Ina Fried

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With Neither Sales Nor Designs Turning Heads, LG Promises New Look for Barcelona

Korean phone maker LG, struggling amid fierce competition in the Android business, said on Tuesday that it has a new style that it plans to show off at next week’s Mobile World Congress.

After some admittedly lackluster smartphone designs, LG said its new “L-Style” aims to go back to some of the heritage the company had with pre-smartphone era phones like the Chocolate.

“Design is consistently the top or second most important factor for customers when choosing a mobile phone,” LG Mobile CEO Jong-seok Park said in a statement. “With smartphones, we sometimes took a more functional approach to design but with L-Style we’re going back to our roots as a company focused on how our products fit into the lifestyle of our customers.”

The company said it will debut three phones in Barcelona with the new look. The Optimus L3, with a 3.2-inch screen, will launch in Europe in March, and will be followed by two other devices in the first half of the year that will run the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android. Among the qualities LG said mark the new style are “sensuous slim shape” and “harmonized design contrast.”

LG has already announced one phone ahead of the Barcelona show, the finger-stretching 5-inch Optimus Vu.

Rival Samsung, meanwhile, announced a pair of phones of its own on Tuesday: The Galaxy Ace 2 and Galaxy Mini 2.

Hopefully, there will still be some announcements by the time the show starts.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald