South Korea's No. 2 tech giant, LG Electronics Inc., said Thursday that it will roll out its latest version of its curved-smartphone lineup on its home turf later this month and gradually expand its sales to overseas markets.
The G Flex 2, with a Full HD 5.5-inch display, will become LG's second smartphone that boasts a display curving inward from top to bottom and slightly from right to left but will be slightly smaller than its 6-inch predecessor, the company said.
The latest model was showcased at the U.S. Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month.
It marks a rare occasion in the smartphone industry for a tech player to upgrade a high-end curved smartphone. Samsung Electronics Co., LG's bigger rival, did not release new editions of curved smartphones after introducing a handset that bends left-to-right in October 2013.
"If the G3 was a high-end sedan, the G Flex 2 is a neat sports car," a LG official said. "As sports cars focus on the design and features, the G Flex 2 will approach users with an attractive design and spec."
The company added the G Flex 2 will not be produced on the limited basis but as much as the market demands. LG said the G Flex 2 has different curvatures at the front, back and rear, allowing users to hold the device more comfortably.
The previous model applied only one curvature at all angles.
The domestic price of the high-end G Flex 2 will be "around the 800,000 won ($738.1) mark," LG Electronics said. It will come in two colors -- silver and red -- and official sales will start Jan. 30.
The model will be powered by Google Inc.'s latest Android 5.0.0 Lollipop and will run under the wider-bandwidth long-term evolution advanced and 3-band LTE-A networks. It also boasts Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 Processor.
The device weighs 152 grams and is 7.1 millimeters, but the curved angle will make the smartphone seem 9.4 mm thick, the company said.
It is equipped with a 13-megapixel camera on the back and a 2.1-megapixel one on the front, which has auto-focusing and new optical image stabilization features, LG said.
Amid the rising popularity of "selfie sticks" in South Korea, a piece of equipment used to take long-distance selfies, usually with a Bluetooth-powered remote control, LG said its "Gesture Shot" will allow users to take photos by setting a three-second timer by curling one's fingers into the palm to the camera, making such a task much easier.
The G Flex 2's "Gesture View" feature allows users to see photos taken immediately on their smartphones, LG added.
The specs of the front camera, however, compares to Samsung's low-end models, the Galaxy A5 and A7, which also will commence sales at home this month, as they also boast a 13-megapixel rear camera along with a 5-megapixel one on the front.
The G Flex 2 also holds a 3,000 mAh battery that cannot be detached from the device, unlike typical Samsung and LG smartphones. The firm said, however, the battery can recharge 50 percent of its capacity in 40 minutes, while other batteries of similar size take 55 minutes.
Another significant feature of the G Flex 2 is an updated "Self Healing," meaning the smartphone can "heal" scratches on the back in around 10 seconds through its unique anti-coating, which is faster than the original G Flex that took minutes.
"Such a feature is necessary for curved smartphones like the G Flex lineup, as a specific point touches surfaces more frequently, being more vulnerable to scratches," an official from LG said. The company added, however, it currently has no further plan to apply the technology to other models.
The G Flex 2's "Glance View" features also allows users to check information such as time, missed calls and messages by dragging their finger on the display from top to bottom, even when the screen is locked.
LG, meanwhile, said the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 Processor in the G Flex 2 poses no problems such as over-heating as some industry watchers suggest.
"Through its optimistic cooling system, (the G Flex 2) will deliver the best environment and performance to users," LG said.
"There are no issues related with the Snapdragon 810 Processor. We are satisfied."
The company added throughout 2015, it will also expand the low-end lineup as well by meeting the needs of various "segments" of users.
"When targeting the low-end market, our focus is not on cutting prices but on providing appropriate devices to different segments of users," said Cho Sung-ha, the vice president of LG's mobile business, adding the company has rolled out such low-end smartphones as the AKA phone, the Wine Smart and the G3 Beat in line with such efforts. (Yonhap)