LG confirmed yesterday that it will exit the smartphone market. The company’s statement stated that this decision will allow the company to focus on growth areas such as electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robotics, artificial intelligence and business-to-business solutions, as well as resources such as platforms. and services.
Phones currently on the market remain on sale. LG says it will continue to support its products “for a period of time, which varies by region.” The company said nothing about possible layoffs, except that “details of employment will be determined at the local level.” LG said it expects the smartphone unit to close at the end of July this year.
LG’s move has been talked about for several months after the smartphone division has suffered massive losses in the past five years. Once seen as a competitor to South Korean manufacturer Samsung, LG’s recently launched high-tech smartphones have struggled to compete, while the company has had to compete with Chinese rivals releasing more affordable mobile phones. However, LG had previously said it hoped to make its smartphone division profitable by 2021.
The latest news means that LG’s screen that can be rolled up for a long time is unlikely to come to light. When the company last demonstrated this device at this year’s virtual CES show, we realized the device was real and would be released later this year.
Reports and analysis have been circulating that LG is considering giving up smartphones, at least since the beginning of this year. A company spokesperson described an earlier report on the company’s possible exit from the smartphone business as “ utterly false and unfair, ” but later confirmed to The Korea Herald that the company needed to make a logical decision about the division. The official said at the time that possible measures could include “the sale, withdrawal and downsizing of the smartphone business.”
In March, reports surfaced that the company was looking for a buyer for the smartphone business, but talks had stalled and could close the division instead. South Korean broadcaster DongA has suggested that the company has halted development of its expected rollable screen phones and shelved its planned smartphones for the first half of this year.
LG tried interesting ideas for the smartphone market
As LG has lost its share of its competitors, it has launched a line of eye-catching devices with unconventional shapes. They had the LG Wing, whose main screen turned to show a smaller secondary screen underneath, or their recently released dual screen devices. In addition, the idea of a modular smartphone with the LG G5 was evaluated years ago, but this trial was discontinued a year later.
Unfortunately for LG, none of these features were useful enough to turn their phones into devices of great popularity. Meanwhile, the company’s more traditional phones lagged behind competitors in key areas such as camera performance.
With this decision, LG has joined a long list of high-profile device manufacturers that have pulled out of the smartphone market over the years. Later, however, we witnessed third-party manufacturers acquire the usage rights of major brands. Will there be a similar situation for LG, we will see over time. For example, while Nokia’s consumer-focused brand lives on phones manufactured by HMD, Blackberry’s brand was originally used by TCL and returns this year with a device manufactured by OnwardMobility. Let’s not forget HTC, which still sells a few low-profile phone models, but sold most of its intellectual property to Google in 2017.