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LG Retreats from The Global Smartphone Market: A Farewell

On April 5, the Seoul-based giant LG Electronics Inc. announced that it was leaving the “incredibly competitive” smartphone market to divert its resources into electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robotics, artificial intelligence, and business-to-business solutions

LG’s mobile phone sector is expected to entirely shut down by the end of this quarter. However, the company has promised service and software support for its existing products “for a period of time which will vary by region.”

For those of us who lived through the era of feature phones, you probably had an LG phone in your pocket at some point. LG was a titan much like Nokia was in its day. And much like Nokia, LG’s smartphone wing will now be a case study for the businesses of the future. We are not discussing that today.

Instead, today we bid farewell to yet another smartphone brand that was once our beloved. This is not a ‘rest in peace’ message, though; this is a thank you note for the company that brought us arguably the bulk of the features on our smartphones that we use every single day

In the twenty years that the mobile phone manufacturer has been in the market, it had made a name for itself as a company that was always willing to try new things regardless of its competitors.
Being a risk-taker meant that LG was the first to the ball in a lot of cases. For instance, LG was the first phone to introduce a capacitive touch screen with the LG Prada in a market run by pressure-sensitive touch screens. Sadly, the first iPhone that was released a month later is credited for the touch screen revolution.

LG was the first company to release a smartphone with slow-motion video recording in mid-2007 and high definition (1080p) video recording in 2011 with the LG Viewty and Optimus 2X, respectively.

It came out with the first curved smartphone screen in 2013, the first smartphone with an ultra-wide camera in 2016, the first ultra-wide smartphone screen all the way back in 2009, and the list goes on. Not to mention, LG also manufactured the Nexus line of Android smartphones. And most importantly, they did not give up on the headphone jack and even managed to fit in a Quad DAC for the audiophiles out there.

In short, LG’s mobile division has been a keen factor in giving the smartphone market a direction, but that does not always translate to sales. Although LG came up with a lot of innovative features, competitors were simply better at execution.

As the YouTube tech vlogger Austin Evans aptly put, “LG were never perfect, but in a world of boring slabs, they delivered some of the most unique phone designs, ideas, and features ever.”
Following the press release from the tech giant, many flocked to social media with a massive outpouring of nostalgia and love, where users shared photos of their old LG phones and reminisced over the company’s willingness to innovate.

Well there is still a silver lining to all this. In the years to come, LG has promised to use its experience as the once dominant smartphone manufacturer to develop other mobile products and also 6G.

All that being said, this move from LG has left a 2% vacuum in the global smartphone market share which according to a CNN source, will likely be absorbed by Samsung and few other smaller players.

I am Sushil Neaupane and I am a writer, techie, and travel enthusiast. I have a fascination-cum-obsession with mobile technology and I am always on the lookout for the next best gadget. If you happen to come across something along those lines, feel free to reach out to me.

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