics, and in 1958 it created a second company, Goldstar. Goldstar produced Korea's first radios, TVs, fridges, washing machines and air conditioners in the 1960s, and in 1995 it acquired the US Zenith company and was renamed LG Electronics. It developed the world's first 60-inch plasma TV in 1998, has the dubious honour of selling the world's first internet fridge in 2000, and went on to launch the world's first internet-enabled washing machine, air conditioner and microwave oven in 2001.
In 2002 LG Electronics was split in two, with the divided business becoming two businesses: LG Electronics and LG Corporation. LG Electronics manufactured colour GPRS phones for the European market, and by 2005 it was the fourth-largest supplier of mobile handsets in the world. It jumped a place in 2009 to become the global number three, and its 2010 Optimus 2X was the first dual-core smartphone.
Since 2010 LG's star has waned somewhat, largely due to the astonishing growth of Apple and Samsung. By comparison LG's phones seem a little bland, and while they're certainly well-designed and well-made it seems that consumers prefer rival models. LG's Windows Phone handsets haven't sold particularly well since LG began making them in 2008, and in April 2012 the firm told the Korea Herald that it was going to concentrate on Android rather than lose any more money on Microsoft's platform. Some observers suggest that the problem isn't so much Windows Phone as the devices LG put it on: according to the (admittedly biased) WPcentral.com, "LG's offerings for Windows Phone have been extremely lacklustre".