LG mobiles will soon be a thing of the past, and the Korean electronics major is now invested in reallocating its employees from the smartphone division to other units. According to reports, LG had been looking for interested parties to buy out its mobile phone venture, which has been plagued with losses after years of staggering losses. LG mobiles will be remembered for wonderful innovations that the company stubbornly stuck to, but unfortunately could not make them commercially successful in face of the value war waged by Chinese smartphone OEMs.
A Bloomberg report from last month had stated that LG may soon shut down its mobile phone business instead of selling it. The company was reportedly in talks with Vietnam’s Vingroup JSC, and pioneering German automotive giant Volkswagen AG, to push forth a sale of their mobile phones division, but the apparent LG mobiles buyout did not materialise due to undisclosed issues. Over the past few months, LG is believed to have halted development of smartphones that were already in plans, including a striking rollable smartphone that the company displayed at CES 2021 (and also claimed to be ready for production with it).
Now, the decision has apparently been confirmed, suggesting that a formal announcement from LG should be just around the corner about the eventual demise of LG mobiles. The latter was one of the few early movers in the mobile phones space – a market that was ruled by Nokia and BlackBerry, but also involved Samsung and LG as key market movers. While BlackBerry is now defunct, Nokia sells smartphones under parent company HMD Global but has simply failed to relive the market dominance that it had in the pre-smartphone era.
For LG mobiles, the journey has been bittersweet at best. The company has always been at the front in terms of bringing forth innovative ideas for smartphones, instead of playing the typical high specifications-low price game played by Chinese smartphone vendors. Some of its most notable smartphone efforts include the LG G Flex 2 from early 2015 with a curved OLED display, the LG G5 from 2016 with a modular build that aimed to allow users to snap on whatever extra part they pleased, and of late, even the LG Wing that could snap into a T-shaped display area and also included a gimbal-like camera interface. It also caught numerous eyeballs with a smartphone that had a motorised rollable display that could extend into a tablet, or collapse into the shape of a smartphone.
For all its efforts, though, LG mobiles could never break into the top five when it comes to sales and shipment figures. Chinese OEMs such as Xiaomi, OnePlus or Vivo aced the aspect of providing users greater bang for the buck, while LG mobiles were relegated to playing the fancy innovation role that excited all but were either priced too much, or offered too less in terms of the rest of the competition. Going forth, it remains to be seen if LG does a double-take, or finds an eventual buyer to take its innovative smartphone dreams forward.