End of the road for LG’s smartphone business

LG has announced its exit from the smartphone market.

Prior to the announcement, rumours had been swirling for months about the company’s departure from the smartphone business.

At its peak, LG was seen as the much-needed rival to compatriot Samsung in the global smartphone market. However, while Samsung has dominated the global smartphone market for over a decade, it has been a struggle for LG’s mobile division which, quarter after quarter over the last 5 years, has registered declining shipments of devices, sales and, subsequently, massive losses. The writing has been on the wall for some time now.

In a statement, the Korean company that the “strategic decision to exit the incredibly competitive mobile phone sector will enable the company to focus resources in growth areas such as electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robotics, artificial intelligence and business-to-business solutions, as well as platforms and services.”

“The wind-down of the mobile phone business is expected to be completed by July 31 although inventory of some existing models may still be available after that,” the statement adds.

Users of existing LG mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) will continue receiving the necessary support and software updates for an unspecified period of time which LG says “will vary by region” – something it was already doing such a bad job at.

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During the time that LG has been releasing mobile devices, it has made a name for itself with notable releases that have been trendsetters like its discontinued V-series and the Flex series and others, like its failed 3D smartphone, that were ahead of their time. Its partnership with Google early on to make Nexus smartphones and Google Play Edition tablets brought the “pure” Android experience to many long before Google went its way and could woo more device makers to do the same.

Much as LG is announcing the end of its run in the competitive global mobile devices race, it has been a few years (over half a decade) since any of the company’s mobile devices were available locally on an official basis. The company had long given up on the Kenyan – and other African – market preferring, instead, to dabble in other consumer electronics goods and home appliances for which the brand remains popular.

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