As soon as a serious producer of Android smartphones, LG disenchanted followers when it introduced it might exit the smartphone enterprise, efficient July 31, 2021. The announcement adopted months of hypothesis that LG was trying to promote or offload its smartphone division.
Whereas many LG followers have been shocked by the announcement, the information didn’t come as a shock to business watchers. Although LG was identified for producing high-quality, revolutionary designs, the corporate had constantly struggled in opposition to its bigger rivals, particularly Apple and Samsung.
As well as, LG’s smartphone division had been bleeding cash for years. The truth is, within the 5 years previous to the announcement, the enterprise had misplaced some $4.5 billion (through The Korea Herald), placing LG in an untenable place.
With a lot going for it, many have puzzled: What went incorrect with such a promising model? Why was LG unable to realize main traction within the smartphone market, regardless of seemingly having all the mandatory components?
Caught within the center
In some ways, LG’s fortunes have been the results of being caught in the course of the smartphone market, unable to differentiate itself on both finish of the spectrum.
On the high-end, Apple and Samsung have been fast to carve out niches for themselves. Regardless of being a model on par with Samsung within the numerous industries they competed in, as famous by GadgetMatch, LG typically needed to promote its telephones at a lower cost level to compete with Samsung and Apple.
This had the impact of diluting its premium model picture and hurting its capacity to compete with the highest two producers. It additionally crippled the corporate’s capacity to faucet into the “cool issue” that each Apple and Samsung benefited from, or reap the rewards of making high-profit telephones.
On the identical time, the corporate’s telephones have been nonetheless priced too excessive to compete with the decrease finish of the market, dominated by corporations like Huawei and Xiaomi. The top consequence was that LG was caught within the center, with neither the excessive income of Apple and Samsung, nor the excessive quantity of Huawei, Xiaomi, and others.
Innovation with out imaginative and prescient
One of many issues that set LG aside was its willingness to experiment and innovate with new designs.
For instance, the LG G5 had a modular design that allowed the person to swap out numerous parts, akin to a digital camera grip and an improved audio module. Sadly, whereas swappable parts sound good on paper, their sensible software was restricted. The design was additionally criticized for not being hot-swappable, which means the battery needed to be eliminated for a module to get replaced.
The identical is true of the LG Wing, a telephone with a second display screen on a swivel. When opened, it primarily shaped a “T,” with the second display screen perpendicular to the usual vertical one. Similar to the G5, nevertheless, the characteristic had restricted sensible software, particularly given its excessive worth level.
Whereas innovation is actually factor, innovation and not using a clear imaginative and prescient can doom an organization’s efforts — simply because it did with LG.
Unhealthy software program
A last nail within the coffin was LG’s software program. To say it was dangerous could be an extremely gracious understatement.
Whereas Apple, Samsung, and Google constantly work to enhance the software program expertise for his or her customers, LG by no means appeared to grasp or care how a lot software program mattered within the context of the on a regular basis person expertise.
It’s one factor for an inexpensive telephone to have annoying software program. When that telephone is attempting to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung, in each design and worth level, there’s merely no room for a subpar person interface expertise. Sadly, LG by no means realized this lesson.
Regardless of by no means cracking into the higher echelon of the smartphone market, LG’s absence continues to be a blow. The corporate made strong, high quality units, and was unafraid to problem the established order with its designs. Had it paired that with a clearer imaginative and prescient, the smartphone market would possibly look very completely different, and way more fascinating.