LG sidelines tablet development in favor of smartphones

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LG Electronics is putting its tablet development on hold to concentrate on smartphones, according to a company spokesman. The announcement comes just as Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) unveiled its Surface tablet, which it will use to try and more directly compete with Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad.

LG Optimus Pad tablet

LG Optimus Pad

"We've decided to put all new tablet development on the back burner for the time being in order to focus on smartphones," LG spokesman Ken Hong told Bloomberg. Hong also said the Surface does not compete "with anything we're focusing on at the moment."

LG's pullback is notable because it was one of the first to produce an Android Honeycomb tablet in 2011. Earlier this year it produced the Optimus Pad LTE tablet. In late April LG said it would focus squarely on smartphones running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform, though it remained open to returning to Microsoft's Windows Phone in the future.

Many tablet makers have found it hard to gain market share at the expense of Apple. A March report from Forrester Research, for example, found that Apple commanded 73 percent of the tablet market, while other OEMs struggled to crack 5 percent. Forrester found that Samsung had a 5 percent market share, Motorola Mobility (now a part of Google) had 4 percent and Acer had a 3 percent share.

In a blog post for Forbes, industry analyst Tero Kuittinen wrote that Microsoft has decided to compete in tablets on features, not necessarily price. "This could be very painful for HTC and the Google-owned Motorola brand," he wrote, noting that Acer, Asus and Amazon are  already down-market alternatives to the iPad. "But there is a cluster of relatively expensive tablets that have struggled hard to gain any traction--devices by HTC and Motorola in particular. These tablets have tried to compete against the original iPad with more powerful processors--in vain."

Representatives from HTC and Samsung did not immediately respond to requests for comment about their companies' tablet plans, and a Motorola spokeswoman said the company's strategy is "to focus on fewer, bigger launches in smartphones and tablets." 

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Forbes article
- see this CNET article

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