LG figured it out: Become Google's pet, get the goods

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| Published: May 3, 2013

Last year we saw the unveiling of the latest Google Nexus device, the Nexus 4. While many had been speculating for quite some time about which manufacturer would produce the newest Nexus, we were surprised to find out that LG had become “The Chosen One” over more popular manufacturers like Samsung, HTC, or even Google’s own acquired Motorola. There was broad skepticism about how well the Nexus 4 would fare given that most of the time LG specialized in mid-range Android devices, but as it turns out the Nexus 4 was a surprisingly good hit for LG. Life truly is good for the South Korean company after the introduction of the Nexus 4.

And presumably it’s only getting better!

According to rumors and reports from TechCrunch and the Korea Times, LG is already in the works for a Nexus 5 – not to be confused with the presumed release of a new Nexus 4 during Google I/O this year. The reports claim that a new Nexus 5 would be a completely new device that features a quad-core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, which would make it much quicker than the processor we see on the current Nexus 4 model which runs on a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon Pro. While not much else has been speculated about the next generation Nexus devices, it has been mentioned that LG is trying to cozy up with Google to benefit in more ways than just one.

In the same article from the Korea Times, it explains that LG is hoping to connect with Google by using TVs and also may take part in implementing a Google Glass-esque project of its own. This isn’t necessarily surprising news given that LG has been popular for making other electronics like TVs, and has recently pushed a patent in relation to head-mounted displays. By pushing forward in their business endeavors alongside Google, could this be where LG really begins to shine?

The release of the LG Nexus 4 and the Optimus G is what pushed such successful sales for the first quarter of 2013, placing LG in a distant third among smartphone competitors, behind Samsung and Apple. I’m interested to see where Q2 will carry them, but if the alleged “new” Nexus 4 ends up not being released until Q3 I can’t say I expect a whole lot – even from the LG Optimus G Pro, which looks like an good enough device, but happens to be an AT&T exclusive (why would you do that, LG?) that will be available in one week starting on May 10. I've said this before and I will say it again, exclusives don't help anyone but the provider in the end.

I have to admit that I like the direction that LG is heading in. I've had a very rocky relationship with LG. I loved their feature phones, such as the LG Lotus, but was less-than-impressed with my first experience using one of their Android smartphones, the LG Optimus V. However, given the fact that the device was never meant to be a powerhouse I should not have expected anything more than mediocre performance at best. While working for Sprint I saw the unveiling of the LG Viper, which again wasn’t the best phone but they were making some notable improvements to make their way ahead in the smartphone industry and break from that “mid-range Android” label that most people knew them for. The LG Optimus G was another mold-breaking device that ultimately did the company good.

Before partnering up with Google to the extent that it is now, LG was practically a nobody. You see, LG is that punk in school that has the potential to do great things but doesn’t have the social skills to promote them. But LG has learned that when you become homies with that really nice jock who knows everybody in the school (that would be Google), Google got your back and will promote for you. Google is essentially the sugar daddy of the mobile industry, and LG is beginning to reap in the sweet, sweet benefits of partnering up with the sugar daddy. If this keeps up and Google does indeed allow LG to create a successor to the Nexus 4, along with letting them in on the Google Glass deal, then it might not be too long before we see a much smaller gap in profits between Samsung and LG. LG figured out the system.

Readers, what have your views on LG been since the release of the Nexus 4? Did your view of them change from before and after? Would you be interested in a Nexus 5 made by LG? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!