CES: LG Optimus Black, the world's first dual-core cellphone


Photo: Heather Beschizza

Korean electronics giant LG today announced the Optimus Black, touted as the industry's most powerful cellphone.

"It is the world's first smartphone with a dual core CPU," said Dr. Skott Ahn, President and CEO of LG's mobile division. "It's able to play back 1080p HD movies. It's true cinema in your pocket."

At 9.2mm thick and weighing 3.8 ounces, the HDMI-equipped phone is even thinner than other premium Android-powered offerings and Apple's iPhone 4. "In that small frame is packed what we call a Nova display, the world's brightest at 700 nits."

The display is 4 inches across, and Optimus will come with a 2MP forward-facing camera. It'll be out sometime before the summer, with LG's own LTE chipset for use on next-gen 4G cellular networks. Detailed tech specs–such as display resolution–weren't on offer.


Also announced at LG's CES press conference was a new user interface for 2011's TV sets, which give built-in access to YouTube, Netflix and Twitter; a portable HD TV tuner; and WiFi-connected home appliances.

One of the first major events at this year's show, LG's announcement kicks off what's hoped to be a strong year for Google' Android mobile operating system. Already expected to catch up soon with Apple's iOS in at the premium end of the market, at least in sales volume, more modest versions will also invade the low-end, currently dominated by "featurephones" and Nokia's Symbian OS.

The press conference kicked off in the Venetian hotel's Casanova ballroom with a dire pre-recorded celebrity turn from Glee star Jane Lynch, who thanked reporters for turning up at the "ungodly hour" of 8 a.m. and demanded that LG impress her. Waiting for the event to begin, reporters milled around the cellphones on display at the front, or listened in their seats to LG's selection of intricately textured smooth jazz.

"Ladies and gentlemen, our program will begin in five minutes," a voice boomed over the PA system, simultaneously authoritative and familial. "Please, take your seats."

It was largely ignored until the jazz faded out; an expectant silence left in its wake heralded the event's true beginning.

First up was LG Vice President John Taylor, who said that Jane Lynch must be confused about the ungodly hour thing, then followed up with a remark about time zones. Then he said "We have a fast schedule today, so let's get on with it!" and introduced fellow LG executive, LG USA CEO Wayne Park.

Wayne Park's introductory theme tune was a driving, steeldrum-hinted blast of techo, which roared briefly back into life as he began his presentation; a production error that offered Park an early opportunity to illustrate his confidence in the face of unreliable technology. He segued into discussion of LG's solid foundation of success in the refridgerator market.

In its electrical companies alone, Park said, LG would invest $12bn in research and development this year.

Dr. Skott Ahn, next up, followed the Optimus announcecement with details of the Smart TV UI that LG plans to launch across its product lineup: "2011 is all about smart products. Smart TVs, smart mobiles, smart appliances," he said.

Similar to Google TV, Apple TV, Boxee and the like, LG's Smart TV adds a user-friendly content-surfing interface and hooks into services like YouTube, Netflix and Hulu.

"Yes, we have an appstore," added Ahn, a note of coy, come-hither insoucience warming the executive's hitherto measured delivery.

Other new products scheduled this yearby LG include affordable and bright 3D television sets, wifi-equipped refridgerators, washing machines, ovens and autonomous vacuum cleaners.

"Imagine a refridgerator that has the ability to send you a text message while you're at the store," said LG Product Insight Manager Patrick Steinkuhl. Steinkuhl also highlighted the "converta-draw," a revolution in fridge storage flexibility.