In the past three years or so LG has become a household name when it comes to Android device manufacturer. We have seen devices like LG G2, the Nexus 5 and the LG G5, each of which has brought something super unique to the Android ecosystem. In fact, one could argue that LG has probably been the manufacturer to push the envelope forward, as far as hardware innovations go. Be it the volume rockers at the back, modular smartphones or coming up with a Nexus phone that the average customer really loved, LG has done some really cool work.
Therefore, it was only obvious that we were super interested in speaking to somebody at LG who would give us a perspective of what is going on. And who better to speak about it than Mr Amit Gujral, the Head-Marketing, Mobile Communication Division at LG, the face, we all have seen on the stage at virtually all LG smartphone launch events here in India.
Pricebaba: First of all, congratulations for the launch of the LG G5 here in India. It is the first truly modular smartphone, what was the inspiration behind it?
Mr Amit Gujral: As Smartphones are becoming mundane, consumers world over were looking for something refreshing and also something which can serve as a single device but certainly able to perform. More functions which otherwise are served to consumers as extra and separate devices. Moreover, consumers were feeling they had lost the instinct to PLAY as their current smartphones do not offer anything refreshing or playful beyond the regular stuff. Such consumer sentiments were the basic inspiration behind the creation of LG G5.
PB: We saw LG doing self-healing phones, phones with bendable displays, moving volume rockers to the back and now bringing ‘Friends’. Is it fair to say that hardware innovation more than software has been at the heart of what LG has been doing?
AG: We are developing smartphones driven by our philosophy, ‘Learning From You’ wherein Consumers are researched worldwide and they are understood of their smartphone usage patterns and needs. All the Innovations driven at LG Mobiles are a result of such consumer research and are meaningful value additions to our consumers worldwide which are aimed at Convenience and Elegance and practical, feasible, simple translation of their needs into functionalities. No Hardware innovation is feasible as a stand alone without the compatible software inside. Thus, it’s combination of both hardware and software innovations which make the solution complete.
PB: We saw three generations of Nexus devices come from LG, the LG Nexus 4, 5 and most recently the Nexus 5X. How was the experience of working with Google and what really goes behind the scenes when a Nexus device is being made?
AG: Well, as Nexus is primarily a Google platform, it’s Google’s choice to select a device partner basis the proposition they intend to foster with every new Nexus programme. We were fitting best as Design, Hardware and Software solution provider to them as a Device Manufacturer continuously for 3 times in succession and we thoroughly enjoyed the partnership.
PB: How has the India market been for Nexus devices? The Nexus 5 surely has a cult status with geeks!
AG: Indian market welcomes any good proposition.
PB: We live in a time where virtually every gadget before it is launched, is ‘leaked’ out on the internet. Do you try and double down to try and close these sources or is it more like you are resigned to the power of the web?
AG: We respect the media of their profession. However, its onus on us to prevent the surprises being shared out of our platforms, thus we have processes in place to protect the information from getting out before its right time.
PB: Other than smartphones, LG has never really brought a tablet to the Indian market. Are you still active in that space and what are your thoughts on the whole notion that we are in a post-PC era and PCs are a thing of the past especially as LG recently announced a gorgeous new laptop.
AG: Actually the 5+ inch Smartphones with loaded capabilities are almost nearing the usage of tabs. There is a very thin line of differentiation between the two. Thus, at LG we constantly measure the consumer sentiments and bring the solutions which are most optimum and desired by consumers.
PB: As a brand, LG has never really participated in the whole flash sale model or online exclusive products. What are your thoughts on more and more players trying this strategy to build hype and generate interest around their products?
AG: No comments.
PB: How has the influx of major Chinese brands, who are really selling top hardware at a fraction of the cost in India affected LG, if at all. Do you keep an eye on their prices and what they are doing? And if so, who has impressed you the most?
AG: We welcome any and all competition. It keeps us on toes to deliver better and better every time with Product propositions which we bring first and others tend to copy.
PB: LG introduced the K7 and K10 recently, which are devices that are Made in India. Any plans for the flagship devices like the G5 itself, to be manufactured in India anytime soon?
AG: Make In India is a very prestigious and strategic move we have taken in 2016. We started the Make in India program with LG K7 & K10 and within a month we brought LG Stylus 2, also made in India.
Our consumers’ response on these devices is very encouraging and that suggests us to go stronger on this Make In India initiative.
PB: On a regular day, what are the gadgets that Amit Gujral carries with himself?
AG: These days, I am using LG G5, LG Watch Urbane and LG TONE INFINEON NECK BAND to suit my lifestyle and personality.
PB: If there is one advice you were to give to any consumer who is looking to buy a smartphone, what would the advice to him be?
AG: Buy the device that fits your needs of a good design to express yourself, good performance and comes with great after sales service.
We thank Amit for his valuable time and speaking to us for this interview. Until the third edition of Pricebaba Talk, happy shopping!