The reports out of its native Korea were correct, LG is shutting down its mobile business. With losses continuing to mount, and billions of dollars seemingly squandered on quirky handsets, the electronics giant has officially thrown in the towel on its struggling phone division. In a statement, the company said “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.”
For now, LG said that its current phone inventory remains available for sale, and that existing devices will continue to receive after-sale support and software updates “for a period of time which will vary by region.” The company expects to complete the winding down of its mobile business by the end of July, though it notes that some LG phones may continue to be sold after that date.
Despite its CEO’s pledge to turnaround its fortunes by 2021, both LG’s Velvet and Wing devices failed to gain traction with the public. The lure of dual-screen phones (and the promise of rollable displays) was clearly not enough to prompt consumers to part ways with dominant players Apple and Samsung. While the litany of affordable flagships from the likes of OnePlus and Xiaomi continued to chip away at what remained of its market share.
By December, the writing was on the wall for the Korean electronics giant. With its stake in the global phone market down to a paltry 1.7 percent, LG announced it would outsource the designs of more of its low- and mid-range handsets to third-parties. Just months earlier, it had attempted to crack the cheap 5G phone arena with the $400 K92.
Clearly, LG was not ready to give up on its smartphone ambitions without a fight. Last month, Korean newspaper Dong-A Ilbo reported that it was even in talks to sell the flailing business to Germany’s Volkswagen AG and Vietnam’s Vingroup JSC, but the discussions ultimately failed.