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LG Viewty Phone Wins Heart of Europe

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 LG Viewty Phone Wins Heart of Europe
LG Electronics is excited about European consumers' initial response to its latest strategic product, the Viewty phone.

The company said Thursday that the first 200,000 units sold out in only three weeks in 14 European countries.

The Viewty is a high-end five million pixel camera phone with a 3-inch wide screen. Most camera phones in the market have a picture resolution between 0.5 million and three million.

LG said that the brisk start is especially encouraging because the Viewty is more expensive than its previous bestsellers such as the Chocolate and the Shine, thus raising LG's brand value in the market. Though the actual retail price varies depending on country and carrier, because of subsidies and rebates, the recommended price of Viewty is 550 euros (763,000 won)

``The response from `early adapters' in Europe to our Viewty phone is hot,'' said Ma Chang-min, LG's chief mobile phone strategist. ``We are going to hold various promotional events so consumers can try its advanced camera features.''

According to market research firm Strategy Analytics, LG is the fifth largest handset maker in the world with a 7.7-percent share, following Nokia, Samsung Electronics, Motorola and Sony-Ericsson. But LG's phones are expensive. The average price of all its phone was $125 in the third quarter of this year, second only to Sony Ericsson ($171) but higher than Samsung ($123), Motorola ($121) and Nokia ($116).

A series of fashionable mobile phones, such as the Chocolate, Shine and Prada, boosted LG's phone business over the past three years. The Chocolate has sold more than 11 million units worldwide so far.

THe Viewty earned its name from its powerful camera features, as well as its sleek design. The front panel has a 3-inch touch-sensitive screen, and is only 14.8 millimeters thick.

After Europe, LG plans to launch the new handset in Asian and African countries this month starting in Hong Kong and Singapore. Its Korean debut is slated for mid-December. All three local mobile carriers will sell it, and the Korean version will be 1 millimeter slimmer than those being sold in Europe, the firm said.

Strategy Analytics forecasts that demand for camera phones will double to one billion over the next five years. Among them, around 200 million will be high-end units with five million or more pixels, it said.

The Viewty is not the most technologically advanced camera phone ever sold. Last year, LG's cross-town rival Samsung Electronics released a 10-million pixel phone, but its bulkiness turned consumers off.

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