LG Electronics Introduces the LG G2, Employs Human Research, Pt. 1

I have never been one to try LG products that much, nor do I have much experience with LG products. I understand that LG Electronics is an Android manufacturer of smartphones, but I have spent the last few years more invested in Samsung and Google in the Android world than I have LG, Sony, HTC, and other lesser-known Android manufacturers.


From this research forward, however, I intend to submerse myself more into Android life than ever before. LG’s G2 product announcement is the beginning of my interest in LG Electronics. I can say that I haven’t spent the majority of my life without LG: a number of relatives have experienced LG flip phones, including my mother. I grew up living on Motorola flip phones, however, so LG provides a means by which I can expand my horizons. It can never hurt you to know more.


LG G2 Announcement

LG Posters Point to Surprises


LG came out with it’s A-game at its G2 presentation. Prior to the G2 announcement, LG had posters all over New York with the words “LG G2 Day: New York, Coming Soon,” featuring a black smartphone with a semi-invisible finger pointing in ghostly fashion towards some sort of volume and power controls on smartphone. Rumors abounded prior to the announcement that LG would emerge with back controls on its newest smartphone, and that LG would drop the Optimus label on its smartphone collection in favor of “G.”


LG G2- Great 2 Be Here


The next poster in favor of LG’s newest smartphone featured the same smartphone with finger-pointing controls and the words “Great 2 be here,” followed by “LG G2 Day, August 7, 2013.” Again, the “G” in “Great” and the number “2” for the word (“to”) told consumers all they needed to know: the new smartphone would be named the LG G2.


LG Creates Suspense With Message Written Everywhere


One thing that you get a sense of when watching LG’s product presentation is that they put a lot of effort into adding suspense and thought to the product announcement. One thing I was particularly impressed with when watching the presentation video was the fact that they took one message and wrote it on a poster at the subway station, on a road sign, on a park bench, by way of a sign that created a shadow in the sand at presumably a beach, as well as other places.


LG G2 Bench Theme


In fact, when the presentation starts, you see the message “‘To me you are perfect’ From G” in each of these places – which gets you to wondering, “Why is this message plastered at so many locations? How does this message tie into LG’s newest smartphone?” I think LG created this video introduction for that purpose: to get consumers to think about what the presentation would be about, and how the message fit with the presentation philosophy.


Samsung had its own product presentation of the GS4 back earlier this Spring, and Samsung’s whole commercial and introduction were centered around a white box that made you wonder as to its contents. After you started watching the presentation, Samsung opened the box and pulled out the phones for the consumer audience to see and applaud. I applaud LG for being creative with its presentation, differing their approach from Samsung and making the effort to try its hand at creativity – unlike Apple, who does nothing to draw consumers to its product presentations.


While Apple has a longer-standing name in the smartphone market when compared to LG and Samsung, I still think Apple could take some initiative here. Apple does have major music groups appear and perform at its product presentations each September, but music groups are not the same as crafting messages and putting up posters that are thought-provoking.


It’s not every day that manufacturers appeal to the mind; often, they appeal to your pockets/wallet/purse and are only interested in your money. LG’s message, that “to me, you [humans] are perfect,” sends a message that LG is truly interested in its consumer base beyond their buying power (although LG wants consumers to invest heavily in their product, as does every manufacturer).


LG Reveals the Connection Between Message and Its Newest Smartphone


Introducing the LG G2


Upon unveiling the LG G2, which each customer anticipated (by the looks on their faces), LG’s poster showed the new smartphone with the words “Learning From You,” a reference to its consistent message of “‘to me, you are perfect’ From G” that was plastered on every bench, wall, sand location, and street sign possible. How do these two connect together? LG’s President discussed the meaning and connected the dots for audience members who may not have put two and two together.


In a way, you could say that consumers (by that I mean all humans) are imperfect creatures. But at the same time, nothing is as perfect as a human being. So we do our very best to understand the needs of consumers and spend countless hours trying to understand from them. Human behaviors and habits are the manual for product development. By better understanding a product from a consumer’s point of view, we are armed with ability to enrich their lives…LG believes today’s innovation must resonate with consumers. Our newest smartphone makes an effort to understand, learn, and better reflect human behavior. [~1:25:00-1:27:00 in presentation video]


What does LG’s president mean by the above words, that humans are imperfect, yet perfect? He means that we make mistakes and are fallible at times, yet there is nothing on earth that comes with the same capabilities, thoughts, emotions, and dreams as human beings. What else on earth possesses the same capabilities that we do? Nothing. Man is unrivaled in his power on earth.


Not only is man unrivaled in his power and ability, but he also has mastery over things on earth, such as the trees (he can use for firewood or to build a home or cabin), he can use or abuse the environment (recycle or pollute), he can hunt and tame animals, he can even fly to the moon.


Mankind has these capabilities, and there are no other creatures on earth that possess this kind of potential. There are universal desires that every human on earth has, such as the desire to be loved, to be accepted, to find his or her sense or purpose/destiny in life, to discover his or her talents and abilities, etc. If these universals unite each man and woman on earth, then despite the unpredictability and fickleness of human nature, there are still some common themes that tie each human being together. Why not use common desires for technology, for example, and create a smartphone that “learns from you”?


If there is nothing on earth as perfect as a human being, why would we not listen to humans when we design smartphones? This becomes a task LG takes up throughout the presentation, as the entire LG G2 experience was crafted through human surveys and through listening to human opinions on those surveys.


LG’s Human Surveys Extend Human Focus in Smartphone World


LG is not alone in this “human research,” however, as other companies have done the same thing. Google-Motorola just recently announced the iPhone 5 competitor in the Moto X, and it Google’s Eric Schmidt admitted to studying the human hand for 6-8 years in order to provide a phone that would fit comfortably. This is why the Moto X has a curved backplate, for example – because it is an ergonomic construction that just feels natural to your hand. It’s almost as if the phone is all you feel (and even your hand fades away in the distance).


Samsung has designed a smartphone that allows you to use the GS4, even with gloves on. In its GS3, Samsung stated that the smartphone was created “by nature, for humans,” including sounds of rain and so forth in nature that make humans comfortable. In the GS4, Samsung went a step further and wanted to create a smartphone around the theme of human lifestyle, how humans use their smartphones.


This is why Samsung includes an S-Translator (to translate confusing languages or dialects) as well as S-Health (designed to keep track of your progress in weight loss and physical activities). The GS4 Active, a GS4 variant, was created later and named “Active” because Samsung designed a rugged smartphone (that is water and dust-resistant) for those who lead an “active” lifestyle and are always on the go.

When Apple redesigned its ear pods, it did so, according to Sir Jony Ive, by examining the human ear for some time before crafting a “one-size-fits-all” earpod set. LG provides the results of its own human survey, but it also employs new features to its smartphone (and a new perspective) that really impressed me.


One of the most impressive things about LG’s newest G2 smartphone is that the G2 is crafted with an ergonomic appeal. No, LG did not study the human hand like Google did, but they did study hand positions in order to craft the G2. That is, LG conducted a survey in which they got to study how humans hold their phones in their hands.


The results? LG discovered that humans like to hold their index finger in the back middle of the smartphone, both when they talk on the phone and when taking pictures on their smartphone. Since this seems to be a comfortable position of how humans hold their smartphones, LG decided to make a smartphone that would aid this comfort. The result of LG’s study and work is that the LG G2 has both volume and power controls on the back of the phone – leaving the front to have a very thin bezel with the majority of the phone’s front dominated by its massive, 5.2-inch display. According to LG’s President:


This is the result of thousands of hours of research and development, with you in mind…the most innovative aspect of the LG G2 is its design, with the real key being the feature everyone has been talking about since the news first became public. It is certainly different; however, the sole purpose of this design shift was not just to be different, but the idea was born from one of the key findings we learned from our human research.


Think about it: where is your index finger when you’re talking on your phone? Right on the back of your device. Relocating the power button and volume keys to the back is not just a physical change; it also changes the way we interact with the phone. Simply, everything’s more convenient. This is what we learned from you. And when we moved the buttons, we saw one of the benefits: the screen, nothing on the sides…you will never be able to go back to your old phone.


I can attest to the index finger placement on the back of the device. I watched a video recently of a tech site forum discussion at Google Hangouts that showed the Editorial Director of the tech site holding a Nokia Lumia 1020. How was he holding it? He had his index finger at the back middle of the smartphone. Recently, I have taken notice of this when examining the actions of other individuals who are taking photos of events, signs, or people.


The LG G2 echoes the message seen on the park bench, road sign, and poster at the subway station: “To me, you are perfect.” Because humans are, in a sense, the closest thing to perfection on the earth, LG decided that human behavior and interaction with smartphones was a concept worth studying and using to create a smartphone designed by humans for humans. LG shows that it desires to change the industry by creating a smartphone for humans that is not done just to be different or “for the sake of innovation.” “Innovation for the sake of innovation is old school,” said LG’s president. The result of this is that the LG G2 gets great applause from me for its form factor and design. There will be more to cover about the LG G2’s display and design in part 2. Stay tuned.

Now read LG G2 Part 2-A

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