LG Electronics Inc, the world's No. 3 mobile phone maker, aims to increase handset sales by 20 percent this year and is pinning its hopes on Google's Android operating system to beef up its smartphone lineup.

The South Korean maker of phones, TVs and appliances faces stiff competition in 2010 due to its relatively weak footing in the booming smartphones business against Apple Inc, Research In Motion and Palm Inc. LG said on Wednesday it aimed to sell 140 million mobile phones this year. It sold 117 million handsets last year, beating its target of over 100 million, to claim about 10 percent of the global market. LG has based its mobile phone business on strong lineups of feature-centric phones covering low- to high-end customers but has been struggling in the smartphone battle, where operating systems and applications matter. “A device alone won't help us to sustain business,” Skott Ahn, LG's president and CEO of mobile communications, told a news conference. “We need to build a system where consumers, service operators and software providers can work together effectively.” While LG has no plan to develop its own mobile phone operating system, it will continue to work on platforms to provide more effective solutions, he added. LG, which trails Nokia of Finland and home rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in mobile phones, will unveil about 20 smartphones this year, with more than half based on Google's Android operating system. LG said its 2010 offerings would also include phones running on Microsoft Corp's Windows Mobile and LiMo's Linux-based software. LG executives declined to say how many Windows phones it was planning to release. In February last year, LG signed a deal with Microsoft, then saying Windows Mobile would become the primary operating system for its smartphones. “The fact that we'll have a bit more Android phones this year doesn't mean our ties with Microsoft are weakening,” Ahn said.
By 2012, LG wants to achieve a double-digit share of the global smartphone market.

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