back to article LG Electronics finally gives up cellphone business

LG Electronics' board has tired of its loss-making smartphone business and ordered its closure. The South Korean electronics titan announced the decision on Monday, after enduring six years of operating losses totaling an estimated US$4.4bn. "LG’s strategic decision to exit the incredibly competitive mobile phone sector will …

  1. theOtherJT

    Shame

    I've had a couple of LG phones and they were both really good. Cheap, simple, did everything I needed from them... and as such probably had absolutely paper thin profit margins compared to the "We've put this 4k display into a 6 inch device so we can charge you $1000 for a 'feature' that you can't possibly make any use of." brigade. That's got to be another problem - my current (LG) phone is 4 years old and I see absolutely no reason to replace it. It does everything I need it to do. "Smart" phones look increasingly stupid from where I'm sat, and I'm sure it's not just me.

    1. Flip

      Re: Shame

      "..I see absolutely no reason to replace it."

      I used to think that way until my banking app(s) became outdated, through no fault of the phone other than having an older OS (Moto G3 with Marshmallow). Now even that limited "luxury" is no longer possible, and the phone is now just a phone (and SMS/MMS) device.

      1. oiseau Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Shame

        ... until my banking app(s) became outdated ...

        I wouldn't be caught dead doing banking with a phone.

        O.

    2. Snake Silver badge

      Re: Shame

      Not all LG's are cheap, I have the pleasure of currently owning (and typing this on) a ( legendary?) V30+ ThinQ, which I am very happy with.

      My issue is that I now have 2 "choices" when the eventual time for replacement arrives: Samsung or Apple.

      And I despise both, both are garbage as far as I'm concerned.

      A Hobson's choice between a device hampered with the tremendous burden of a completely bloated and overdone UI overlay, or a device placed inside a 'garden' surrounded in functional effect by a wall of barbed wire, is no "choice" at all.

      I look to my smartphone future with dread.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Shame

        For now I found a way out, when my last LG needed replacement, I couldn't find another LG and got an OPPO. And when my son needed a replacement for his LG, I couldn't find another LG either and he got an Huawei. Both do what they must and work satisfactory without the Samsung bloat.

      2. JDPower666 Bronze badge

        Re: Shame

        If you think those are your only two options you're not paying enough attention to the current marketplace.

        1. Snake Silver badge

          Re: paying attention

          I'm paying very much attention. I am not only in the U.S., which restricts the availability of the Chinese brands, I am also on CDMA.

          My statement about options (excluding cheap Motorolas) pretty much stands.

      3. Montreal Sean

        Re: Shame

        @Snake

        I've been a happy Motorola owner for quite some time.

        Moto G LTE, then Moto E5 Play, now Moto G8 Power Lite.

        Ok so none of them are anywhere near flagship level but they do all that I need. Email, phone, sms/mms, web browsing, pdf viewing, movie viewing...

        All came with a vanilla Android, or incredibly close to it, and very little bloatware.

        None of them over $200 unlocked, new in box from a retailer.

        Your tastes may differ, to each their own and all that. :)

      4. trifle7
        Mushroom

        Re: Shame

        I don't know about the 'two choices' as such but there is certainly a lack of any real variety.

        In Android land, most of what's on offer is much of a muchness packed with the oft decried bloatware that manufacturers have talked themselves into thinking is some kind of differentiator (perhaps with the rationale of hooking us into future services?).

        Personally I'd jump at the chance to go back a step. A flip-phone with buttons, absent of a camera and colour display would do just fine and be infinitely more practical day-to-day. Unfortunately, in the modern era, the must haves of security, dual SIM & device management mean we too are stuck with an equally bleak outlook.

        :-(

      5. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Shame

        Sony phones usually have an Android close to stock, if it's an aversion to all things Chinese that's narrowed your vision.

        Seems a bit odd that you see Samsung and Apple as your only options.

        1. John H Woods

          Re: Shame

          Sony phones usually have an Android close to stock ... and, in my judgement, pretty decent cameras. I've had SONY phones for years since the first waterproof Xperia, love them. If you time the purchase right, you can usually got some good freebies - I got PS3, PS4 and some *really* good N/C headphones this way.

          1. Down not across Silver badge

            Re: Shame

            On (some) Xperias you also have the option of installing Sailfish. Yes there are other options too, but Xperia seems to be somewhat better supported (at least when I last looked, which admittedly was some time ago).

    3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Shame

      Smartphones tend to be bloated messes with all useless apps preloaded. The last several phones I have had did/do all I really need out of the box: phone calls, texts, weather, an occasional photo, and directions. The rest is fluff whether preinstalled or installed by me. I have not seen a phone, even bargain basement ones, that could not do my list in years.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shame

      I was toying with an idea of buying one 2nd hand to replace my aging samsung. On paper (I think it was g4, or something) it had all I needed, i.e. rootable, removable battery, great camera, dual sim, etc. But, when I started digging for problems, it turned out there was one or two that kept re-surfacing, and - typically for 'manufacturers' - LG refused to acknowledge and address that issue. Given 2nd hand units were available for at least 150 quid in decent state, and usually 'refurbished' from HK or China, I asked myself: is it worth my frustration (and bleeding extra for repairs) when I'm sold a dude? In the end, I got something else 3rd hand. No root, no removable battery, no dual sim, poor camera. But it was (equivalent of) 70 quid, and it's built like a brick and it turned out I can live with these limitations. One of those things, like Samsung cameras, they could have been great, but - not enough profit, so good bye and fuck you for your custom.

  2. sreynolds Silver badge

    You are pretty much fucked if you have to license everything.

    Those IP holders are not greedy at all.

  3. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Facepalm

    LG is great hardware running half-assed software. Gluing AOSP on firmware is their best bet at making a 'smart' device. Half of what LG announced they'd like to focus on shouldn't be on their roadmap at all until they can master the trivial stuff like product use cases, UX, and P2P communications.

    Ah, they plan to work on 6G technologies too. Who's asking for THz cellular bands when range issues with 28 GHz 5G bands are already hindering adoption?

  4. pear

    Eh

    Eh I had a G4 with various issues, it was repaired/replaced and then continued to have battery issues later.

    They did seem to be putting out some interesting stuff, mind.

    Switched to iphone and it was just less hassle overall.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Eh

      LG made some odd design decisions after the G2, with modular components and stuff. Strangely, they continued making serious and compelling flagship handsets, in the V serries with odd nomenclature. Then they had various bootloader issues, which put many people off.

  5. vmistery

    Somewhat sad but they mainly seemed to focus on gimmicks in my eyes. I hope we don’t just see the takeover my the Chinese brands and that other players survive. It would be a shame to see only Apple Samsung and Chinese brands.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      LG actually had *two* ranges of flagship phone, the solid then gimmicky G series, and the solid but unheard of V series.

      Poor communication on their part. Some lovely phones aling the way, but too many unforced errors.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Sony are Japanese, if that helps.

  6. douglasac10

    Surprised it didn't happen sooner

    I had an LG G3 which was a nice enough phone, up until it forgot that had the ability to access a cellular network and proceeded to run like a three legged rhinoceros. Was able to get it "fixed" under warranty, but battery life was shot to pieces after that.

    Wasn't in any particular rush to buy another one of their phones after that.

  7. Dave K

    Farewell!

    I'll be sad to see LG go. Had an LG G4 for many years and it was the best smartphone I've owned. Yes, there was the well-known bootloop issue (had my phone fixed under phone insurance). That aside however, it had a great camera, headphone jack, SD slot and removable battery. It also didn't succumb to "performance-rot" like many Samsung phones I've had, and was slick and responsive even after more than 5 years of hammer.

    They were also a company that was always trying to innovate. Of course, not all of their innovations were successful (or at times even sensible). I looked more recently at LG to replace my ageing G4, and too many of the innovations did come across more as being questionable gimmicks if I'm honest. Still, I'll be sorry to see them go.

  8. SecretSonOfHG

    Pity, hope their TV division keeps running

    Because I've found LG to be the sweet spot in price-performance-reliability ratios on a few product segments. Our backup phone for the times one of our main phones is broken/missing is still a G4 and we have 3 LG TVs, 13, 8 and 2 years old all running flawlessly. Can't say the same of Samsung gear: poor quality control and even worse service.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Pity, hope their TV division keeps running

      Their TV division is fine, nobody is competing with them on OLED.

  9. Nick

    LG - full of neat stuff that not enough of us appreciated

    I've owned several V-series and am a big fan of their wired audio performance (and their ridiculously comprehensive support for bluetooth codecs). Apart from this though, there's no reason not to get a Google Pixel or mid-range iPhone (IMHO).

    I'll probably get myself an external DAC and a cheap phone when my V50 gets obsoleted in a few years...

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: LG - full of neat stuff that not enough of us appreciated

      > an external DAC and a cheap phone

      That's the beauty, you don't have to let a DAC dictate your choice of phone anymore.

      That said, most Android phones support a wide range of Bluetooth codecs, the trick is finding headphones that support LDAC.

      Good riddance to snagged cables and microphonics.

  10. Sherrie Ludwig

    Damn

    I am typing this on an LG phone. I love it. Not fancy or expensive, just works. Have had it for four or five years.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Damn

      "Have had it for four or five years."

      That's LG's problem - people forgetting they're supposed to keep sending their phones for landfill.

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