LG Electronics will begin mass production next month of its Velvet smartphone aimed at the US, people familiar with the matter told TheElec on Thursday.
The company will make some design changes, including adding a millimeter (mm) wave antenna, from the version it launched for South Korea in May, the people said. LG is aiming to ship 300,000 units for the US market, they added.
The phone will be, in effect, the flagship phone for the second half of the year when it comes to the US, they also said.
LG has previously launched G series smartphones in the first half of the year and V series handsets in the second half, but this has changed starting this year with the launch of Velvet.
Production will begin late this month, but mass production will begin in August. Qualcomm’s mmWave antenna will be used and LG has made the side frames of the smartphone thinner to support smoother signal transfers in mmWave communication.
US is the only country that has commercialized mmWave spectrum. LG Velvet launched in South Korea and Europe only supports sub-6GHz 5G networks. Samsung made similar adjustments for the Galaxy S20 Ultra and Galaxy S20 Plus smartphones aimed at the US market, adding mmWave antenna modules to them.
Though LG has only 2% market share in the global smartphone market, it is estimated to have around 10% in the US. According to CounterPoint Research, the company had a market share of 11% in May, coming in third behind Apple’s 41% and Samsung’s 33%.
Meanwhile, LG is planning to begin production of its smartphone with two display panels __ one of them will slide horizontally __ starting in September. The phone is code named Wing. It will be commercially launched the following month in October. LG is planning to produce 500,000 units of the handset.
The main display for Wing will be supplied by Chinese display firm BOE, while the secondary display will be provided by South Korean display module maker Tovis. Tovis has previously supplied LG with Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) modules. The main display will slide 90-degrees to become horizontal, and the secondary display under it will act as a keyboard.