Will LG's feature phone reputation precede them in the smartphone market?

Taylor Martin
 from  Concord, NC
| January 7, 2011

When it comes to smartphones, there are three different levels of devices. Aside from different operating systems you have different levels of build quality: low-end, mid-range, and high-end. High-end devices are like the HTC EVO and Samsung's Galaxy S line; mid-range devices are like the LG Ally and HTC Aria; and low-end devices – ones that straddle the fine line between a feature phone and smartphone – are like the Motorola FLIPOUT or the LG Optimus S.

When I hear someone talking about LG, aside from washers, dryers, and other home appliances, I think of cell phones. LG has grown a reputation for feature phones and flip phones over the years, most notably their EnV line of devices. Most of their feature phones are known to have a rather mediocre build quality. Early last year, LG started breaking into the smartphone world with their first Android handset, the LG Ally. They were also one of the first manufacturers to release a Windows Phone 7 device in the US. But all of the devices we've seen from LG up until the middle of December were mostly low-end devices with some mid-range recently added to the mix.

However, the launch of the Optimus 2X in Korea marked the dawn of a new era for the company. LG caught us off guard with the 2X. It had been rumored several times, but never did I think LG would be the first to out a phone with a dual-core processor. That was something I expected from Motorola or HTC. But that isn't all. The display on the Optimus Black is an entirely new technology in phones, too. The 4-inch NOVA display requires 50% less power while still being bright enough for comfortable use. This, I'm sure, is unsettling for Samsung since it could knock the Super AMOLED from its pedestal.

We're entering day two of CES 2011 and we've already been introduced to three high-end devices from LG and even a tablet. The Optimus 2X, Optimus Black, and Revolution all appear to have very nice build quality and definitely carry full enough spec sheets to compete with the other mobile heavyweights' flagship devices. The one thing I'll be interested to see though, is how this all plays out for LG. Will their reputation for mediocre build quality in previous phones precede them? Or will people give them a fair chance?

Just from reading through some of the comments on the recent articles about LG, I can tell a lot of people are getting excited over the new devices. But I'm sure a lot of people will be hesitant. They will need first-hand reassurance of the build quality before they shell out a couple hundred dollars for one of these babies.

As they venture into uncharted territory, LG's fate in the mobile world is unclear. Could they be the next powerhouse in mobile tech? It's possible, but they're going to need more than just specs to cement their place. Maybe they've already learned from Samsung's mistakes. Are you interested in one of LG's announced phones? Would you not buy one of them based on a previous experience with LG?