Even though LG’s existence in the Android smartphone market remains curious to say the least, the reality is that there isn’t much forward movement for LG’s smartphone business. Neither do the phones stand out in this day and age, and neither does the brand offer any sort of appeal as far as the competitive smartphone market is concerned. You’d rarely hear anyone vouch for an LG smartphone over a Samsung or a Xiaomi or a OnePlus phone, for instance. And it’s not just perception. Things are so bad for LG’s phone positioning that no one wants to buy the company’s smartphone business. LG is desperate to sell its mobile phone business, but a Korean news website Dong-A Ilbo (via Android Police) says there are no takers at this time.
LG is believed to have been in negotiations with Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup and also German automaker Volkswagen, but those didn’t really progress much further. It is believed there are no ongoing negotiations at this time. If there are no buyers for the LG smartphone business, the company may consider shutting the Android phone business altogether, a decision on which is expected sometime in April. “Even considering the Korean and North American markets, where the LG Electronics smartphone business remains, the global market share is around 1%, making it difficult to find a buyer to buy at a high price,” Dong-A Ilbo quotes an industry source (translated). It was in January that LG Electronics President Kwon Bong-seok had reportedly said in an internal communication with employees that “we are carefully reviewing the direction of business operation with all possibilities open”.
In the current climate, it is unlikely that the LG Rollable smartphone will be launched anytime in the coming months, and this also delays the possible launch of the Rainbow smartphone. LG’s smartphone range in India, at this time, includes the LG Velvet dual screen (around Rs 36,990), the swivel screen LG Wing 5G (around Rs 59,990) and the LG G8X ThinQ which started out with a price tag of Rs 70,000 but you can now buy this for around Rs 20,000 depending on deals and offers. The signs had been there for a long time. In 2017 and 2018, company numbers suggested that sales slid as much as 40% during that time. It was in early last year, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2020) in Las Vegas where LG promised to expand its phone line-up and become profitable in 2021.
Things haven’t really come together for LG’s smartphones though. Earlier last year, we had reviewed the dual-screen LG G8X ThinQ with great hope, but it turned out to be a much bigger disappointment than expected. And with a software that doesn’t match up to rivals, LG phones have the additional disadvantage on the shopfloor when sitting next to phones from rivals Samsung, Xiaomi, OnePlus, Oppo, Vivo and others, across price points.