LG's time as a smartphone manufacturer might be up. After years of struggling to catch up with the bigger players in the mobile space, including rivals Samsung, LG CEO Kwon Bong-Seok sent out a statement to staff explaining that it might take drastic action to end this loss-making sector of its enterprise.
“Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about time for LG to make a cold judgment and the best choice,” an LG official told the Korea Herald (opens in new tab). “The company is considering all possible measures, including sale, withdrawal and downsizing of the smartphone business.”
According to the report, LG has lost as much as $4.5 billion over the last five years on smartphones, turning in 22 consecutive money-losing quarters (opens in new tab).
Kwon vowed to turn LG's fortunes around in the mobile market when he took charge in January 2020 but, one year down the line, it looks as if he may wish to pull the plug instead.
According to an earlier leak reported by TheElec (opens in new tab) (now deleted), possible options that keep LG in the smartphone space include continuing sales of lower-end mobiles in Latin America and further development on the LG Rollable smartphone shown off at CES 2021.
LG scored big successes with the likes of its Prada and Chocolate handsets in the middle of the noughties but the move to Android-based smartphones never took off in the same way as it did for Samsung and its Galaxy series of devices. In 2017 the company was sued (opens in new tab) over poor software integration on certain mobiles which caused the Android OS to get caught in a boot loop, with the devices themselves rendered useless.
More recent What Hi-Fi? reviews of the LG G ThinQ range of smartphones had looked promising but these successes were always dwarfed by superior devices elsewhere. Hopefully, the company will continue with its display innovation for mobile. We await to hear Kwon's choice on the matter.
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