LG Taps Out of Smartphone Market

Time is a cruel mistress, some say. Eight years ago, LG was riding high as the world’s third-largest phone manufacturer. This summer, it’ll stop making phones altogether.

The South Korean tech giant said Monday that it’s closing down its mobile phone unit.

“Pour One Out” For An Innovator

While its market share has diminished, LG remained an innovator. In fact, the company almost certainly had an impact on the phone you’re carrying right now.

LG routinely pushed the boundaries of what smartphone hardware and design could do or look like, with bigger competitors scrambling to replicate its best innovations:

  • Among LG’s innovations was the first modern triple camera phone, the reason every new smartphone on the market has ultrawide cameras.
  • It introduced sturdy stainless steel frames two years before Apple, bendable OLED screens before Samsung and Huawei, and built-in radar before Google’s Pixel 4.
  • It was working on a phone with a slide-out display which will now likely never see the light of day.

“LG were never perfect but in a world of boring slabs they delivered some of the most unique phone designs, ideas and features ever,” said tech reviewer Austin Evans. “Time to pour one out.”

Out With a Whimper, Not a Bang: Although it remained somewhat competitive in the U.S. with a 9% share of the smartphone market, LG’s global market share had fallen to 2% In the last six years. The smartphone division booked $4.5 billion in losses as Apple and Korean rival Samsung solidified their dominance.

the takeaway

LG’s smartphone division will join Blackberry, HTC and Nokia in the smartphone graveyard — and most of its market space will be gobbled up by Samsung.

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