One smartphone market analyst is hitching the direction of LG’s smartphone prices on how well a limited-lot super-premium release sells.
ABI Research director David McQueen spoke to Mobile World Live on how the LG V35 Signature Edition, of which 300 units each costing more than $1,700 will ultimately be sold only in Korea, may help or hinder the chaebol’s financially flagging mobile division.
“I very much doubt the LG brand on its own still has the cachet to support this high cost,” McQueen said, claiming that the company is “finding it hard to differentiate its products, with no real standout features even in its flagship devices.”
He points to premium brands like Apple or Porsche Design and its collaboration with Huawei as having more appeal. Ironically, the deprecated Vertu brand, which was partially supported by Nokia, was also mentioned. McQueen also said that risks taken on the G Flex series with curved OLED screens have failed.
So, what does the Signature Edition release mean? Well, LG does hold a distant, but stable third place in the United States behind Apple and Samsung, so it may be able to lead a strategy from that market. McQueen claims that consumer enthusiasm over the luxury brand could be a litmus test “to gauge in which segments [LG] should be placing its energies in the future,” meaning in part that this could have an indirect impact on how the LG G8 (or whatever it will be called) will cost next year.
That said, the LG V30S, also a Signature Edition device, debuted early this year in the US and was called out for its heavy valuation and lack of differentiation against the V30. It almost immediately sold well under its MSRP.