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Does LG's mobile phone business deserve to die?


LG Velvet back cameras at angle

It’s hard to succeed at the mobile phone business these days. Just look at the wreckage. We’ve seen the total demise of smaller players such as Pantech, Essential, and Sony Ericsson, as well as the disintegration of giants such as BlackBerry and Nokia. Kyocera and HTC continue to hang on, but for how long no one knows.

Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, Huawei, and Vivo own the market right now. There are scads of smaller players — including Google, HMD Global, Motorola, OnePlus, Sony, TCL, ZTE, and LG — that fall into the category of “other” on most analyst charts detailing marketshare. These “other” phone makers are fighting for scraps of the leaders, which own the bulk of the market.

LG’s mobile phone business has had a tough go of it. It used to be a top five player, but no longer. Remember the VX-8300, the enV, the Chocolate, the Nexus 4? Some of you probably do, most likely do not. LG’s mobile phone business has lost money for 23 consecutive business quarters, according to Reuters. That’s basically six years. Companies can only lose money for so long before something needs to change. LG has tried to change. It’s shaken things up, given us the Wing, and, more recently, tried to sell the mobile phone business to another company. It has reportedly failed at even that.

So what now? LG may be weighing whether or not to simply exit the smartphone business entirely. A decision might arrive as soon as next month. LG doesn’t comment on rumors, so there’s no telling what might happen here.

What we do know is this: It doesn’t feel like LG’s heart has been in the game for some time.

LG Wing open home screens 1

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Its last flagship arrived a full year ago, and there’s no concrete word on a successor. The V60 was a solid, if bulky, device. I would love to see what the V70 looks like. Has LG designed it? We may never know. The Wing was interesting, but in the end the swivel screen served no real practical purpose. Tech without purpose is just a gimmick. I’d have much rather seen LG do a folding phone to compete with the Samsung Galaxy Z Folds of the world. LG may or may not have rollable screen tech up its sleeve, but it feels like a pipe dream at this point. In the meantime, the company sits quietly. LG hasn’t introduced a new phone since the entry-level K22 last year.

To be clear, I want LG to succeed. I hate to see any phone maker call it quits or go out of business. I wish many of the aforementioned device companies were still rocking it. Alas, you can’t argue with the almighty dollar. With so many years of losses, LG’s parent company can only carry it for so long. It looks like its journey may be at an end.

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What do you think? Should LG call it quits? Or do you think there’s potential in the company taking back some market share? We want to hear from you. Cast your vote in the poll and be sure to speak up in the comments.

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