Sunday, 11 April 2021

LG bows out of smartphone market

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Tuesday 06 April 21

The electronics company said that the smartphone market was “incredibly competitive” and that it would instead focus on novel and growing markets, such as parts for electric cars

LG announced on Monday that it would be closing down its smartphone manufacturing business by the 31st of July, citing the incredibly competitive global market. It follows the likes of Blackberry and Nokia, who have also been squeezed out of the market over the last decade by the rising dominance of Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and Xiaomi.   While at one time the third…

LG announced on Monday that it would be closing down its smartphone manufacturing business by the 31st of July, citing the incredibly competitive global market. It follows the likes of Blackberry and Nokia, who have also been squeezed out of the market over the last decade by the rising dominance of Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and Xiaomi.
 
While at one time the third-largest smartphone business in the world, LG’s market share has been dwindling for some time. Their smartphone unit had not posted a profit since before 2015 and has been increasingly reliant on novel designs to try and stay afloat. Sadly, whether it was 2015’s modular LG G5, which had swappable parts, or 2020’s LG Wing, which had screen that swivels out to reveal another beneath it, none of these interesting ideas gained enough traction to sustain the business.
 
Signs that LG’s mobile business was in immediate jeopardy have been apparent since earlier this year. Rumours had been circling for a number of weeks suggesting that LG was looking to offload its struggling mobile business, with potential buyers including the likes of Facebook, Google,  Volkswagen, and Vietnam’s Vingroup. If discussions were indeed taking place, it seems none of them will now bear fruit.
 
For customers currently using LG smartphones, support will continue for a period of time that varies by region.
 
As LG steps away from the smartphone market, it will instead be focussing its efforts on new and growing tech areas, such as smart home technology, robotics, AI, and electric vehicle components. Interestingly, the South Korean company has also said that it will focus on “mobility-related technologies such as 6G", meaning LG could be banking on becoming a major tech players in the autonomous driving market, even if that market itself will note mature for a number of years.
 
Of course, LG is already a major player where it comes to consumer electronics, such as TV’s, where it has managed to more than keep the pace with its competitors.
 
While many will be sad to see LG and their interesting (if ultimately unsuccessful) mobile designs bow out of the smartphone market, their exit does represent something of an opportunity for their rivals. LG still represents around 2% of the global smartphone market, according to data from Counterpoint, meaning there will soon be a significant number of LG users up for grabs.
 
 
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