LG Said to Delay Introduction of Tablet Computer

LG Said to Delay Introduction of Tablet Computer
LG Electronics mobile phones displayed at an electronics shopping mall in Seoul. Photographer: Seokyong Lee/Bloomberg

LG Electronics Inc., the third-largest mobile-phone maker, will likely delay the unveiling of a tablet computer until next year to focus on offering handsets that can rival Apple Inc.’s iPhone, an LG official said.

LG will probably introduce the product running on Google Inc.’s Android operating system at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, said the official, who asked not to be identified because the plan hasn’t been announced. While the hardware is ready, LG is still working on the device’s software, the official said. The company said in July it planned to sell its first tablet computer during the fourth quarter.

In the past month, the South Korean electronics maker replaced its chief executive officer and overhauled management after LG’s failure to capture the booming demand for smartphones led to a record loss at its main handset business. LG aims to sell 10 million units of Optimus One smartphones before it takes on Samsung Electronics Co., Research In Motion Ltd. and Apple’s iPad in the tablet market.

“The company may not fully enjoy the expected boom of tablet computers next year,” said Im Jeong Jae, a fund manager in Seoul at Shinhan BNP Paribas Asset Management Co., which oversees $28 billion of assets. “Now is the best time to launch such a product to become top-tier sellers.”

PlayBook, iPad

LG Electronics fell 1.4 percent to close at a three-month low of 95,300 won in Seoul. South Korea’s benchmark Kospi Index rose 0.1 percent.

“LG plans to release tablet computers with an operating system optimized for the devices,” the company said in an e-mailed statement in response to queries on the new tablet.

The device, which has yet to be named, sports a display larger than the seven-inch screen of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, the official said. LG is in talks with carriers on pricing, the person said.

“LG should improve its smartphone and TV businesses first,” said Chun Sung Hoon, an analyst at Hana Daetoo Securities Co. in Seoul.

Research In Motion last month unveiled the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet computer. The device will be available in the U.S. in early 2011 and in other countries in the second quarter, according to the company.

Apple sold 3 million iPads in the first 80 days after the device’s April debut, eclipsing sales of its iPod music player.

Sales of such tablet computers could reach 16 million units this year and 35 million in 2011, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a report last month.

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