LG Exits the Smartphone Business

Posted on April 5, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Mobile, Android with 20 Comments

Well, it’s finally happened: Bowing to the inevitable, LG this morning announced that it is exiting the smartphone business.

“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,” an LG statement explains. “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.”

LG had been considering this action for years and in recent months it sought a buyer for the struggling business, which has posted a collective $4.4 billion loss over the past six years. The firm indicated that it was looking for a way out three months ago when CEO Brian Kwon said that the company was “open to all options.”

LG expects to complete the wind-down of its mobile phone business by July 31.

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Comments (20)

20 responses to “LG Exits the Smartphone Business”

  1. red.radar

    I was kinda hopping their new strategy to "wing it" would work out for them.

    Alas it was not to be ...

  2. jgraebner

    In reply to proftheory:

    I'd say it was a little bit of both. Apple and Samsung both very aggressively competed for business, particularly with Apple's focus on ease of use and stability and Samsung's focus on maximizing features and pushing to get models out for all segments of the market. That did make competing with them a tough prospect.

    At the same time, I do think that the exclusionary carrier contracts were at least bordering on anti-competitive. In the early part of the smartphone era, just about everyone still bought their phones from one of the big four (at the time) carriers and a product was pretty much doomed if the carriers didn't choose to promote them to their customers. WebOS and Windows Phone, in particular, were hurt tremendously by the phones basically being stocked in the backs of the stores with salespeople largely steering customers away from them.

    I don't say that to dismiss the numerous screw-ups on the part of both Microsoft and Palm/HP in marketing those products, but I do think the carrier-driven model did put smaller competitors at a huge disadvantage.

  3. JH_Radio

    Thre ggoes the best audio DAC. MQA DAC too! This is very sad news for anyone who cares about audio. I guess Sony is the next one that could go bye bye... and also one of the last major ones with a headphone jack, although I still think LG's DAC was the better of the two. Now I suppose I could get one and put Lineage OS on it, if they even support them.

    • retcable

      In reply to JH_Radio:

      The V30 with it's quad-DAC really did have the best audio on a cellphone when paired with a good set of headphones. But like every other LG phone, sadly it only received pitiful software support from LG, one full Android OS version update, and the monthly security updates ceased after just one year after launch. I know that Android users are not supposed to care about updates, but that is just totally unacceptable.

  4. jlariviere

    sad... i was enjoying my V60, my primary device, although it is having HDMI out issues (for the second screen cae).

  5. behold105

    I had a LG V30 and enjoyed it for the most part. Towards the end the Bluetooth got really flaky which prompted a new phone purchase.

  6. ebraiter

    Just 3 months ago, LG told itworldcanada.com that there were expecting to rebuild.

    I guess they didn't feel there was any need to try and sell the division or got no offers.

  7. thretosix

    I had a V30 back in the day and it was pretty good up until they stopped updating it. That being said, it's as if they gave up on smartphones in general around the V20-V30 timeframe. I doubt they will be missed much.

    • Alex Taylor

      In reply to Thretosix:

      My first (and clearly now only) LG was a V30+ purchased to replace a dead Nexus 6p.

      I'd always been put off by the reports on the LG skin on reviews, but when it came time to buy it was the only non-Samsung option that met all my hardware wants: OLED, QI, Headphone jack. Wow that's a short list of things, but there was and are an even shorter list of devices that meet it.

      Apart from the absence of updates I've been very happy with it: replaced launcher and some other apps to my preference, but everything else is fine or better than fine.

      The AOD is good, Miracast works easily and well, and the settings aren't scrambled for no reason like Samsung.

      I'm clinging onto it despite the lack of updates and am at a loss to pick a replacement.

      Diminishing choice sucks.

  8. shmuelie

    I'd be willing to buy it, for like $1...

  9. crunchyfrog

    The playing field has narrowed quite a bit over the years. When I go to my local carrier store I see lots of Samsung and lots of Apple with a smattering of LG, Google and OnePlus. Maybe one or two models of those phones makers at the most.

    Is this going to open up the market for more Chinese makers to fill the void I wonder.

  10. crunchyfrog

    I think we've seen the writing on the wall for LG for some time now.

  11. djross95

    I did enjoy my V20 back in the day. Great audio DAC, removable battery, microSD card slot, great screen. They just don't make 'em like that any more.

  12. untitled1

    A decade ago you could buy Android phones from Samsung, LG, Dell, HTC, Motorola, Sony Ericsson; Windows phones from most of those same manufacturers; webOS phones from Palm; Symbian phones from Nokia; the iPhone; BlackBerrys from RIM ... I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting.

    Not saying all of those makers deserved to survive, but certainly some were forced out by anti-competitive pressures and could have done well in a more equitable marketplace.

  13. winbookxl2

    I loved LG devices, they made great smartphones for the prepaid smartphone markets. The LG Stylo were great note style devices for less.