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LG's e-reader to take on rivals iPad, Kindle

Apple's Ipad is set to go on sale in the United States from March. (REUTERS)

By Nancy Sudheer

Consumer Electronics major LG plans to introduce its own e-reader by April in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) market competing with Apple's latest iPad and Amazon's Kindle.

LG's CEO (MEA), KW Kim, told Emirates Business: "We will soon launch a new product, maybe by April. It will compete with Apple and Amazon."

Incidently, the company also received a global order for a large volume of displays used in Apple's tablet-style device iPad.

Kim also revealed that the company is in talks with telecom operator etisalat to launch a line of notebooks integrated with Google's operating system.

He was not willing to provide details but insisted this would be a revolutionary product. Etisalat has formal tie-ups with Acer and HP where it offers notebooks along with a data package.

The South Korean manufacturer also plans to cash in on the social networking craze by providing the facility across its line of mobile and smart phones. Currently, LG offers two mobile phones, GD880 and GT350, with touch screens and at the core designed for social networking and multimedia. A new Social Network Feed offers instantly generated updates to the home screen from family and friends.

Touch screen smartphones and 3D televisions are two promising product areas for LG, said Kim. "Currently, we are checking the marketability of 3D televisions and the acceptance level in the region. The global launch will happen first and, after completing our survey for the region, 3D TVs will be launched first in the UAE for the MEA region. The time schedule will be around May or June."

He does not see purchasing power as a challenge in the UAE. "Customers are ready to pay a premium and cost is not an issue. The challenge will be in the software availability for 3D TVs in the region. With the release of the international blockbuster movie Avatar there was something made available.

It is also important to sync with the broadcasting players to check the availability of programmes, especially with the world cup football games coming up."

Kim hopes to launch LG's 3D television before the world cup to take advantage of increased consumer demand for the event.

"There are no 3D software and broadcasting programmes available. We are waiting to hear from these companies. The special glasses for 3D will also be expensive in the beginning but will come down as the scale of innovation and production increases," he said.

Kim was also concerned about active and passive technology presently available in 3D TV.

"Active technology used in 3D TVs can make consumers dizzy and therefore its being checked in Korea. While passive technology does not create such high power, making it comfortable for viewing. Even our close competitors are looking at launching it soon by February or March."

LG will complete its survey in February and then set up its marketing plan selecting the right channel for communication. "The packaging of accessories is another area of concern, especially as it has to be done before the football games. I am also hoping that there is 3D software available in the market," Kim said.


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