LG is a perennial also-ran in the smartphone market despite producing some incredibly well-loved devices, like the LG G4, and pushing interesting concepts like its convertible dual-screen options along with last year's LG Wing (which earned our Editor's Choice award).
Unfortunately for LG, it has been buried under the weight of Samsung and Apple in the U.S. and even more so internationally with Huawei, Xiaomi and Vivo in the mix as well. All this is to say that it comes as little surprise that, according to a report from the Korea Herald, the company is contemplating shuttering its smartphone business in 2021 (via The Verge).
- Best smartphones in 2021
- Best phone deals of January 2021
- Asus ROG Phone 2021 leaked — and it comes with a secondary screen
Before LG diehards get too worked up, there are other options on the table; in a response to The Korea Herald, LG stated that "The company is considering all possible measures, including sale, withdrawal and downsizing of the smartphone business."
That leaves open quite a bit of wiggle room, although downsizing the smartphone business seems like postponing the inevitable, so it's difficult to see that particular option playing out. The biggest question for a sale is who might be in the market for a smartphone division that has lost roughly $4.5 billion over the last five years.
The name certainly carries some value, so we could see something similar to Lenovo purchasing Motorola back in 2014 to give it a foothold in the smartphone market that it lacked on its own. Speaking of Motorola, Google would be another potential buyer, although it may have learned its lesson.
For now, things will continue on as usual for LG smartphones with products like the LG Rollable that the company very briefly showed off at CES still planned for release this year. But with the future of LG's smartphone division in doubt, recommending any of them, let alone an untested premium smartphone, is going to be a tough sell.