LG, the third largest handset maker in the world, is about to release its new 4G-enabled Thrill. It will be marketed by AT&T (NYSE: T).
The Thrill is another in a flood of 4G handsets available in the U.S. These include products from rapidly growing, Taiwan-based smartphone firm HTC and from Samsung, the world’s second largest handset company.
Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ), AT&T and Sprint-Nextel (NYSE: S) now promote 4G more than any single handset. The new superfast wireless service replaces 3G service, which many smartphone owners, who want their handsets to be true PC replacements, view as too slow. Many of these smartphones already have the processor speed and operating systems to be PC-like devices. They just do not have the broadband connectivity that comes from landline cable and fiber optics.
Oddly, it is the most innovative company in the smartphone business — Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) — that will be left behind as the national 4G customer base grows. Its new iPhone 5, which launches in a month, will not be 4G enabled. Apple is unlikely to have another generation of the smartphone out until early next year. Many of its less successful rivals will have had 4G products in the market for at least a year by then.
LG is considered one of the least imaginative creators of smartphones, but even it sees that 4G is where its future sales will be.
Douglas A. McIntyre