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LG wants smartphone segment to be profitable by 2021, but is vague on how it will happen

LG wants smartphone segment to be profitable by 2021, but is vague on how it will happen


The Korean electronics company plans unspecified ‘wow factors’

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

LG’s CEO says the company’s flagging mobile division will be profitable by 2021, but he didn’t provide any real details about how this would happen. Brian Kwon said during a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that the company would expand its mobile lineup and “steadily release new ones attached with some wow factors to woo consumers,” The Korea Times reported.

But LG has a track record of overpromising and underdelivering on its mobile devices, or at least delivering on features that aren’t in great demand from consumers. The Verge’s review of the LG G8 ThinQ in April said the phone had many gimmicks, but not enough progress. And while the G8X had a cool-looking dual screen, The Verge’s Sam Byford said in his review that the dual screen was the only real standout new feature on “an otherwise competent but pedestrian device.”

LG’s CEO didn’t say what the “wow factors to woo consumers” would be

LG has lagged behind other smartphone manufacturers globally in the past several quarters. In Q2 2019, for instance, Samsung had 23 percent market share, followed by Huawei at 18 percent and Apple at 11 percent, but LG was a distant seventh among major manufacturers with just 3 percent of the market share, according to data from IHS.

In the third quarter, LG announced its mobile division had narrowed its operating losses from $268.4 million in the second quarter to $135 million. But revenue for the mobile division during the third quarter of 2019 was down year over year, from $1.82 billion in Q3 2018 to $1.27 billion.

Last year, LG announced it was relocating its mobile manufacturing facility from its home country of Korea to Vietnam. The company has not unveiled a new phone at the CES, but it’s anticipated that it may unveil its G9 and V50 phones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month.