Since the dawn of smartphones Asian, particularly South Korean, electronics brands have been right there in the early advances of technology and operating systems as more established companies in the US and Europe. One of them, LG, had the honor of producing (in collaboration with Prada) the first phone with large touchscreen in 2006, a year before Apple started the race in earnest with the first iPhone. LG would then bring out a series of Android smartphones over the next decade, only to slowly and surely lose ground against fellow Korean brands and even Chinese competitors. It has gotten to the point that the company is now considering an exit.
According to The Verge, LG CEO Kwon Bong-seok has caught the attention of the electronics community when he sent notice to company staff this week of a possible exit by the manufacturer from making smartphones. The internal memo, dated Wednesday January 20, spoke of the growing field of competition in the market for Android smartphones, one which LG has had trouble keeping abreast with. “The company is considering all possible measures, including sale, withdrawal and downsizing of the smartphone business,” Kwon announced in the notification.
In a later press statement, an LG spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of the memo and gave reassurance to LG users and the public that nothing has been decided yet of the company’s possible smartphone-less future direction. “LG Electronics management is committed to making whatever decision is necessary to resolve its mobile business challenges in 2021,” The speaker says. “As of today, nothing has been finalized.” All that is certain is that options regarding the LG smartphone arm are being considered, from as little as just downsizing the division to as much as selling it off.
LG has every right to be worried of its smartphone prospects. Its offerings such as the G7, V40, G8 and V50 phones could not seem to hold a candle compared to devices rolled out by Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Vivo and more. Its latest yet-to-be-released gimmick smartphone is the “Rollable,” with a flexible display screen which is normally rolled up internally in phone mode, but can “unroll” to expand the screen into tablet mode. The LG Rollable was recently teased at the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show, but specs remain elusive, with only a promise to release the device sometime this year. Worst-case scenario, this could be the last LG smartphone model.Image from NDTV Gadgets 360