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LTE handsets to flood local market ahead of iPhone 5 launch

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Published : 2012-09-12 20:07
Updated : 2012-09-12 20:07

Korea surpasses 10 million in LTE handset subscribes


With Apple slated to unveil the iPhone 5, three local handset makers are moving to rush the launch of their flagship smartphones in Korea ahead of the U.S.-based tech giant.

Apple is featuring its new iPhone 5 on Sept. 12. However, it is not yet undecided when the Long Term Evolution model will be released in Korea.

As the country has already surpassed the 10 million mark in terms of LTE subscribers, many are most likely to wait until the launch of the LTE model or go with the LTE smartphones produced by other handset makers.

“The number of those who owned an LTE smartphone hit the 1 million mark in December of last year, but the figure jumped to top 10 million over the past eight months,” said a recent report published by ROA Consulting. “This indicates that one out of every five smartphone users has an LTE handset.”

The agency also said that the LTE subscriber figure is expected to reach 16 million by the year’s end.

LTE smartphones, which run on fourth-generation communications networks, have faster Internet connections than 3G smartphones.

Following the trend, Samsung Electronics is planning to launch its new 5.5-inch Galaxy Note 2 possibly within this month.

Equipped with a 1.6 gigahertz quad-core application processor as well as a stylus pen and running on Google’s latest Jelly Bean mobile operating system, the gadget is aiming to compete with the iPhone 5.

The gadget, which weighs 180 grams, also has an 8-megapixel camera on the back and an extended-life 3,100 mAh battery.
Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Note 2
LG Electronics’ Optimus G

LG Electronics is also preparing to roll out its flagship Optimus G, which is a smartphone made in collaboration with its affiliates ― LG Display, LG Innotek and LG Chem.

While announcing it will showcase the new gadget to the press next Tuesday, the company is making an all-out effort to gain back its share in the local and global mobile phone markets with the Optimus G.

Coming with a 4.7-inch True High Definition IPS Plus display and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core chip, the handset could decide the fate of LG in the mobile industry.

“When Qualcomm and LG come together, something special usually happens,” said Qualcomm chief operating officer Steve Mollenkopf, in an interview uploaded on the company’s Facebook page. “LG Optimus G phone will usher in a new era of mobile computing for the networks around the world.”

The Optimus G, dubbed the chairman Koo Bon-moo’s mobile phone as it is said to have been made on the chairman’s orders, is the world’s first to carry the next-generation processor.

It weighs 145 grams and runs on Google’s 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich platform, equipped with a 13-megapixel camera on the back, according to LG officials.

The new smartphone also has a thickness of 8 millimeters as well as an extended-life 2100 mAh battery.

Pantech, another handset maker here, is also devising plans to unveil its new 5.3-inch LTE smartphone to the press in the last week of September.
Pantech’s Flex

Although the specifications, including the name of the new smartphone, are yet to be disclosed, what is known so far is that the new gadget will be another quad-core handset, equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro chip. It will also support the Voice over LTE function.

“We have recently singled out our smartphone brand into ‘Vega’ from ‘Sky Vega’ and we will focus on publicizing the Vega brand through the upcoming event,” said a Pantech official.

In the meantime, Pantech is also launching a slim LTE smartphone named Flex through mobile carrier AT&T in the U.S. market on Sept. 16.

The smartphone, which is only 7.95 millimeters thick, received the Red Dot Award this year for its unique design and has partially applied the Steel Use Stainless material on the back cover. The device is running on Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich mobile platform.

By Cho Ji-hyun (sharon@heraldcorp.com)

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