LG opens 29,000 patents…raising USD 150 million venture fund

2015_02_LG innovation centerTo create the creative economy ecosystem in Chungcheongbuk-do, LG will open 29,000 patents and raise a venture fund to the tune of KRW150 billion. Also, LG affiliates, including LG Chem, will invest KRW1,600 billion over a 3-year period to invigorate the local creative economy.

The LG Group announced this plan at the launching ceremony for the Chungcheongbuk-do Creative Economy Innovation Center held at the Chungcheongbuk-do Knowledge Industry Promotion Agency in Ochang, Chungcheongbuk-do on February 4. President Park Geun-hye, Lee Si-jong governor of Chungcheongbuk-do, Koo Bon-moo chairman of LG and the CEOs of over 140 local small and medium-sized venture firms were present at this ceremony.

LG will install the ‘IP Support Zone’ which shares patents with local small and medium-sized venture firms. Here about 29,000 patents, including the 27,000 patents owned by LG and the 1,600 patents of 16 government-funded research institutions, will be opened for free or at minimal costs. Among them, 3,058 patents will be transferred to small and medium-sized venture firms free of charge. The patent areas include bio, beauty and energy, earmarked for the Chungcheongbuk-do area, as well as electronics, chemistry and communication.

For full article, see Korea IT News.

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Smartwatch war expected to intensify

2015_02_smartwatches
From top to bottom: Samsung Gear S, LG G Watch R, Apple Watch

The competition among Samsung, LG, Apple and other smartwatch makers is expected to intensify this year, industry watchers and analysts said Sunday. Samsung Electronics plans to unveil a new, round smartwatch, codenamed “Orbis,” at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015 which takes place in Barcelona, Spain, next month. Consumers have already applauded the circular displays of the Moto 360 from Motorola and the G Watch R from LG Electronics, so it is no surprise that Samsung has been working on its own round watch, industry insiders said.

So far, Samsung’s 3 wrist watches ― the Gear, Gear 2, and Gear S ― were square-shaped, under the strict concept of smart device rather than traditional wrist watch. Orbis is a Latin word that has many meanings including circle. The project name gives a hint that the company’s next model will be circular.

For full article, see Korea Times.

Big Biz gives up on basic research

“Corporate research institutes nowadays are reducing mid- to long-term projects and have started reassigning researchers into business departments,” said a researcher in his 40s who is employed at Samsung. “I wanted to pursue my research career in a more stable environment, so I applied to the ETRI despite the lower annual salary it offers.”

Conglomerates are under increasing pressure to find the next-generation hit product. That leads them away from mid- to long-term research and development (R&D) projects. In such a fast-changing market, companies like Samsung, LG and SK are trimming their long-term R&D departments.

Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), located in Yongin, southern Gyeonggi, was the birthplace of key semiconductor and smartphone technologies. It mainly researches next-generation products that could be profitable years down the line. In September last year, SAIT started downsizing its research workforce of 1,500 researchers with doctorate and master’s degrees by 50 percent. The researchers are being relocated to Samsung’s other research institutes that study the commercialization of almost-completed technologies, including a mobile handset research center and an electronics material research complex.

“SAIT studies technologies that will nurture the ‘seed industries,’ which will be Samsung’s leading business,” an official from Samsung Group said. “This is simply a reshuffle of research workforce, moving them a step closer to the business departments as their key projects have matured to be commercialized soon.”

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

LG Display goes all-out for OLED

2013_01_LG OLEDLG Display, the leading provider of liquid crystal displays (LCDs), is now preparing an all-out effort to extend its dominance to the new world of digital displays shaped by organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs).

The company is to spend 3.8 trillion won (about $3.6 billion) this year on adding facilities and improving technologies with the predominant focus on improving its capabilities for OLED screens, becoming conventional in smaller devices like smartphones and tablets and beginning to appear in larger products like televisions.

OLED screens provide a stunning upgrade in picture quality and power consumption compared to conventional LCDs. High costs and difficulty in mass production have been slowing their adaption in televisions, but major electronics makers like Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and Sony believe they will see a breakthrough on this front this year.

For full article see Korea Times.

Stereoscopic TV battle brewing: ASG vs. FPR

Amid sharpening technology, there is no doubt that 3D TV is here to stay with the whole industry currently at the same stage as when high-definition (HD) was introduced. 3D was a key issue at the recently finished IFA electronics fair in Berlin where most TV majors displayed their latest 3D solutions with hopes to take the lead in the booming market. “3D will be everywhere next year,’’ said Jim Chabin, president of the International 3D Society.

Now, attention is being shifted as to whether latecomer LG will break down the current domestic lead of Samsung.

Price matters for 3D hopefuls because there is little 3D-only content on the market and consumers don’t have much knowledge, in general, of viewing differences offered by the different technologies used by Samsung and LG. “That’s why we are confident to completely beat Samsung’s technology in China by the end of this year and our next targets are the United States, Europe and Japan,” said Kwon Young-soo, the chief executive of LG Display, in a meeting with reporters, Thursday.

For full article see Korea Times.

LG and Osram agree to settle LED patent suit

LG Electronics and LG Innotek, the electronics arms of Korean conglomerate LG, said Friday they have agreed to drop all light-emitting diode (LED) patent litigations with Osram GmbH, the LED unit of Siemens AG.

As part of the Oct. 31 settlement, the companies also agreed on a license agreement for their LED patent portfolios, settling patent suits filed in countries including Korea, Germany and the United States, the LG affiliates said in a press release.

The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“We are very much satisfied with the settlement reached. It is our long-standing policy to reach license agreements with other manufacturers of LED products,” said Aldo Kamper, chief executive officer of Osram Opto Semiconductors.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

LG to mass-produce flexible displays

It remains to be seen whether Future generations of the iPhone could have flexible organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays that can bend and twist.

LG Display, a major supplier of flat-screens to Apple, confirmed Thursday it would be able to mass produce flexible OLED displays from the second-half of next year.

Han Sang-beom, LG Display’s CEO, didn’t reveal any names when talking about the orders the company has been receiving. However, it’s difficult to presume LG Display attempting such a big jump in technologies without commitment from Apple, its largest customer for screens.

It’s hard to predict when smartphones with rubbery touch screens will ever be commercialized, but Han says at least LG Display’s screens will be there by the end of 2013.

For full article see Korea Times.

Dream into reality: sizable yet transparent and flexible display

Anyone who saw Tom Cruise’s “Minority Report” would remember that incredible clear-as-glass screen he used to manipulate images and data. This futuristic display seemed like a distant dream 10 years ago when the movie was released, but in the near future, this dream is about to come true. The development of transparent and flexible displays was selected as one of the Future Industrial Technology Development Projects led by the Korean Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE)’s Office of Strategic R&D Planning(OSP).

The main role of OSP is to develop strategies and guidelines of next year’s budget for the around USD 4.2 billion of MKE’s R&D budget, having a consultation with each department. This time, the Office initiated the Future Industrial Technology Development Projects, selecting and supervising projects which will create future growth engines of Korea. Being comprised of former CEOs or CTOs well-versed in market trends, they are expected to have more sense of responsibility in investing in business. 

The projects are categorized as fast track or slow track where fast track, referred to as “Creation of Early Outcome” is a short-term project lasting for three years involving conception new of botanical drugs and key system semiconductors for IT convergence. On the other hand, slow track called “Creation of New Market” lasts for five to seven years concentrating on long-term projects such as transparent and flexible display creation, one of the three projects initiated this year, six in total.

For full article see Korea IT Times.

LG launches cloud game platform

Mobile carrier LG Uplus unveiled its cloud computing based game platform called C-games, Wednesday.

Subscribers of various network services can purchase games from the C-games website that can then be played on any device with Web connectivity.

“We have a top level network with more competitiveness than other mobile carriers or broadcasters,” said Chun Byung-wook, senior vice president of LG Uplus’ service platform division. “Cloud games are a central service to LG Uplus’ LTE (long-term evolution) strategy and will once again revolutionize the market.”

“Through cloud games, we want to create a new value for users and let them enjoy high memory games.”

For full article see Korea Times.

Korea accounts for 2 of 5 3D TVs sold in global market: report

The global 3D TV market more than doubled from last year, despite the overall contraction in the TV market.

The global TV market amounted to 51.22 million units as of the first quarter (Q1) this year, which is an eight percent fall from the previous year’s 55.54 million units, said market researcher DisplaySearch Sunday.

Samsung Electronics had the highest stake in the global TV market as its shares rose three percentage points on-year to 21 percent. LG Electronics took second place with a 16 percent share, followed by Sony (seven percent), TCL (six percent), and Panasonic (six percent). Meanwhile, the 3D TV market continued high growth, expanding at a pace of 245 percent on-year from 2.09 million units last year to 7.19 million units this year.

For full article see Maeil Business.