LG is shutting down its once-revolutionary smartphone business to focus on connected devices, robotics, software, and electric vehicle components. The “strategic decision” was approved by LG’s board of directors on April 5th, and the company will fully shut down its smartphone unit by July 31st.
Rumors of LG’s exit from the smartphone industry began a few weeks ago—or a few years ago, depending on who you ask. It’s no secret that LG has struggled to sell its new devices, losing a significant chunk of its market share every year since 2009. LG blames the “incredibly competitive” smartphone industry for its failure, though the issue may have more to do with LG’s inability to navigate the global market, as it’s actually the 3rd largest phone brand in the United States.
In spite of its reduced market share, LG released some cool devices in 2020. The most notable is its LG Wing, a dual-screen phone that spins into a “T” shape. It ain’t the most practical thing, but at a time when smartphone manufacturers seem to intentionally avoid innovation, the LG Wing’s bizarre design is a breath of fresh air.
Of course, LG is one of the smartphone industry’s early pioneers, and it has a long history of putting out wacky, cutting-edge phones. The company released the first touchscreen mobile phone, it worked with Google on the legendary Nexus phones, and it sold an early predecessor to foldable phones, the “bent” LG Flex. Even if you’ve never owned an LG phone, you’ve experienced the company’s influence on mobile hardware and the Android OS.
But what happens to all the LG phones that people already own? According to its press release, LG will continue to offer service and software support for existing phones for a “period of time,” which will vary by region. If you’re looking to buy a new phone, you should avoid LG until the company clarifies how long this “period of time” will last.