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February 27, 2017

Huawei, LG, Nokia Challenge Smartphone Leaders

Samsung is at Mobile World Congress this week. But the smartphone market share leader is focused on introducing tablets as opposed to phones. Meanwhile, No. 2 smart phone player Apple has foregone the Barcelona event altogether, true to its style of only participating in events over which it has total control. And Google doesn’t have much of a presence at the big gathering, although devices based on its Android operating system are certainly in evidence.

No matter. There’s still plenty of smartphone action this week in the Catalonian capital.

There, the Consumer Business Group of telecommunications powerhouse Huawei has launched the P10 and P10 Plus smartphones, along with a couple of smartwatches. These cell phones are garnering attention for their built-in Leica cameras. The P10 includes the Leica Dual-Camera 2.0, and the P10 Plus features the Leica Dual-Camera 2.0 Pro.

Meanwhile, LG is talking about its G6 smartphone. This smartphone is unique in that it presents content across the entire face of its 5.7-inch screen.

“The LG G6 with FullVision was inspired by the philosophy of experts in the movie industry who believe that an 18:9 ratio screen would be the best solution for viewing both old and new cinematic content in the digital age,” said Juno Cho, president of the LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “We’ve not only embraced that philosophy in our newest smartphone but taken it to a whole new level by incorporating the 18:9 format in many other ways. I think users will appreciate the many ways we’ve made the LG G6 more productive.”

Others like HMD Global Oy and Lenovo Group have hopped on the smartphone hog pile as well. The former company, which has a licensing relationship with Nokia, has introduced a couple of smartphones under its partner’s name. And Lenovo Group, the company which purchased part of Motorola’s business awhile back, has come out with the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus models. Reports indicate that Sony Corp. is considering working with Japanese messaging service Line Corp. to develop smartphones as well, and those devices are expected to leverage artificial intelligence.

All this points to a push by other vendors to make a bigger mark in the smartphone arena.

While it might seem that Samsung’s and Apple’s leadership positions in this category are cemented, Apple’s phones have been in the market a good long time, so some users might be ready for a change. Meanwhile, Samsung is still trying to overcome the exploding phone public relations nightmare it had with the Note 7. And some of these devices are targeted at new markets and customers.

Some of the smaller smartphone players are coming out with more affordable and/or more fun devices. Nokia, which years ago was considered the innovator in the cell phone space, has reintroduced the 3310 that helped make it famous in this product category. The new 3310 is brightly colored, has a battery that lasts for a whole month, a two-megapixel camera, and a 2.4-inch screen. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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