In contrast to previous years, where more and more manufacturers have chosen to launch their flagship products outside the usual orbit of CES, MWC, and IFA, LG is reversing tack and looking to once again launch its flagship phone at MWC 2019. This year, that phone will be the LG G8.
Launching just before or after a trade show is meant to avoid the diluted attention brought on by a cacophony of conflicting product launches. The downside of such a move is that some trade shows have become bereft of the highest profile announcements.
With the G8, LG isn’t just trying to steal the limelight on a less packed global stage, the company also wants to accelerate its 2019 production schedule. For what, I cannot say, but the move seems to run contrary to LG’s previously stated intention to only launch new products when the technology has advanced enough to warrant it.
Which is not, of course, to indicate LG is planning a G8 with a flexible display. On the contrary — while a flexible prototype had been planned for CES, the company changed its mind because it wanted to keep the focus on products with a more concrete, consumer-ready timeline. For the same reason, we’re unlikely to see that prototype at MWC either.
Launching the G8 at MWC 2019 is a bold, somewhat necessary move for LG.
Since the last time LG launched a phone at MWC – the ill-fated LG G5 in 2016 – the mobile landscape has changed somewhat. Where once LG would have been among those at center stage, Xiaomi is rumored to be planning a launch on the same day as LG. A few years ago such a move would have seemed foolish, whereas now it’s a bold power play.
Nothing is set in stone though. Given the competition, the complications an accelerated launch produces (most notably the long delay between announcement and the time review units are available), and the fragile logistics of any major launch, there’s every possibility that LG may ultimately decide to torpedo the entire plan. Despite the risks, it would be good to see LG back on the front foot, going toe-to-toe with its new, albeit unexpected, competition. For LG, it’s time to get back in the game.
Stay tuned for more as we approach MWC 2019, and be sure to check out the rest of our coverage at CES 2019.