Android loses a huge innovator as LG quits making phones
LG phones pushed the bleeding-edge of innovation, but it wasn’t enough. BRAD CHACOS reports
One of the biggest innovators in Android is bowing out. LG has revealed that it is exiting the phone business to focus on other “growth areas” like smart home devices, robotics, and electric vehicles.
Existing phones will remain available until the stock is sold through, and the company said, “LG will provide service support and software updates for customers of existing mobile products for a period of time which will vary by region.” Don’t expect to see that nifty rollable phone that LG showed off a CES, though. And an OS update to Android 12 in the autumn probably isn’t on the
cards either, since many of LG’s phones haven’t received Android 11 yet.
The shutdown comes as no surprise – LG’s phone division has posted huge losses over the past few years, and rumours of its demise have been whirling for months – but it’s still a shame. LG delivered consistently good (if not quite great) flagship phones in recent years, along with some affordable handsets that struck blows against phones that cost hundreds more. But the company’s lasting legacy may be its never-ending push for innovative features.
Witness the aforementioned rollable screen concept, or the dual screens on the LG V60 ThinQ 5G, or the wildly modular (and sadly short-lived) LG G5. But as the (de)motivational poster with a bent fork notoriously declares, ‘unique’ doesn’t always mean useful. We said the LG V8’s gesture-based “gimmicks are just too much to bear”, and called the swivelling secondary display on last year’s LG Wing as “a radical cry for attention”.
“The Wing seems like little more than a desperate attempt by LG to gain back some of the attention it’s lost over the years and maybe it’ll work,” we said. “But it’s hard to imagine that it’s going to transfer into relevance.”
It did not.
LG swung for the fences as often as any Android maker – but aiming for high rewards comes with a lot of risks too. The company never managed to land a true mainstream hit, and in a world where most people opt for the reliable nature of Apple, Samsung or Google phones, LG is finally striking out. The company expects to wind down its mobile business by 31 July.