LG will shut down smartphone business in July to focus on smart home, robotics

Kimiko G. Judith

LG has experimented with various layouts for its phones, like the the LG Wing, to attempt to bring in consumers. 

Angela Lang/CNET

LG on Sunday turned the most recent legacy handset maker to exit “the extremely competitive cell telephone sector” as it struggles in a marketplace dominated by Apple, Samsung and increasing Chinese handset makers. 

The South Korean company said it will close its mobile company unit by the close of July. In its place of smartphones, it will emphasis on good property products and solutions — an location where by it is really one particular of the most significant suppliers — as properly as electric car or truck elements, robotics, synthetic intelligence, business-to-enterprise solutions and other connected units. 

LG’s choice to wind down its mobile phone enterprise reflects the struggles confronted by numerous businesses in the current market. Apple and Samsung have extended been the only organizations that make considerable amounts of revenue from smartphones, and even they have struggled at moments. Customers are keeping onto their telephones for a longer time than ahead of, and they’re ever more in search of out considerably less expensive products, like Samsung’s Galaxy A lineup alternatively of its Galaxy S flagship products

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Other legacy cellphone models like BlackBerry and Nokia have confronted their very own struggles, with neither business existing in its unique type. HMD sells telephones underneath Nokia branding, while TCL marketed BlackBerry-branded telephones in advance of ending that partnership past calendar year. Nokia and BlackBerry, the leaders in the flip cellphone world, failed to transition speedily to touch-display screen smartphones, which doomed their chances in the cell market. LG, as well, struggled in the transfer to smartphones. Though people have typically preferred its units, it failed to have close to the marketing could of Samsung or the cult adhering to of Apple. 

In 2007, the year the first Iphone went on sale, LG was the fifth major cell phone seller just after Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson — all organizations, except Samsung, that today are smaller players in the smartphone market. In the fourth quarter of 2020, LG didn’t even rank in the best 5 when it arrived to the world’s major smartphone distributors. Even Huawei, which is facing US sanctions and can’t get the components it requirements to establish its phones, cracked the prime rankings in fifth place. Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi and Oppo stuffed the best 4 spots. 

Above the past decade, it is really come to be harder to get purchaser awareness in mobile. LG has experimented with innovative styles in excess of the past couple of many years in an hard work to entice potential buyers. Its LG Wing options two screens, a single of which swivels on best of the other. And in January at virtual CES, it teased what it hoped would be the world’s 1st rollable cell phone. The machine has a display screen that extends upward to make a more substantial, more tablet-like monitor. As CNET’s Roger Cheng noted, “presumably, the base of the mobile phone, when it can be in landscape method, has a mechanism that furls and unfurls the display screen, equivalent to how its rollable OLED televisions work — but on a more compact scale.”

But with the death of LG’s cellular organization will come the close of the would-be rollable cellphone. 

“LG Rollable is no for a longer time a component of our products system heading ahead,” LG spokesman Ken Hong informed CNET. 

LG stated it will carry on to provide present mobile phone stock, and it will offer service, assist and application updates for customers of current cellular devices for “a time period of time, which will differ by region.” The firm’s US small business didn’t quickly react to a ask for for information and facts about how extensive it will help US-based mostly customers. 

LG probable will lay off some workers, although several most likely will transfer to other pieces of LG’s business enterprise. It has staff across the world and manufactures its telephones in China, Brazil and Vietnam. The business is seeking at repurpose its manufacturing facilities to establish other merchandise like TVs, Hong said, but closure is also a likelihood. 

“Shifting forward, LG will keep on to leverage its cellular abilities and create mobility-relevant systems these kinds of as 6G to assist further improve competitiveness in other enterprise areas,” the organization stated in a statement. “Core systems developed for the duration of the two many years of LG’s cellular business enterprise operations will also be retained and utilized to current and future goods.”

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