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2010/02/22 11:06 KST
LG Electronics to launch smartphone with built-in augmented reality feature

By Lee Youkyung
SEOUL, Feb. 22 (Yonhap) -- In an apparent move to guard its domestic market share against rivals like Apple Inc., LG Electronics Inc. has decided to offer a number of built-in services in its second smartphone model in South Korea, rather than leaving users to download them all from application stores, LG said Monday.

   The LG-LU2300 model will be ready-loaded with most frequently used applications, such as an augmented reality service, a technology that identifies names and histories of places or buildings when shown in the camera of a mobile phone.

   "In the past, smartphone users had to download and install all application programs in their new phones," said Na Joo-young, a spokeswoman for LG. "To address concerns from first-time smartphone users who wanted an easy access to numerous applications, we decided to preload the best applications in our phones."

   Applications, abbreviated as apps, refer to optional programs that run various functions. Users may purchase or download free apps from app store that are either run by handset makers or telecom operators.

   The model is scheduled to be released in the second quarter and is based on the Android operating system, created by Google Inc., Na added.

   Apple Inc. finally launched its flagship iPhone model in December last year, making a big splash in the market where more than 80 percent was dominated by local handset makers such as LG and Samsung Electronics Co.

   Apple, which boasts more than 140,000 apps in its Apple app store, produces the iPhone with elementary built-in functions, leaving its users to download desired programs from Apple app stores.
LG, on the other hand, decided to preload its smartphone with applications that LG purchased at a wholesale price, as the company believes that only a limited number of apps are used by users. Augmented reality service is one of them, it said.

   Augmented reality adds a layer of information on top of the view shown on the phone's camera. When a user places LG's phone on a restaurant, it will identify menus, reviews, pictures taken by other users.