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Monday, July 24, 2006
LG Accuses Samsung of Imitating Phone

LG yesterday accused Samsung of marketing a copycat product of its popular KG800 "Chocolate phone," the sleek slider model that has been making waves in Europe since its debut there earlier this year.

"We think Samsung's E-900 is a clone of our Chocolate phone. At a glance, we see the two slim slider phones that employ the rare touch-sensitive keypads have an almost identical design," LG spokesman Cho Choong-kwon said to Korean Times.

"British journals nickname the E-900 as 'Dark Chocolate,' amply demonstrating how they look alike. With the me-too item, Samsung is seemingly trying to check us in Europe,'' he claimed.

In early May, LG released the black, rectangular Chocolate phone in Europe, which clocked over half-million sales there in less than three months despite its high price tag of over 300 euros.

In addition to the outstanding design of the head-turner, the 14.8-millimeter-thick Chocolate phone attracts users with rich features like a 1.3 mega-pixel camera and a 128 megabyte built-in memory, large enough to save over 30 tunes.

In Europe last month Samsung launched the E-900, a phone 16.5 millimeters thick with a 2 mega-pixel camera, which also doubles as a video recorder, and an MP3 player.

Having come a month later than the Chocolate, the E-900 is selling like hot cakes in major European countries thanks in no small part to Samsung's enviable sales network.

The stellar performance of what LG categorizes as a copycat of its product raises the ire of the Seoul-based company, which aimed at using the Chocolate to return to the black in its money-losing cell phone business.

"Samsung sells the equivalent of the E-900 in the Korean market at over $600, about $200 higher than the Chocolate. But in Europe, Samsung has cut the price to about 20 euros lower than the Chocolate," Cho said.

"That shows Samsung is intent on thwarting the success of the Chocolate phone. It is regrettable that Korean outfits stage this kind of ugly rivalry in foreign arenas," he continued.

"Touch-sensitive pads were originally adopted by Samsung last year and our low prices in Europe are attributable to our competitiveness in cost saving," a Samsung spokesman said.

"LG's allegations are groundless. The outfit appears to use us just to make headlines with its Chocolate phone in newspapers. It should stop doing that kind of marketing," he added.

However, this is not the first time that Samsung is suspected of producing a copycat phone. Some think the firm cloned the ultra-thin fashion phone called the RAZR.

The New York Times said in January that Samsung imitated Motorola's 14.5-millimeter RAZR as the corporation unveiled its own super-slim phone, the Blade, with the same thickness as RAZR.

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