This morning, LG issued a press release that announced the board of directors had decided to close down the conglomerate’s mobile phone business. The news is unfortunate, however isn’t too surprising given the mobile division had been accruing continuous operational losses over the last 6 years, greatly denting the company’s financials.

SEOUL, April 5, 2021 — LG Electronics Inc. (LG) announced that it is closing its mobile business unit. The decision was approved by its board of directors earlier today.

LG’s 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.

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.

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.

LG had been one of the major mobile pioneers in the feature phone market, and also a larger player in the early 2010’s with many notable earlier successes such as the LG G2 or the G3.

Unfortunately in the following years, the company had been struck hard by chains of hardware disadvantages, ranging from the Snapdragon 810/808 generation in the G4, a failed attempt at hardware modularity in the G5. LG had also suffered issues over several generations in their OLED display attempts, plagued by lower quality panels with image quality issues, or power efficiency deficits compared to other alternatives in the market who used Samsung Display OLED panels.

At one point, LG had plans to deploy their own in-house design “Nuclun” SoCs into their mobile devices, announcing their partnership with Intel Custom Foundry to produce a leading-edge design on Intel’s 10nm process node. Unfortunately, the project burned to the ground along with Intel’s 10nm struggles, with the chips never seeing the light of day.

LG’s latest device attempts in the form of the V60 and the VELVET were actually greater leaps for the company’s designs as well as executions, however all coming too late, with a continuing problem of availability of the devices, as LG still ran with an availability model of working closely with carriers and releasing devices only in markets where carriers decided they were interested in supporting that device.

The company will be winding down its mobile business through July 31st, refocusing its resources into other divisions of the conglomerate.

Source: LG Press Release

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  • SarahKerrigan - Monday, April 5, 2021 - link

    Thanks! Serves me right for not clicking on the link. :)
  • eastcoast_pete - Monday, April 5, 2021 - link

    Intel's PR blurb about Nunclun at the time mentioned "10 nm" alongside 14 and others. However, what was probably a lot more lethal than Intel not getting its act together on 10 nm at that time was that (AFAIK) they couldn't get others to commit to their custom SoC; given LG's lacking track record here, probably not so surprising.
  • Silver5urfer - Monday, April 5, 2021 - link

    LG made Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 which were fantastic devices. Google had wireless charging on Nexus 4 but with their iPixel trash they couldn't get it until recent iterations. How damaged Google is internally shows that.

    LG pioneered the high quality DAC AMP combos in the phones with V10, their V20 upped even further to include the ESS SABRE 9218 chip which had powerful AMP on top, then they even pushed further to make it have professional audio recorder with Low cut filters, High wind noise filters and gain settings on the damn fly, plus move them to SD card with karaoke mix option in 24Bit FLAC. It didn't even stop there, they added all of that to their Manual camera controls which have Focus peaking and exception UI on V20 / V30. Basically a powerhouse. And the UWA lens started by LG V20 copied by others.

    Dual Display technology which actually fucking works ? vs the gimmick $2000+ garbage foldable plastic screens with high failure chance.

    V30 is their best designed phone, it had solid bezels without any bullshit notch or hole punch and proper proportions they called it "Balanced Design" still have that phone, amazing HW for fantastic feature set. Even have that CineLog RAW Video capture format and tons of options damn, the 9218P chipset for Audio added the ESS Filters for impulse responses.

    A big shame was their G3 and G4 bootlooping HW problems caused a lot of problem which caused lot of people to move away, they changed a lot during V20, ti had back glass camera lens shatter issue but it was the last true high power SoC removable battery device, it even has latest LineageOS. With the mobile department changes they abandoned the BL unlock program, V30 was the last it was having unofficial method probably stuffed in by Developers themselves as the OS optimization on V30 was fantastic it runs just like Day 1 I never had such experience with Samsung or OnePlus phones.

    Their failure was marketing team, absolute garbage. The HW was not even advertised properly, while Samsung made a lot during S8 era even though LG launched the new aspect ratio first. And the added mobile dept CEO changes further reduced their focus and they abandoned the notchless perfect balanced design to a hole punch, I think still in 2019 they had 13% N.A marketshare vs iPixel's less than 3%, in that bucket chinese OnePlus was one, the rankings were Apple, Samsung, and 3rd being LG followed by Motorola and Huawei (Honor brand) then you have the less than 3% trash with Pixel, OnePlus phones. SW updates is another problem they should have released those security patches at-least since people wanted more of that secure feeling, Android updates are a shitshow anyways, 10 and 11 completely kill the filesystem and induce a nightmare for devices with SD card slot, which is why Xperia 1 Mk II doesn't have that garbage from what I read.

    Thanks to Chinese manufacturing, cheap crap flooded the Asian market and other EU places LG couldn't take more loss, their phones had solid sale prices after 6 months, on B&H, massive discounts on brand new box pieces. I got G8X for $400 with dual display that was the case for V20, V30, V40, G8 and G8X. So they had to close the shop due to all the problems,

    V50 had that stupid Sprint bs and V60 doesn't even have Carrier Unlocked phone in US. EU had them with BL unlock but no NA market is no XDA mods or others, still their phones were top at Head Fi forum for best Audiophile DAP replacement devices.

    Now we have Chinese garbage, even here on AT every month we only have Samsung or that OnePlus and Xiaomi. No LG phones to be found, shame since they had much better HW for cost. And now we won't have 3.5mm jack and SD slot on a flagship on one less brand. Sony is the only one left now.

    Android itself is becoming like iOS now, with all the UI changes and tough scene on custom ROM mods and rooting, filesystem issues, API blocks and more. Google's focus is lost completely, they are now just aping Apple hard on SW and HW and marketing, Samsung also same, Chinese OEMs are even worse MIUI is a total rip off of iOS. I wish Pixel closed their stupid shop than LG.

    End of an Era.
  • Silver5urfer - Monday, April 5, 2021 - link

    LG audio capabilities -

    That ESS9218P is specifically packaged for LG phone without EMI interference issues and works wonders.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Monday, April 5, 2021 - link

    The G8 was a good idea, but for $800 it was lacking compared to similar phones, and being carrier locked was not doing LG any wonders.
  • GeoffreyA - Monday, April 5, 2021 - link

    Never had an LG phone but it is sad to see them go. Agree that Android is becoming more like iOS. Sadly, everyone just copies Apple's choices as if they're infallible.
  • zodiacfml - Monday, April 5, 2021 - link

    Sad to see this as I'm still using a Nexus 5 to this day and the display is sharper and cleaner than Samsung's Amoleds. My gripe with LG is premium pricing, always at the level of Samsung despite declining interest over LG brand and growing Chinese competition.
  • eastcoast_pete - Monday, April 5, 2021 - link

    In some ways, too bad. I had and mostly liked the V20, and still think the Wing is a design worth saving, although more as a phone for working (wide screen on top, keyboard on the smaller screen in the handle of the T-bone) than gaming.
    What made me sour on LG was their abysmal software support, really more the absence thereof. LG took longer to update Android or even just security updates than even smaller Chinese brands; not the premium experience one expected from premium-priced phones.
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, April 6, 2021 - link

    There is just no excuse for:

    • Not keeping software completely up-to-date with security.

    • Not making it possible to upgrade the OS to the latest version.

    Anti-virus companies can deliver patches on an hourly basis, or faster. It's complete incompetence for a phone company to not make security patches available for an OS as standardized as Android is.
  • eastcoast_pete - Monday, April 5, 2021 - link

    Also, if LG wants to leave the smartphone market in a true blaze of glory, how about giving people of all current LG phones the ability to easily (OTA) root their phones - no muss, no fuss. Plus, release the drivers required to operate the double screen or swing-out screen of the Wing so that they can be incorporated into free and open Android flavors. This way, LG would get a lot of goodwill (corporate image!) and LG phones become great devices for alternative/open source OS variants. Plus, it's not like LG will provide OS or even security updates going forward. They were pretty bad about doing so when they had a smartphone business, so they are unlikely to start now that they're closing it.

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