SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's LG Electronics Inc launched a revamped version of its flagship G3 high-end smartphone at a discount to its predecessor model on Wednesday and said it would ship more than 10 million units to improve its ailing handset business.
LG hopes the new G3 phone, which added metal film to the rear plastic cover to offer a polished metallic look, will pull its handset business out of the red and provide meaningful earnings momentum in the coming quarter.
The new device has a 5.5-inch screen with almost twice the resolution of its G2 predecessor with 538 pixels per inch (ppi). The resolution is also better than the 431 ppi screen on Samsung Electronics Co's Galaxy S5 431. The new LG phone also features a laser focus for the camera.
The G3's launch price of 899,800 Korean won ($880) is about 6 percent lower than the G2 in South Korea, highlighting the intensifying competition on both price and features among smartphone makers as market growth slows.
"Broadly speaking, business conditions should be better in the second quarter than the first quarter," Park Jong-seok, chief executive of LG's mobile business, told reporters during a briefing, citing the global launch of the G3 as a major factor.
Park declined to offer concrete earnings guidance and did not specify a time frame on the shipment target for the G3, which will be rolled out worldwide to more than 170 carriers.
While LG did not disclose shipment figures for the G2, industry officials estimate that more than 5 million units of the device have shipped since its launch in August 2013.
LG brought forward the launch of the G3 to May amid market speculation that Apple Inc could reveal its next iPhone in August.
LG's mobile division reported an operating loss of 9 billion won ($8.80 million) in the January-March quarter due to competition from Chinese rivals like Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] and Lenovo Group.
(Reporting by Se Young Lee)