Good news for texting enthusiasts looking to make $50,000 from fast fingers and a QWERTY keyboard, but it's not clear if the promotion will deliver positive results for LG trying to fend off rivals Apple, Nokia, Samsung, Motorola and others.
LG managed to swoop in this year, from January to March, and take market share from rivals. The company moved up to No. 4 in the first quarter--shipping 24.4 million units worldwide, or 8.2% of market share, compared with ranking No. 5 in global unit sales of 64.3 million and 80.5 million in 2006 and 2007, respectively, according to research firm iSuppli, El Segundo, Calif. In the first quarter of 2007, Nokia ranked No. 1 with 39%; Samsung, 15.6%; and Motorola, 9.3%.
Tina Teng, wireless analyst at iSuppli, says that LG focuses marketing around the full keyboard on its phones. "LG is trying to create a hype to compete with iPhone sales, although they target different consumer segments, teenagers and young adults," she says, adding that Apple releases the latest iPhone early next month, targeting business users.
Contestants must use an LG phone featuring full QWERTY keypads such as enV2, enV, V, Voyager, Rumor and Scoop, but Ovum practice lead Jan Dawson says it's unlikely the promotion will have a significant impact on sales. "These contests are made to give the company a brief boost in awareness among consumers," he says. "It might create a small blip, but not much more."
LG gives contestants three ways to enter the texting competition: regionally, nationally online, and SMS wildcard challenge. The contest requires participants to text predetermined words or phrases and send them to a specified recipient. The first to send the correct message with no errors wins.
Last year's first-place $25,000 prize went to 13-year-old Morgan Pozgar from Pennsylvania for texting "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" in 15 seconds with no errors.
In this year's competition, contestants compete for $50,000 and bragging rights to the championship title. The competition is open to anyone 13 and older, although minors need written consent from a parent or guardian. The form is available at LGTexter.com.
New this year, the competition integrates with the June 24 episode of MTV's "A Shot at Love 2L Happy Hour, the Reunion." During the show, viewers will race to transcribe a phrase they see on the screen during the two-minute TV event. One East Coast and one West Coast winner will each get a seat at the national finals event in New York.
There were multiple ways to qualify for the LG National Texting Championship. Online regional qualifier selections took place in Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta and Miami, from June 10-14. Contestants had a chance to win an LG enV2 and a free trip for two to New York City to compete head-to-head for the grand prize.
Regional winners compete in the national online competition held today. Four winners will receive an LG enV2 and a free trip for two to New York City to compete. During the SMS Wild Card Play, players receive four separate text messages between Thursday and June 25 with a specific phrase, at any given time. After receiving the text message, they must reply and re-type the original phrase as fast as possible.
The fastest texter for each phrase will win an LG enV2 and a trip for two to the championship game. LG will provide each participant, while competing, an LG enV2 phone to play the final rounds of the game. The finals are scheduled for July 9 in Manhattan at the Roseland Ballroom in Times Square.