LG announces exit from the phone business

midian182

Posts: 6,644   +59
Staff member
What just happened? Following months of rumors that it would happen, LG has finally confirmed it is quitting the phone business. The Korean giant said the decision to close its mobile unit was approved by the board of directors today. It comes after the division spent six years losing money, totaling around $4.5 billion.

While one of the most prominent players in the world of TVs, home appliances, and monitors, LG has spent years watching its share of the phone market shrink to around 2 percent—the firm was the third-largest phone maker in 2013.

LG shipped just 6.5 million smartphones in Q3 2020, down 7.2 million compared to the same quarter a year earlier. For the entirety of 2020, it shipped 23 million phones. Samsung, for comparison, moved 256 million.

The LG Wing 5G

The signs have been looking ominous for LG since January. CEO Kwon Bong-seok advised staff that the unit was "considering all possible measures, including sale, withdrawal and downsizing of the smartphone business."

An exit from the market looked increasingly likely after LG failed to secure a buyer for the division last month. Germany's Volkswagen AG and Vietnam's Vingroup JSC were reportedly interested, but negotiations fell through. Now, the seemingly inevitable has happened.

"LG's strategic decision to exit the incredibly competitive mobile phone sector will enable the company to focus resources in growth areas such as electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robotics and artificial intelligence," it said in a statement.

The decision means devices including the rumored LG V70 ThinQ, LG G10 and LG Velvet 2, as well as the LG Rollable, are unlikely ever to see the light of day.

LG said its current inventory of handsets will remain available to buy online and in stores, while existing customers will keep receiving software updates and service support "for a period of time which will vary by region."

The company expects to wind down its mobile business by July 31, though some existing models may still be available after that. It won't be leaving the industry behind entirely; two decades of mobile business operations will be applied to related technologies such as 6G and other future products.

It's a shame to see LG leave the phone space, which accounted for just 7% of its total revenue—the smallest of the company's five divisions. It was known for innovating, not always successfully, in an area often afraid of the word. There was the modular G5, the dual-screen LG G8X, the flexible LG G Flex 2, and the futuristic LG Wing 5G, to name a few. From those of us who have owned an LG handset or still do, we bid a sad farewell.

Masthead credit: Grzegorz Czapski

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Adi6293

Posts: 758   +1,009
Sony will be next if they don't get a grip, all these companies have the same issue, they can't accept that they are no longer the premium brand and instead of putting prices down to get more sales they put them up which in turn makes the sales even lower and the circle repeats till the business is going bust....
 

Watzupken

Posts: 118   +93
I feel the key problem with LG is their close to non-existent software support. Having used a G4 in the past, I believe I’ve only received 1 bug fix and 1 Android update throughout the lifetime of the phone. So I feel it’s a step in the right decision for them because if they are half hearted with the product, no point hanging on to it because the product will also show the half hearted effort.
 

JKnight

Posts: 112   +131
I feel the key problem with LG is their close to non-existent software support. Having used a G4 in the past, I believe I’ve only received 1 bug fix and 1 Android update throughout the lifetime of the phone. So I feel it’s a step in the right decision for them because if they are half hearted with the product, no point hanging on to it because the product will also show the half hearted effort.

I had G3 that didn't get any update and I eventually installed Lineage OS on it. The phone eventually stopped working because of bad soldering by LG. I agree they half hearted their product, along with bad quality.
 

Nobina

Posts: 2,980   +2,765
It seems like every phone they made was some sort of an experiment which is commendable but they should've went the "simple" route if they wanted to be mainstream.
 

GeforcerFX

Posts: 1,006   +473
Just switched back to them for my tracfone. I used LG almost entirely in the early days of my tracfone usage, switched to the Semi-smart 800g and 840g in the early 2010's then moved to the ultimate 2 for my first android phone in 2014. Got a LG premier in 2016 then switched to the moto e5 in 2018 and used that model (had two of them) until buying the LG reflect in march to replace the old e5. They have always impressed me with bang for buck at this phone segment. I think they could still make some money if they stuck to the sub $200 market with maybe the occasional mid market phone in the $400 price range. But the effort isn't worth it prob. The flagships are the easy money making a phone for $150 and selling it for $1500 is just too attractive for these companies to not try.
 

Shaitan

Posts: 95   +94
This is what you get when not listening to the customers and providing zero updates, not paying attention to the quality and mocking customers when they ask you "don't give us a notch".
https://bgr.com/2018/03/30/lg-g7-vs-iphone-x-lg-asks-reddit-android-users-notch/
Alao, some phones only sold in Asia was a completely *****ic decision.
Despite the excellent audio DAC, the excellent video recorder and good customer feedback, management attitude, no software updates and QA poor decisions combined sealed LG's fate...
 

terzaerian

Posts: 765   +1,088
I hope this signals the beginning of the end for the smartphone trend of cheap, disposable, privacy-invading devices with ridiculous gimmicks.
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,109   +149
Me: used many LG phones for 12 years
friend: wouldn't you buy the LG Wings, their latest and greatest for $1099?
me: hell no

that's how screwed they are. not even their loyal customers would even consider them anymore.

rest in peace champ, I hope I find your souls in other phones.
 

David Matthews

Posts: 426   +82
Staff member
This makes me a little sad. I really liked their V-series phones. Despite their poor sales, it still means that’s one less competitor in the Android space
 

amghwk

Posts: 1,011   +923
They should have made this decision long ago. They can recover the losses from the LED tech and other areas they are more comfortable with. But still, 4.5B loss is not small.

I had their V20 phone with which I was really impressed back then, though the battery capacity was not much for it's powerful internals at that time.
 

orbital

Posts: 29   +29
This is what you get when not listening to the customers and providing zero updates, not paying attention to the quality and mocking customers when they ask you "don't give us a notch".
https://bgr.com/2018/03/30/lg-g7-vs-iphone-x-lg-asks-reddit-android-users-notch/
Alao, some phones only sold in Asia was a completely *****ic decision.
Despite the excellent audio DAC, the excellent video recorder and good customer feedback, management attitude, no software updates and QA poor decisions combined sealed LG's fate...

True about the Asian market but it wasn't the only one. In 2019 and 2020, certain models of theirs were available only in the US and only through specific mobile operators. Sorry but presenting but never actually selling devices was the main reason for them to fail. LG OLEDs are available everywhere; LG LED professional and gaming monitors too; LG home appliances are available in every single (tech) supermarket worldwide. You cannot claim to be a smartphone manufacturer and sell smartphones nowhere. I doubt they sold even 6.5 mln. units as claimed in the article? Where? YouTube?
 

Watzupken

Posts: 118   +93
This makes me a little sad. I really liked their V-series phones. Despite their poor sales, it still means that’s one less competitor in the Android space
Honestly, I don't really think that there are a lot of options on the Android space to begin with. The ones that sells the most are Samsung and some China branded phones like Xiaomi, and previously, Huawei. LG's market share is negligible, and their half hearted attempts don't make them a strong competitor. So one less is not going to make much of a difference. I may sound harsh, but that is the truth. They may have some interesting ideas over the years that stands out, but when you consider that LG isn't following through with their customers' experience with them with very poor after sales software support, people won't want to buy their products.
 

woofer

Posts: 54   +11
Since the Windows Phone 8.1 is long gone, I'm gonna miss my 2nd choice LG Android midrange phones for reasonable cost, and not tainted by Red China. Don't need, or want, all the I-Sam bells and whistles for ridiculous prices, either.

I do wonder if they could have kept more sales if their phones all retained removable batteries?

A shame since it seems as though LG was starting to get their support more on par with 2 updates in the past month. My factory unlocked G7 AndroidOne got the Android 11 upgrade from the 10 version (in addition to monthly security updates over the past year that I have had it), although that was in the same time frame as warnings from AT&T that it will not be allowed on their network after April 12 since it does not have VoLTE, which they will require for all phones on their network to "prepare" for the cessation of Gen 3 networking NEXT YEAR - thanks AT&T (NOT).

Thus, I reverted back to my prior phone, an AT&T branded LG G6 with Android 8, and had the pleasant surprise of having it immediately updated to 9, although due to its damaged mSD card slot, I got another one on eBay that would start some sort of LG upgrade, but would crash every time in the 2nd phase to apply the download - NUTS.

So now I am trying T-Mobile via the Mint Mobile MVNO that does allow the LG phones with no threats (so far) of obsoleting them, and will see how its reception works for places I usually go.

Maybe I should revert to smoke signals...
 
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I'm really sad about it. I switched from Samsung to LG long time ago, and even if I had some problems with one or the other, I never switched to the overpriced popular brands (nor to cheap chinese ones).
G Pro 2 was lotsa fun, then G4, V10 and now I still use and love my V30, which is elegnat, simple, water resistant, wide front/back cameras, and awesome in music.
I'll miss their great quality/features for the buck, and innovation.
They were first in many smartphone technology: OIS, QHD screen, 3D screen, HiFi audio (Quad DAC, MQA), cut out screen for front camera ...
 

lazer

Posts: 385   +117
I am sad to see LG stop making their phones. I am on my second LG and my wife also has one. The reason I started with LG is that I am almost deaf and need a phone with good hear sound reproduction, which most people are unfamiliar with.

Although LG is not perfect, it is the best for my deaf ears. I am sad to see them go..