LG lays out plans to tackle TV market

But ‘Internet of Things’ will form key part of company’s innovation strategy

LG Electronics President and Chief Technology Officer Skott Ahn speaks at the company’s press conference ahead of CES in Las Vegas. Photograph: David Becker/Getty Images

LG Electronics President and Chief Technology Officer Skott Ahn speaks at the company’s press conference ahead of CES in Las Vegas. Photograph: David Becker/Getty Images

 

Electronics firm LG promised big things for 2015, laying out its vision for the internet of things and staked its claim on the OLED TV market for the coming year.

The company’s chief technology officer and president Dr Skott Ahn took to the stage to reveal LG’s plans.

“Innovation for a better life, that’s what LG is always striving for,” he said, with the internet of things (IoT) a key ingredient in that.

“It’s not just about some devices and apps that control them. IoT is what connects everything together that we value and it goes beyond our homes,” he said. “We live our lives at home, at work, outside in the open, inside our cars. The true value of IoT lies in the innovation that is centred around our lives.”

LG is taking an open approach to the maximum value customers get with IoT, Dr Ahn said, with its platform WebOS playing a major part in that. The company unveiled a new version of the platform, which is used on its smart TVs, that simplifies the user interface, speeds up the platform and supports 4K streaming.

LG is planning to extend the platform to more IoT devices, and announced it was working on a wellness platform that goes beyond simple fitness tracking.

“Instead of just showing you a nice looking graph, our wellness platform can make your living environment better by actively controlling appliances, like lighting and air conditioners,” Dr Ahn said.

The company is also showcasing its technologies it is preparing for smartcars, pledging to work with open standards to connect numerous devices from different brands.

Last year, LG unveiled Homechat, a way to interact with smart devices with natural speech. The company is now pushing HomeChat as a familiar and more convenient way to access IoT ecosystem, connecting home systems such as Nest that would automatically put appliances into powersaving mode when you leave home, or to cars, automatically adding your destination to your car’s navigation system.

Big TVs made a return to LG’s stage, with 4K a major part of the company’s plans. But LG is also betting big on OLED TVs for the near future.

“The last 20 years have seen TV technology evolved significantly, but steadily,” said LG Electronics US head of product development Tim Alessi. “This past year we’ve seen a revolution in the development of TV tech - the advent of OLED TV.

“OLED is now widely recognised as pinnacle of current TV hardware and the future of television.”

The company is expecting the market for OLED TVs will exceed one million units sold by 2016, with its TVs mainly driving sales. It’s expanding its OLED lineup during 2015 with seven new TVs, with curved, flat and flexible displays available in 55in, 65in and 77in sizes. The new TVs will be 4K compatible, with about 60 per cent of the 2015 line up using the new ultra high definition standard.

The company also unveiled its new curved smartphone as expected. The LG G Flex 2 is powered by a 64 bit octacore chipset, has a 1080p display and will carry the latest Android Lollipop software.

The phone comes with a 5.5 inch display, which LG identified as the “sweet spot” for users, balancing the large screen with the ability to fit in consumers’ hand comfortably. The phone has also been made more durable to make it able to withstand more impact than before, and improves the self-healing back on the rear of the device, with scratches and scuffs disappearing within seconds.