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The demise of the LG mobile phone is a tragedy that points to a larger problem

LG revealed this week that it’s sending its phone division to the farm, confirming persistent reports that it will pull out of the mobile phone market after years of declining sales.

This is no surprise. Look at Counterpoint’s mobile market share stats, and it’s clear that LG hasn’t been a global leader in this area for years, and for good reason.

Every LG phone that’s passed Trusted Labs in the past few years has been fine at best, but it did little to give testers a reason to recommend them over their more established and often superior competitors.

And the influx of great value phones from the likes of Xiaomi, Oppo, and OnePlus has also hindered its appeal in the mid-range market. Carrying on the heart of the last LG phones I remember really liked the Google Nexus brand.

But to me, LG’s withdrawal from mobile remains tragic and a sad sign of an ongoing problem in the mobile industry: companies willing to innovate are disappearing.

I won’t pretend for a moment that I’ve seen the LG Wing’s point of view. For those who missed it, this was LG’s last flagship phone. It had a quirky design that featured a swing-out screen that rotated to reveal a secondary screen. To this day, I’m at a loss as to how to take it off the drawing board.

ButI still love what it stands for: trying to innovate in a stagnant market. It’s no secret, phones over the past year have been pretty boring. 5G has definitely finally arrived and foldable devices are showing up. But for the most part, flagships are pretty in numbers. Almost all of the best Android phones use the same CPU, have similar camera setups and all but a few have identical metal and glass designs.

That’s why this year I’ve found myself again advising most buyers not to bother getting a new phone unless they have to, and even then, I’m usually directing them to our best mid-range phones and best cheap phone guides, rather than flagships. .

Despite not making the best phones, LG was at least still keeping things interesting and trying something different.

This is an indication of a problem that I’ve noticed over the past decade that I’ve spent reviewing phones. Specifically, those companies that are willing to try and fail to do something different, or interesting, drop like flies.

HTC used to be a powerhouse and I loved it desire To try new things. It was one of the first phone companies to truly embrace Android and ever since has been willing to dip its foot in any new technology it can find. Whether it was a competing OS from Facebook or an entirely new category, like VR, HTC was willing to give it a try.

The same was true of Nokia and BlackBerry, when they actually made their own phones. Sure, BB10 was a train wreck, and the less said about Symbian the better, but year after year both companies’ phones offered at least something different. I still remember testing the Nokia 808 Pureview around London Olympic Park almost 10 years later because, while pretty awful, it was memorable in the least.

LG was one of the last companies to still operate this way, which is why I can’t help but feel the death of the mobile division is a tragedy and mourn its loss. You can see our obituary of LG phones, listing their most interesting devices in the attached link.