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LG will shut down smartphone business in July to focus on smart home, robotics

LG will shut down smartphone custom in July to focus on smart home, robotics

LG on Sunday became the unexperienced legacy phone-maker to exit “the incredibly competitive mobile named sector” as it struggles in a market dominated by Apple, Samsung and growing Chinese manufacturers. 

The South Korean custom said it will close its mobile business unit by the end of July. Instead of smartphones, it will focus on smart home products — an area where it’s one of the biggest providers — as well as electric vehicle components, robotics, artificial intelligence, business-to-business products and other connected devices. 

LG’s manager to wind down its phone business reflects the argues faced by many companies in the market. Apple and Samsung have long been the only worries that make significant amounts of money from smartphones, and even they have struggled at times. Consumers are holding onto their phones longer than by, and they’re increasingly seeking out less expensive models, like Samsung’s Galaxy A lineup instead of its Galaxy S flagship devices

Other legacy named brands such as BlackBerry and Nokia have faced their own argues, and neither company now exists in its original form. HMD sells phones plan Nokia branding, while TCL sold BlackBerry-branded phones before defending that partnership last year. Nokia and BlackBerry, the heads in the QWERTY phone world, failed to transition posthaste to touchscreen smartphones, which doomed their chances in the mobile market. LG, too, struggled in the move to smartphones. While consumers and reviewers have generally common its devices, LG didn’t have near the marketing powerful of Samsung or the cult following of Apple. 

In 2007, the year the splendid iPhone went on sale, LG was the fifth biggest named vendor after Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson — all worries, except Samsung, that are minor players in today’s smartphone market. In the fourth quarter of 2020, LG didn’t rank in the top five when it came to the world’s biggest smartphone vendors. Even Huawei, which is facing US sanctions and can’t get the components it consumes to build its phones, managed fifth place. Apple, Samsung and China’s Xiaomi and Oppo full the top four spots.

Over the past decade, it’s become harder to get consumer attention in mobile. LG has experimented with innovative designs over the past pair of years in an effort to attract buyers. Its LG Wing features two screens, one of which swivels on top of the new. And in January at CES, it teased what it hoped would be the world’s suited rollable phone. The device has a display that extends upward to beget a larger, more tablet-like screen. As CNET’s Roger Cheng well-known, “presumably, the bottom of the phone, when it’s in landscape mode, has a mechanism that furls and unfurls the exhibit, similar to how its rollable OLED televisions work — but on a smaller scale.”

But with the end of LG’s mobile business comes the end of the would-be rollable phone. 

“LG Rollable is no longer a part of our subjects strategy going forward,” LG spokesman Ken Hong told CNET. 

LG said it will cease to sell current phone inventory, and it will provided service, support and software updates for customers of existing mobile devices for “a terms of time, which will vary by region.” The company’s US commercial said “additional details on software updates will be imparted in the near future.”

Meanwhile, the big US carriers said they’ll cease to support LG phone users. 

A spokesman for AT&T said in a statement that the wireless provider is “aware of LG’s executive to exit the mobile business,” adding that “as a commitment to our customers, we’ll continue to support those using LG devices on our network as LG creates this transition.” 

The third-largest US carrier says that it plans to cease selling through its existing device inventory and “will work closely with LG to Decide next steps.”

LG likely will lay off some employees, though many probably will move to other parts of LG’s commercial. It has employees across the globe and manufactures its phones in China, Brazil and Vietnam. The company is looking at repurpose its facilities to invent other products like TVs, Hong said, but closure is also a possibility. 

“Moving onward, LG will continue to leverage its mobile expertise and invent mobility-related technologies such as 6G to help further strengthen competitiveness in new business areas,” the company said in a statement. “Core technologies developed during the two decades of LG’s mobile commercial operations will also be retained and applied to existing and future products.”

CNET’s Eli Blumenthal contributed to this report.