LG Wing

LG shutters its smartphone business

Competition from newer Chinese rivals cited as the reason for the demise of the 'quirky' manufacturer
LG Wing

7 April 2021

LG has officially killed off its smartphone businesses after reported losses of $4.5 billion over the last decade.

The South Korean firm is arguably the biggest manufacturer since BlackBerry to call time on its mobile phone production. The company was once the third-largest smartphone provider, but in recent years had struggled to get inside the top 10.

LG is best known for offering ‘quirky’ designs but it said it could no longer compete in the market. The decision to shut down the business is “unsurprising”, according to CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood, as rumours had been circulating for a while. Even so, he called it a “sad day” for the South Korean conglomerate.




“LG’s decision to abandon mobile phones reflects the unrelenting competitive pressure it has faced in recent years,” Wood told IT Pro. “Its traditional arch-rival, Samsung, was always considered to be the biggest threat, but arguably it’s the slew of relatively new Chinese rivals that likely beaten it into submission.

“There is little doubt that a number of other sub-scale phone makers will see LG’s news and wonder how long they can remain in such a highly competitive, over-saturated market.”

There were reports earlier in the year that Huawei might offload its smartphone businesses due to the crippling restrictions placed on it by the US. The firm has sold its Honor brand, but it refuted claims that its P and Mate series of phones would go the same way. As such, a P50 smartphone is due to be unveiled in the coming months.

There is a suggestion that LG’s designs took a more gimmicky turn as it edged closer to the end. While other manufacturers developed ‘foldable’ screens, LG looked at more quirky methods to increase displays. The ‘Wing’, was actually two regular-sized screens with one that sits on top and spins to create a ‘T’ shaped display. “It’s hard to know whether these were just ill-judged bets or acts of desperation as LG tried to take a different approach to rivals, but sadly, with the benefit of hindsight, they did little to help the company,” Wood added.

The Wing may very well be the last of the firms ‘unusual’ designs. At CES 2021 LG revealed a prototype for a smartphone with a ‘rollable’ display, where the screen extends like a garage door. Sadly, though, it will never be sold in shops.

© Dennis Publishing

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