Later today, Samsung will reveal the Galaxy S4, perhaps the most highly anticipated Android handset release to date. The Galaxy S3 sold better than any Android handset in history, setting up the S4 for even more hype. Given what we’ve heard through the rumor mill, it could very well deliver. That’s no small accomplishment, either.
Competitors, unsurprisingly, have Galaxy envy. They’re trying to topple Samsung from its place atop the Android world. HTC makes its stand with the HTC One, but it probably won’t be enough. HTC once showed promise in the Android world, with the Nexus One followed by the Droid Incredible, but it has lost its luster in recent years. Blame it on its poor Sense UI, blame it on poor marketing; it doesn’t matter. Chances are remote for HTC making a serious dent in Samsung’s market share.
For years LG toiled in the Android market. They put out a number of handsets, most notably under their Optimus flagship line, but also weren’t able to make much of a dent. Their biggest successes came from mid-range handsets sold through prepaid carriers. The cost effectiveness won over customers in those markets, while contract customers typically stuck with big names like Samsung and Motorola.
LG, though, seemingly thinks its time has come. It made waves when Google commissioned it to build the Nexus 4. It also went for the high end of the market with the Optimus G — and it’s not afraid to let you know that while you have to wait for the Galaxy S4, you can get the Optimus G right now.
That is Times Square, in the heart of New York City. Millions of people will potentially see that enormous billboard. It likely won’t detract from Samsung’s sales; clever advertising is not necessarily effective advertising. But it does speak to LG’s desire to rise up the Android ranks.
Advertising isn’t the only trick LG has up its sleeve. At this evening’s event, Samsung will reportedly show off eye tracking features for the S4. When your eyes get to the bottom of the screen, it will automatically scroll up. And that’s just one potential use for eye tracking software. Want another one? You can look to LG for that.
The LG Optimus G Pro (CNET review), unveiled at Mobile World Congress last month, has the potential to disrupt the “phablet” market. (And yes, “phablet” deserves quotes, because it’s a cheesy term that will hopefully die out soon enough.) LG has big plans for it, too. In fact, it announced today that it will release eye-recognition software as an update. The phone isn’t yet available in America, and it doesn’t appear that LG has any plans to add the software to the plain old Optimus G. But it would appear that Samsung isn’t the only one coming out with this neat new technology.
Does LG have a chance where HTC does not? It’s possible. At the very least, LG is willing to go straight at the market titan. That might not do them many favors, but it shows that they are deadly serious about becoming a major Android player. Even if their plays don’t vault them to the top, they could enjoy a solid place at the table right behind Samsung.
Even that could take some serious work, though. As you can see from this App Brain report, LG doesn’t even have a handset in the top 20 (by their measurements, which count only AppBrain users). That could be a huge obstacle to hurdle. But with a series of quality handsets in the Nexus 4, Optimus G, and G Pro, perhaps LG is ready. It seems they have a bit more juice these days than HTC.