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LG Smartphones no more in the business, is it a wise decision?

by Amal Varghese

It was then officially announced by LG that they are exiting from the mobile phone industry. This decision of theirs will “enable the company to focus resources in growth areas such as electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robotics, artificial intelligence and business-to-business solutions, as well as platforms and services,” LG explained in their statement.

Existing phones will remain on sale, and LG Smartphones will continue to support its products “for a period of time which will vary by region.” The company hasn’t said anything about possible layoffs except that “details related to employment will be determined at the local level.” LG says it expects to have completed the business’ closure by the end of July this year.

Why exactly is LG Smartphones shutting down?

Following the division’s huge losses over the past five years, the move for LG Smartphones was inevitable. A company that was once considered a rival to fellow South Korean manufacturer (Samsung), LG’s recent high-end smartphones have struggled to compete, while its more affordable handsets have faced stiff competition from Chinese rivals. The company had previously said it hoped to make its smartphone division profitable in 2021.

Today’s news means LG’s long-teased rollable phone is unlikely to ever see the light of day. The last time the company showed off the device was back at this year’s virtual CES when the company insisted that the device was real and would be launching later this year.

LG was not very successful in dragging the recognition it deserved. For example, the LG KE850 Prada was announced in December of 2006 – it was the first phone with a capacitive touchscreen and an all-touch UI. Of course, in January Apple unveiled its first iPhone, which stole the spotlight from the Prada. Today everyone points to the iPhone as the start of the touchscreen revolution, while LG’s contribution lays largely forgotten.

LG joins a long list of high-profile device makers to give up on smartphones over the years, although many of the brand names have stuck around on devices made by third-party manufacturers. Nokia’s consumer-facing brand lives on atop handsets made by HMD, while Blackberry’s branding was initially used by TCL and is set to return this year on a device made by OnwardMobility. There’s also HTC, which still sells a few oddball handsets but sold most of its IP to Google in 2017. Who’s next?

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