LG: Snappy focus, sharp shooter

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LG head of mobile marketing Jeremy Newing (pictured) looks a little jaded. He’s been working 14-16 hour days, as LG has launched five brand new handsets, plus Viewty colour variants, so far in 2009 and continues to make up ground on UK number three Sony Ericsson.

“It’s hectic. It never seems to stop,” he says. But this is good pressure, the kind the Korean manufacturer’s UK team craves. “We can’t complain. Things have gone extremely well this year. We are ahead of target,” he says.

The Viewty Smart, the manufacturer’s follow-up to its popular Viewty handset, is due for launch with Orange this month. Its camera has been boosted from five to eight megapixels. Multi-face detection and an ISO setting, which can be set to 1600 to enable photos in dim lighting without the need for LED flash, have also been added.

It also comes with ‘Intelligent Shot Mode’, which analyses the subject, background and lighting conditions of an image, compares them against seven pre-programmed cases and auto-selects the most appropriate camera settings for the shot. It also issues feedback to show how exactly the camera is analysing particular scenes. It is a feature that remains rare on high-end digital cameras.

The original Viewty has sold almost seven million units globally. The new model is available on Orange in the UK only, which puts a distribution limit on the device at least. But Newing reckons Orange, of all the networks, worked to sell the first Viewty.

“With Orange, in particular, there was a huge subscriber base for the first Viewty. The Viewty Smart has a tough job because the original was a pioneer handset in terms of imaging –  pretty much the first mainstream full touchscreen device following the Prada.

“The majority of cameraphones take photos of a reasonable quality. The secret [to superior devices] is the editing functionality to enhance images being taken.”

The point, ultimately for the industry, is to monetise such gimmicks. Newing suggests highly functional cameras encourage the transmission of images across the mobile networks, via social networking and other means. “They’re more onwardly transmittable,” he says.

Full article in Mobile News issue 441 (June 15, 2009).

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