Monday, 05 April 2021 14:08

LG lets go of mobile business worldwide: LG smartphone lovers gutted at shutdown Featured

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Unfortunately, there weren't enough people who loved LG's smartphones enough to buy them in the quantities required to sustain great longevity for LG's smartphone business, which has now breathed its last gasp.

Stating that it wishes to focus on "growth sectors including EVs, IoT and B2B solutions", LG has announced that it is closing its mobile business unit, with the decision approved by its board of directors "earlier today".

Reports last month and even earlier suggested LG was thinking of this action in January, even though LG was showcasing its rollable display at CES 2021 and was otherwise planning to launch a phone with such a display later this year, and was planning to launch new LG smartphones in the first half of 2021.

All of that is now no longer happening, although given LG does have a display business, there's no reason why its rollable screen technology won't find its way into other brands of smartphones, as it is pretty impressive, with TCL another company working on rollable screen tech, too. 

LG pioneered and popularised the wide-screen camera on smartphones, 18:9 aspect ratios, it introduced a stylus into its phones that it sadly didn't continue doing, LG had modular attachments to ist LG G5 model that it sadly didn't continue, LG had dual screen phones, its innovative LG Wing dual-screen phone and more, but none of these innovations were enough to capture enough of the public's attention, nor the hearts, minds and wallets.

Personally, I'm sorry to see LG leave the smartphone business, but it is business and LG can now focus on other areas. 

LG says its "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."

You'll still be able to buy an LG Android smartphone though, because current LG phone inventory will continue to be available for sale, but once those units are gone, LG's phone business will be long gone for good.

So, what about service support and software updates for existing models that still quality for updates?

We're told that "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."

So, what's next? Well, we're told that, "moving forward, LG will continue to leverage its mobile expertise and develop mobility-related technologies such as 6G to help further strengthen competitiveness in other business areas.

"Core technologies developed during the two decades of LG’s mobile business operations will also be retained and applied to existing and future products.

"The wind down of the mobile phone business is expected to be completed by July 31 although inventory of some existing models may still be available after that."

Indeed, LG is moving forward with its home automation business, with a media release from March 31 celebrating LG's ThinQ line of smart home devices, noting the smart home revolution is here, with the market predicted to reach US $622 billion by 2026, with LG suggesting such a figure is merely "scratching the surface" of what's possible.

LG has also been busy licensing its WebOS TV operating system, with Aldi's Bauhn brand offering a 70-inch WebOS TV last month for $799,99 AUD, which a friend purchased for his family. The TV had the WebOS interface and LG's "magic remote", along with the ability to set up LG ThinQ devices if you have any, and for the price, it was pretty impressive!

The Bauhn brand has previously offered Android TV as an interface, while the Soniq brand also has a WebOS-powered TV, a 65-inch model for $699 AUD, although Soniq's other models are Android TV powered. 

LG has also just introduced its impressive 2nd-gen thin and light Gram notebook range to Australia, so while one business division closes, another one opens.

So, LG as a company isn't going to disappear - it is simply refocusing its business on areas where it believes it can make money by providing products and services that people and companies want to buy.

When you're doing that as a company, and succeeding, well... Life's Good!


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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