LG Likely to Exit Smartphone Business Entirely Amid Fierce Competition

LG G8X Smartphone Credit: Cineberg / Shutterstock
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When was the last time you saw an LG phone in the wild? It’s probably hard to remember, and the company is well-aware – which is why it’s considering getting out of the smartphone business entirely.

The news comes straight from LG itself, so this is much more than a rumor. Reports indicate that, while no final decisions have been made, LG is considering, “All possible measures, including sale, withdrawal, and downsizing of the smartphone business.”

According to the Korea Herald, the CEO of LG, Kwon Bong-Seok, has already sent out a company-wide email explaining the situation and how LG is likely to dismantle its smartphone division entirely.

According to financial data, LG appears to be making this decision due to several years of struggling with demand and losses of around $4.5 billion to date. Since the smartphone market is an incredibly competitive one, it makes sense for LG to ax this division first in an effort to help control costs and improve its numbers.

For now, employees in the LG smartphone division will wait with the rest of us to see what will happen, although reports also indicate that around 60 percent of employees currently working in the division will be re-assigned to other divisions.

LG has also stated that all employees will be able to keep working with the company if they desire. This may lead to LG keeping a downsized version of its smartphone business, but with a different focus – perhaps only a single line of select smartphones or manufacturing smartphone components for other brands.

This also likely means the sudden end of LG’s new products released in 2020, including the Velvet, a smartphone with a detachable dual-screen designed to help stir interest and pave the way for a new, unique line of LG products in the future.

While many major brands have experimented with dual-screen models, none of them have been particularly successful, as folding screen technology still leaves much to be desired (Apple continues to work on these problems for a potential dual-screen smartphone). LG’s detachable approach was one potential solution to the dual-screen issue, but customers may have balked at managing an additional (and expensive) accessory. 

So, where does that leave LG? With plenty on the table. The company is one of the few providers of OLED screens for TVs and computer monitors and remains a dominant force in this market, which has only grown more popular as OLEDs have fallen in price to appeal to more consumers. The company also has an extensive line of smart appliances, which it is expanding to offer a broader array of colors and other variants.

At CES 2021, LG showcased a number of new technologies, including a rollable phone (one now unlikely to be produced by LG itself), an upgraded model of the incredibly smart InstaView refrigerator, and a new Gallery line of extra-bright OLED TVs. 

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