LG to let 4,000 customers test drive its forthcoming G4 smartphone ahead of its debut

LG Electronics is seemingly doing all it can to drum up interest in its next flagship smartphone, the G4, ahead of its official debut on April 28: The company is going to allow select customers to test out the phone before it is formally announced.

"We're putting the success of LG G4 in the hands of consumers before the launch because we believe they are the best judge of user experience, beyond benchmarks and speed tests," Juno Cho, president of LG's mobile division, said in a statement.

The offer comes as LG is trying to create buzz for the G4, which will enter a crowded smartphone market. Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge go on sale today, as does HTC's new flagship phone, the One M9. Just as it did last year, LG is releasing its own high-end smartphone weeks after its main competitors in the Android smartphone market.

LG said it will select 4,000 consumers in 15 countries to test the G4 smartphone for 30 days. The promotion will take place in South Kore as well as 14 other markets: the United States, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Turkey and the UK. [click to tweet]

The company said interested consumers in participating markets are encouraged to check their local LG web page and social media sites in the coming days for more details on how to participate. LG added that individuals can increase their chances of being selected by sharing their application experience on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Weibo. Selected participants will be given various assignments to carry out over the course of their experience with prizes awarded.

"If the issue was related to a software feature we would have the option to address it between the introduction and shipping date," LG spokesman Ken Hong told the Wall Street Journal in response to a question on whether the G4 could actually be changed based on consumer reviews. "If it was related to hardware, it would be more complicated," he said.

In the fourth quarter of 2014, LG shipped 15.6 million smartphones, down from 16.8 million in the third quarter but up from 13.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. LG shipped 20.9 million total handsets (smartphones plus feature phones) in the fourth quarter of 2014, up from 18.7 million in the year-ago period.

Although LG's smartphone sales have been steadily increasing, the firm faces major challenges from heavyweights like Samsung and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL).

LG has been dribbling out little bits of information about the G4 in a bid to spark enthusiasm. LG said it has started the mass production of the 5.5-inch QHD LCD panel with IPS technology that will be used in the G4. LG also revealed that the G4 will sport a will new 16-megapixel camera module with optical image stabilization and a wide f1.8 aperture to let in more light as well as an.8-megapixel front-facing camera. The company has also released a teaser video, as Re/code notes.

For more:
- see this release
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Re/code article

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