Once a major player among the top-tier smartphone makers, LG’s reputation, particularly with flagship phones, has taken a hit as larger players like Samsung have overtaken it. Smaller companies like OnePlus have been able to generate more buzz, so LG needed something to jumpstart the excitement over its mobile lineup.
So LG made explorer project where they have shown a renewed interest in playing with the different concepts. Last fall, the company launched the LG Wing, which featured two screens stacked together, with the top one able to swivel out into horizontal mode.
Shortly after that, they showed a short demo of a LG rollable smartphone at CES in January which has a display that extends upward to create a larger, more tablet-like screen similar to how its rollable OLED televisions work, but on a smaller scale.
It was said that the phone from LG would be the first such device to hit the market, marking another step in the evolution of phone design beyond even the foldable phones that have come out over the last two years.
After years of pushing the same metal box design, the phone industry has been keen to experiment with different shapes and concepts to spark some excitement again and LG was expected to be one of the few companies in this genre to be at the forefront of this new revolutionary technology.
But turns out, the rollable smartphone from LG may not happen after all. A new report from a trusted South Korean publication Yonhap News suggests that LG may scrap the rollable smartphone project. The report cites industry sources familiar with LG’s operations who claim that the company has instructed its parts suppliers, including Chinese display manufacturer BOE, to put the rollable smartphone project on hold.
The reason for this is believed to be LG leaving the smartphone business altogether. Per LG’s own earnings reports, the company’s mobile division has run with an operating loss for the past 22 quarters – that’s 22 consecutive quarters with an operating loss. Can you imagine any other business allowing a segment of their operation losing money for 5 and a half years without fail?
That’s nearly a 5 billion dollars of money over the course of 5 years.
Interestingly though, amid the reports of them scrapping the rollable smartphone, LG has issued a statement to the Verge. The LG spokesperson said and I quote, “I can firmly deny that any such decision on future mobile products has been finalized,”
That doesn’t sound very convincing as an analysis of the statement shows that it is not an outright denial that it won’t happen at all or it has not been considered but that the decision has not been finalized.
It is also hard to take LG for its words because earlier when reports of them selling their mobile business came up, their spokespersons denied any report that it was planning to exit the smartphone business but a few days later LG’s CEO sent out an internal memo to staff that the “The company is considering all possible measures, including the sale, withdrawal, and downsizing of the smartphone business.”
So it seems the future of LG’s rollable smartphone project, much like the future of its smartphone business as a whole, seems uncertain at the moment. LG leaving the
smartphone market is not good for the consumers because this leaves Samsung with no mainstream Android competition and we all know how monopolies work, the customer in the end will suffer.
With that being said, let me know what do you think about this down in the comments…