LG closes down its smartphone branch

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The Korean electronics company LG has announced that it is closing down its smartphone branch. The company saw no future in the increasingly competitive smartphone market and will focus on other branches.

The announcement states that the company’s board has approved the decision. From now on, LG will focus mainly on ‘growth areas’ such as components for electric cars, connected devices, smart homes, robotics, artificial intelligence and B2B products.

LG also says it will focus on leveraging its expertise in mobile devices to work on mobility-related technologies such as 6G. The core technologies developed by LG’s mobile division over the past 20 years will remain in LG’s hands and be applied in current and future products.

Continued support for existing devices

The company expects to have completely shut down the phone business by July 31. After that, limited stock of already produced phones may still be available. The company also promises to continue offering updates for existing devices.

The upgrade to Android 11 is still scheduled for the end of 2021 for many devices. The upgrade has already been rolled out for some other devices. Some devices may also still receive an upgrade to Android 12 in the future, reports XDA Developers. The website expects that only recent expensive devices such as the Velvet, V60 ThinQ and Wing will receive that final upgrade.

Rumours of possible sale

Rumours that LG wanted to discontinue its smartphone branch have been circulating for some months now. In January, an internal email was circulated from LG CEO Kwon Bong-Seok. In it, he said that the company had to make a sober assessment of whether to continue with the smartphone branch now that competition is becoming fiercer. LG was still toying with the idea of selling the business. The Vietnamese company Vingroup seemed a logical buyer.

LG smartphones have never caught on in Europe. The market share in that region fluctuated around 5 percent for a while, but has been declining for years now. In 2020, LG’s market share in the smartphone market did not exceed 2 per cent. LG’s entire smartphone branch has been losing money since 2015. That was the last year the LG made a Nexus smartphone.