This morning, LG issued a press release that announced the board of directors had decided to close down the conglomerate’s mobile phone business. The news is unfortunate, however isn’t too surprising given the mobile division had been accruing continuous operational losses over the last 6 years, greatly denting the company’s financials.

SEOUL, April 5, 2021 — LG Electronics Inc. (LG) announced that it is closing its mobile business unit. The decision was approved by its board of directors earlier today.

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, artificial intelligence and business-to-business solutions, as well as platforms and services.

LG will provide service support and software updates for customers of existing mobile products for a period of time which will vary by region. LG will work collaboratively with suppliers and business partners throughout the closure of the mobile phone business. Details related to employment will be determined at the local level.

Moving forward, LG will continue to leverage its mobile expertise and develop mobility-related technologies such as 6G to help further strengthen competitiveness in other business areas. Core technologies developed during the two decades of LG’s mobile business operations will also be retained and applied to existing and future products.

LG had been one of the major mobile pioneers in the feature phone market, and also a larger player in the early 2010’s with many notable earlier successes such as the LG G2 or the G3.

Unfortunately in the following years, the company had been struck hard by chains of hardware disadvantages, ranging from the Snapdragon 810/808 generation in the G4, a failed attempt at hardware modularity in the G5. LG had also suffered issues over several generations in their OLED display attempts, plagued by lower quality panels with image quality issues, or power efficiency deficits compared to other alternatives in the market who used Samsung Display OLED panels.

At one point, LG had plans to deploy their own in-house design “Nuclun” SoCs into their mobile devices, announcing their partnership with Intel Custom Foundry to produce a leading-edge design on Intel’s 10nm process node. Unfortunately, the project burned to the ground along with Intel’s 10nm struggles, with the chips never seeing the light of day.

LG’s latest device attempts in the form of the V60 and the VELVET were actually greater leaps for the company’s designs as well as executions, however all coming too late, with a continuing problem of availability of the devices, as LG still ran with an availability model of working closely with carriers and releasing devices only in markets where carriers decided they were interested in supporting that device.

The company will be winding down its mobile business through July 31st, refocusing its resources into other divisions of the conglomerate.

Source: LG Press Release

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  • meacupla - Monday, April 5, 2021 - link

    I'm surprised they didn't pull out earlier.
    Their smartphones were uninteresting for a long time.
  • Silver5urfer - Monday, April 5, 2021 - link

    They have had all the most interesting SW and HW feature set of all phones in the market. I wonder how they are uninteresting. Maybe the new Chinese phones are super interesting I guess.
  • yankeeDDL - Monday, April 5, 2021 - link

    I think the issue is that they kept trying to compete only in the high-end. Then, there's always someone with better cameras, better display, better SoC.

    It bothers me tremendously that after years there's no offer of high-end Android phones (very high-res, high refresh display, high-end SoC, vast amount of RAM and storage) with displays around 5.5-6.0". There are so-many high-end phones, all of the same (huge) size, and LG was yet one more of the same.
  • yetanotherhuman - Tuesday, April 6, 2021 - link

    I don't want high-end with very high res or high refresh, or high-end SoC, but I do want a normal size phone, which have completely disappeared from the market apart from the iPhone SE 2.
  • at_clucks - Tuesday, April 6, 2021 - link

    These days it's easy to not care about high end specs because mid range specs are already delivering a great experience for most people. Today's mid range phones are probably much better than the high end of 5 years ago. Anything on top of that is icing on the cake and a never ending stream of diminishing returns.

    On the other hand small phones are seen as cheap phones. Samsung made sure of this when their most expensive line, the Note, was designed to be a pocket buster. And Samsung really put that marketing budget to work. They convinced everybody that they were "the Android phone", they convinced superficial reviewers that what they offer is the golden standard. And those reviewers conformed and sang the praises of even the crappiest design decisions, like the curved edges of the screen..

    So people also conformed and took Samsung as the golden standard. LG tried to stand out with other gimmicks but in the end they had nowhere near Samsung's presence and also tried to bite more than they could chew.

    OP did it better, they insisted they're the poor man's Samsung basically, and slowly built up to being another Samsung albeit at a smaller scale. If it doesn't look like that it won't sell, unless you're Apple but that's a whole other world of marketing. The big Chinese brands did the same. LG has nothing to offer between these players because they chose to fight the wrong fight.
  • Ptosio - Tuesday, April 20, 2021 - link

    Well, to be fair to Samsung, it's them who made the last compact Android flagship in the form of S10e (142.20 x 69.90 which is perfect for me, although the battery was a deal-breaker). And their S21 is still pretty reasonably sized for the Android flagship standards at 151.7 x 71.2, though I'd prefer something smaller.

    It's the Chinese manufacturers, who undercut everyone else on price, but also rarely make anything decent which is not a 75+ wide phablet:/
    (and Huawei, the only one to escape that trend, is banned from Google)
  • Foeketijn - Tuesday, April 6, 2021 - link

    Completely agree. Especially the good camera. Give me the One X back please.
  • sharath.naik - Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - link

    They mastered the art of good but never the greatest. Always behind an alternative which is cheaper. In every scenario if someone valued some feature or combination, LG phones were never in the top5 picks, but always in the top 10. For example, they are doing the same with their GRAM laptops now, Grams were unique with 17 inch and perfect resolution with expandable ram. So in their brilliance they refined the design and "Dropped expandable ram" making it never the top choice in most scenarios. They need a change of leadership put some technical folks in charge.
  • Revv233 - Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - link

    Yup - V60 was best phone this year, if you want to carry around an ipad mini as your phone.

    Had to go to sony for features and a size you can hold in your hand hopefully they stick around as they are the last brand that make full featured phones now that LG is out.

    Sad ive had to abandon every brand of phone over the year because they decontent/ charge more then the company you jump to gets the same idea and you have to jump again.
  • Arsenica - Monday, April 5, 2021 - link

    >They have had all the most interesting SW and HW feature set of all phones in the market

    Maybe interesting in the sense of "What the hell is that?" as with their rotating dual screen phone, but never in the sense of "I want one of those!".

    Their other models were just plain boring.

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