LG's exit from smartphone business looks increasingly likely after buyers pull out

midian182

Posts: 6,653   +59
Staff member
In brief: Will LG phones soon become a thing of the past? It’s starting to look increasingly likely. According to a recent report, the LG Electronics division has failed to secure a buyer for its mobile business, leaving it at risk of shuttering completely.

While LG continues to be a leader in televisions, monitors, and home appliances, the company has spent years watching its share of the smartphone market diminish. The 6.5 million devices it shipped in Q3 2020 marked a 7.2 million decline compared to the same quarter a year earlier, and the smartphone group has lost about 5 trillion won ($4.5 billion) across the last five years.

In January, LG’s CEO said the company was considering all possible measures regarding the smartphone business, including its sale, withdrawal, and downsizing.

According to a DongA Ilbo report (via Bloomberg), Germany’s Volkswagen AG and Vietnam’s Vingroup JSC were looking into acquiring LG’s smartphone arm, but negotiations have fallen through. As they were the only two interested parties, it leaves LG’s withdrawal from the phone industry a more likely prospect.

LG has already outsourced the manufacture of its low- to mid-range phones to Chinese firms, and the company is said to have stopped production of its rollable handset, despite its recent listing on Bluetooth SIG. Additionally, the planned first-half rollout of all its new smartphones has reportedly been shelved.

We’ve already heard that the successor to the LG Rainbow has been delayed indefinitely. The cessation of its smartphone operations would likely spell the end for its current Velvet, Wing, and the V60 ThinQ flagships, too.

LG may tell employees its decision regarding the smartphone businesses next month. It’s likely that affected workers will be relocated to other divisions within the firm.

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stewi0001

Posts: 2,574   +2,167
Shame really, For a few years they made some really nice phones that were always rated as very good alternatives to the top end Samsung's and usually $100-$200 cheaper.
I think their firmware was their main issue. Speaking from experience with their LG G4. I loved that phone but had a few bugs in it still.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,391   +3,474
Shame. Motorola is busy downgrading their midrange devices to 720p screens and samsung is too busy removing features and jacking up prices. Some genuinely good no nonsense android phones would be great, but LG seems to want to ride the silly train, with their newest high end handset ticking most of the good "flagship" options but having no unlocked model? REALLY LG? Is this 2009?

LG has been riding along with trends isntead of making a name for themselves, and its been biting them. If they and HTC both pull out then maybe well get some of the asian brands to sell in the US.
I think their firmware was their main issue. Speaking from experience with their LG G4. I loved that phone but had a few bugs in it still.
Firmware and shoddy build quality. From the G2 through about the G6 their build quality was dumpster tier, and many enthusiasts warned against them as a result.
 

orbital

Posts: 29   +29
It was pretty obvious similar to Sony, they don't sell their phones anywhere including via the mobile carriers' networks. I was considering LG V50 more than one year ago but it was sold only in the US and only through a single mobile network operator. This is why people with access to this network were the only ones selling this device abroad on Ebay and similar platforms at possibly 30-40% higher final cost (including duty, taxes etc.). So it is easy to say that LG:

1. Was marketing their phones virtually only with no intention to actually sell them anywhere;
2. Was considering closing down their business for a period of at least 5+ years but apparently keeping things afloat hoping they can sell their business to someone; if they didn't it would either not sell at all, or sell at a highly diminished price. No one wants a dead body, especially if it is a company.

Sony has been going down the very same way unfortunately, and not only. If you want to really be someone, at least you would do your best to sell your products at as many markets as possible and be offered by the mobile operators, wouldn't you? Where are they? Apple, Samsung, until recently - Huawei. There is nothing else to choose from.

In the end, the ones to lose are we - the customer. You either buy Samsung or Apple. I still remember HTC (Desire and so many more), LG V10 with the second screen, LG V2/3/40 with the great cameras, quad DACs, audio jack etc. Good that we still have Xiaomi with all their brands as well as as more niche still great all-rounder offers from Asus, Lenovo and ZTE...
 

jbc029

Posts: 117   +213
My last 3 phones have been LG (G3/G5/currently G7). Always been happy with them for the time they were running. G3 eventually died after 3 years, G5 screen cracked after particularly bad fall 2 yrs in, G7 since. Will be sad to see them go.
 

StrikerRocket

Posts: 67   +37
I've had a LG V20 since 2016, and it's a great phone.
However I've just bought a Xiaomi Poco F3 NFC, and it's better for way cheaper (except for audio of course). That's weird though, LG's phones are good, at least for the VXX series that I know.

EDIT: typo, read Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC of course...
 
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Torrentius

Posts: 16   +33
Sony has been going down the very same way unfortunately, and not only. If you want to really be someone, at least you would do your best to sell your products at as many markets as possible and be offered by the mobile operators, wouldn't you? Where are they? Apple, Samsung, until recently - Huawei. There is nothing else to choose from.
Samsung strategy in second half of 2000s was to flood market with cheap devices - same thing that Chinese companies do for years now as well. Apple seems to be the only big player allowed to ignore entry-level market. Not sure if Sony has any cheap devices in their offer - and I am pretty sure that Japanese companies don't like to compete on price. Shame, as I liked my Z3 Compact... that is until the touch died out of nothing - a common phenomenon among users, apparently. Not sure if I would trust them again after that, from an expensive electronic device I expect more than three years of usage.
 

fadingfool

Posts: 216   +221
I liked my G5 - had a replaceable battery and a couple of "modules" you could add (one was a 32bit DAC - which I still have and can be used separately) and the other a "Camera" mod which had an additional battery pack (extended the battery life).
Even after replacing the screen myself (didn't require melting any glue) I continued to use it until I got a hand-me-down Samsung S8 (OH had just upgraded to an S10).
 

Shaitan

Posts: 95   +94
Currently on an lg V40. Had a V20 and a V30, after an LG G3. Management of mobile should be shot or hanged. Or both. Phones we've been searching for unavailable, software support always abysmal, lies about the great software changes coming in 2020, not caring about the buyer's opinion (the notch voting option was removed from sure when most of the LG fans said they hate it, LG didn't care and just added it in). Great audio, great movie recording, poor build quality and *****ic decisions (not bringing the phones to EU and so on). Too bad that some morons will get their bonuses despite destroying a beloved producer. Narrow minded accountants will never understand the fans, the fans will never comprehend how someone can be so *****ic as to decide to provide no SW updates at all for a top model...
Too bad....I'm really really sad about this.
 

Jackwoz

Posts: 52   +50
I never bought LG again, due to the fact they locked the bootloader stopping any custom ROMS being used until years later when it finally got hacked.
 

Edster

Posts: 93   +66
A lot of these companies like LG and Sony fail in the phone business because they treat it like their other hardware.

I buy LG and Sony TVs or electronics/appliances because they are solid, qualify and reliable. And they are successful in those markets. But phones, the marketing of it needs to be fast, and trendy, and the brands just does not give off that impression. Only Apple manage to tie in their phone with their other branding because they go for the same kind of appeal anyway.

One can argue the Galaxy brand is as vital as the name "Samsung", just as Playstation or Xbox is the name more important than Sony or MS itself. LG phones just never manage to shake "LG" because they thought their own branding is enough.
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 676   +582
It's not surprising, while I have liked their phones and owned the G2, support is pathetic, updates are glacial and QC is hopeless. They are wannabe try hards that won't own up to problems. I've owned 3 LG appliances: bluray player, phone and microwave and all failed within a few years.

I would never buy another LG product in my life not even their OLED TV's which have lot's of issues too.
 

defaultluser

Posts: 119   +85
A lot of these companies like LG and Sony fail in the phone business because they treat it like their other hardware.

I buy LG and Sony TVs or electronics/appliances because they are solid, qualify and reliable. And they are successful in those markets. But phones, the marketing of it needs to be fast, and trendy, and the brands just does not give off that impression. Only Apple manage to tie in their phone with their other branding because they go for the same kind of appeal anyway.

One can argue the Galaxy brand is as vital as the name "Samsung", just as Playstation or Xbox is the name more important than Sony or MS itself. LG phones just never manage to shake "LG" because they thought their own branding is enough.


Yeah, both LG and Sony had a good run of it in Feature Phone land (where you could sell off a few gimmicks, and if you missed one or two major issues, you could be forgiven in that early market).

https://www.gsmarena.com/sony_ericsson-phones-19.php

The problems came when both companies tried to jump to one cohesive vision, and neither could find it. Sony continued to make everything under the sun (no real guidance in their creations). LG had a lot better-balanced product releases than Sony (hardware-wise), but they could never seem to figure out reliability for their earlier models (manufacturing defects combined with firmware bugs produced their massive early recalls fro bootloops.)

The LG G4 and G5 were both eventually court-order recalled for the same issues - When you did everything in your power to deny the issue for years, at that point, you can't really recover consumer trust.

LG killed themselves,. just like Sony killed themselves.
 

lazer

Posts: 385   +117
Sad to see it go. had the best sound reproduction and for a hearing impared person like me this was very important.
 

BadThad

Posts: 442   +412
LG has done a fantastic job of differentiating their products as being "higher end" with higher prices for most of their stuff. They discovered that a certain segment of consumers are willing to pay more for better products. Not sure why they didn't, but IMO they should have stuck to producing only one or two expensive model phones for the highest end consumers willing to pay more for a premium experience.
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,109   +149
LG mobile is living on borrowed time. or so it seems. it's sad seeing it go but it I'd rather see it dead than see it fading away like Nokia or even worse Blackberry.

my first LG phone was the Viewty. it was a dumb phone but man was it beautiful 14 years ago...