As most of you know by now, LG Mobile was pushed to its doom and is now done for. LG Electronics announced that it’s quitting the smartphone business. That announcement came a couple of days ago, and the company will cease its operations by the end of June. LG will continue updating its smartphones, as it confirmed in a separate announcement. Having said that, there are quite a few reasons why LG Mobile is ceasing to exist, and in this article, we’ll pay more attention to that, to what pushed LG Mobile to its doom.
LG has been manufacturing mobile devices for a long time, long time. The company started off with cellphones way back in 2002. Since then, it launched tons of cellphones and smartphones, all over the world. At one point, LG was one of the most recognizable companies for mobile devices, without a doubt. It stood right up there with Samsung, Motorola, HTC, and other smartphone manufacturers that were shining bright at times, depending on what time in history we’re talking about.
The thing is, LG Mobile has been bleeding money ever since 2015. The company has been suffering operating losses from one quarter to the next, without exception, since 2015. LG tried to turn things around by redesigning its smartphones, changing its software offerings, changing the focus of its smartphones… but nothing helped. Now, different people will list different reasons for why that is. I believe all of you will have different opinions as to why LG Mobile failed in the long run. Below, you’ll see my opinion, and the opinion of my colleagues with whom I’ve discussed the situation with. Before we get started, do note that these reasons are listed in no particular order.
Less than impressive software helped spell doom for LG Mobile
LG’s software was, without a doubt, one of the main reasons behind its downfall. The company did use Android on its smartphones, but on top of it, it used its custom UI. That UI changed names over the years, and it did get better near the end, but it was too late. The LG Optimus UI was not good, but truth be said, neither were its competitors, most of them at least. That UI was used mostly when LG’s smartphones were still quite popular. The LG G2 and G3 used it, for example. Later on, LG switched to LG UX, which also took some effort to improve, but users did remember LG’s issues in that regard, and the company was remembered for it.
Slow and buggy updates
Something else worth noting, and is related to software, are updates. LG was never the fastest when it comes to delivering updates for its smartphones, which ended up as another big contributing doom factor for its mobile business. In fact, it was considered to be one of the slowest OEMs to do so, at least as far as best-known smartphone OEMs go. The company also tended to deliver somewhat buggy updates, as did Samsung back in the day. The thing is, Samsung improved in time, and could afford the luxury of having such issues. That was not the case with LG. The company did start to do better after quite some time, but it was too late. Besides, it never reached the level of its competitors.
Bootloops do deserve a separate mention on this list, that’s for sure. Quite a few devices from the company suffered from bootloops, though mostly between 2015 and 2016. Earlier, we’ve mentioned that LG has been suffering operating losses since 2015, so this cannot be just a coincidence. I remember back in 2015 when people were losing their head over bootloops, as they rendered LG’s smartphones useless. Such issues were present in well-known LG smartphones, such as the LG G3, G4, Nexus 5X, LG V10, and the G Flex 2. There were more phones, but these are only some examples. Bootloops are sometimes a software issue, but that was not the case with LG. They were caused by a “loose contact between components”, based on the information from back in the day.
Another hardware issue that LG smartphones suffered from… mainboard failures. This is also an issue that was present for quite some time. It was not a problem for every user, far from it, but quite a few devices had issues with their mainboards. They were perfectly fine, until they weren’t. Mainboard failures basically broke phones, and they had to be replaced. Users were lucky if this happened while they still had their warranty, but there was no rule for it. In my LG G3 unit, the mainboard died after the warranty expired, after two and a half years, approximately. A friend of mine had a similar issue with his Nexus 5X, as he had to get the mainboard replaced after around 1.5 years after buying the phone. Every smartphone can have issues, but these mainboard problems were rather widespread when it comes to LG smartphones, so they definitely belong on this list.
Not enough marketing efforts
LG Mobile was never exactly great at marketing. It more of then than not failed to present its best smartphones in the way it should. Samsung was a completely different story, as its Galaxy smartphones were everywhere. Truth be said, LG Mobile did not have such a huge budget for marketing, but still, it should have found a way to do a far better job. OnePlus created a cult following through the power of social media, more or less, and it’s now a rather well-known smartphone OEM. There is always a way, but LG Mobile really did fail in the marketing department as a whole.
Smartphone price tags & carrier discounts
Another area in which LG Mobile should have done better are price tags. At first, the company tried to compete with the most popular smartphones out there with price tags, even after it started having financial issues. While instead, it should have found a way to undercut them, without crippling its phones. LG did change its strategy long after that, but the price tags were still too high considering what specific phones were offering. Some of them were pretty generic, and did not have enough appeal for people to buy them. Another price-related issue that LG had, especially in the US, are carriers.
LG smartphone models offered via US carriers often got huge discounts soon after launch. A month or two after the launch, users were able to get truly huge discounts on their premium smartphones, we’re talking about a $200 discount, in some instances. Needless to say, that managed to really annoy consumers who bought the devices at their original price tags, and made them skeptical moving forward. Many of them actually waited for price drops as well, taught by past situations. That also contributed to crippling smartphone sales for the company.
The LG G5 factor
The LG G5 is one of LG’s smartphones that deserves a place on this list. That phone was announced in February of 2016, and was one of the devices that most certainly contributed to LG’s demise. LG tried to do something entirely different with this device, and the company even marketed it as a “modular smartphone”. The company made the device so that you can remove the bottom part of it, and replace it with a different “module”. That may sound great, but it wasn’t, in practice. There just wasn’t enough appeal to do something like that, not to mention that the build quality wasn’t there.
That bottom part of the phone felt… well, off. It felt a bit cheap, and it was known to come loose quite often on some units. The build quality of the phone, in general, wasn’t all that great, LG did a far better job with many of its other phones. In fact, the LG G5’s successor, the LG G6, was in a whole different world when it comes to build quality. That phone was different from its competitors, and yet it was quite nice looking, and it screamed premium build. Unfortunately, at that point, it was already too late, it seems.