LG Electronics fans bemoan end of era as firm exits smartphone business

FILE PHOTO: LG Electronics' Wing smartphone is displayed at a store in Seoul
FILE PHOTO: LG Electronics' Wing smartphone is displayed at a store in Seoul, South Korea, April 5, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

April 6, 2021

By Joyce Lee and Heekyong Yang

SEOUL (Reuters) – Fans of LG Electronics smartphones rued the loss of more affordable Android-based devices after the South Korean tech company said on Monday it would quit the business, with some praising LG for the innovation it brought to the industry.

LG smartphone users in South Korea and the United States posted nostalgic tributes on social media after the firm announced the exit, citing a prolonged sales slump. LG still holds a roughly 10% share of the U.S. smartphone market, according to researcher Counterpoint, though its slice of the global pie is just 2%.

“Please release the Rollable phone before you die,” said one user on a 300,000 member-strong forum on Naver, South Korea’s largest online search portal, referring to LG’s latest expandable display https://www.cnet.com/news/lg-rollable-phone-makes-ces-2021-appearance-and-were-intrigued concept that the company flaunted at the CES trade show in January.

Fans fondly noted some of the company’s more unique designs, such as a T-shaped dual screen, as well as features including a double-tap to turn a screen on and off.

“LG has some of the best audio hardware of any phone,” Kim Dong-woon, who has used six LG smartphones, told Reuters. “It’s a shame that LG is withdrawing.”

Influential U.S. tech reviewers echoed the sentiments.

“LG were never perfect but in a world of boring slabs they delivered some of the most unique phone designs, ideas and features ever,” said YouTuber Austin Evans https://twitter.com/austinnotduncan/status/1378894062388797441 on Twitter.

LG, which had been making mobile phones for about a quarter of a century, ultimately fell behind rivals Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, in part due to lacklustre marketing and slow software updates.

Its smartphone division logged nearly six years of losses, totalling roughly $4.5 billion by the end last year.

For all the fandom, some criticised the phones, saying the shutdown was inevitable.

“The writing has been on the wall for a long time … things didn’t improve,” said user cdegallo on Reddit.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee and Heekyong Yang in Seoul; Additional reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Sayantani Ghosh)