LG promises more iPhone-style handsets

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LG Electronics is preparing to release new handsets with a touch-screen user interface..

The move follows the success of the South Korean firm's Prada KE850 handset, which has sometimes been described as an 'iPhone clone' even though it was announced two months before Apple's product.

LG reported a strong rise in profits in the first quarter of the year, with healthy mobile sales and a resurgence in the LCD market.

Like other mobile vendors, LG has apparently been prompted by the success of Apple's iPhone to explore new user interface designs.

"[New products] with unique UIs, touch screens and internet accessibility are expected to lead to a growth in shipments of 20 per cent and a double-digit operating margin," the firm said.

LG's Mobile Communications Company hit a new quarterly sales record of US$3.48 billion in the first quarter, a 32.6 percent increase on the same period one year ago. The unit shipped 24.4 million handsets during the quarter.

"Shipments to emerging markets including Asia, China and the Middle East increased 36 percent quarter on quarter, and WCDMA sales in the US and Korea increased 18 percent," LG announced in a statement.

"On a global basis, sales and operating profit soared to a record high, thanks to stable operations from all business divisions, mainly from robust sales in handsets and flat-panel TVs."

Sales at LG's Digital Display Company rose 32.1 per cent to US$3.8 billion powered by a rise in sales of flat-screen TVs and monitors, the company said.

LCD TV sales rose 82 per cent over the course of the year, while sales of plasma TVs and monitors were up 18 percent and 33 percent respectively.

LG's export-centric business has been helped by a fall in the value of the Korean currency, which has made prices more attractive for some overseas buyers.
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