With LG gone, which smartphone are you looking at next?
The smartphone industry has just lost a key player. Last night, LG confirmed it’s closing the doors on its mobile division. The Korean electronics company was one of the first brands to sell an Android smartphone, releasing the Android 1.5 Cupcake-running LG GW620 back in 2009. Since then, the company has released hundreds of phones across multiple different product lines, was once a contender in the U.S. market, partnered with Google on multiple Nexus and Pixel phones, and has led the industry in several technologies. With them out of the picture now, we’re wondering what fans of the brand will gravitate to.
LG’s smartphone business has always been overshadowed by fellow Korean tech giant Samsung, but they’ve always managed to pump out dozens of new smartphones a year. From the flagship G and V series to the budget K series, the company always had a phone for everyone. Their phones may not have offered the best value compared to the competition, but they were generally reliable, available in stores, came with decent after-sales support, and checked other boxes that people were looking for. Of course, they had their fair share of issues with quality control (tech enthusiasts will never, ever forget LG’s bootlooping issues) and overpromising on software, but they were a known quantity that sold phones that got the job done.
For the last few years, every LG flagship phone launched at an overpriced price point only to plummet in value a few months following launch. LG phones just didn’t offer as much value compared to phones from Samsung or Chinese brands. We can’t really say the company didn’t try to make great phones, it’s just that the ahead-of-their-time innovations weren’t enough to offset the higher prices.
Just as an example of some of LG’s contributions to the industry, the G2’s “Knock Knock” popularized tap-to-wake gestures, the G3 was one of the first phones on the market with a Quad HD resolution display, the G Flex was one of the first phones to have a flexible OLED panel, the G5 brought an ultra wide-angle camera and modular phone addons, the V10 had a secondary display, the G8 ThinQ had 3D face unlock with a time-of-flight sensor and a sound-emitting OLED panel, and LG’s last few G and V series phones can be snapped into an accessory that turns them into dual-screen phones. Then there’s the LG Wing which provided a unique and interesting take on the traditional smartphone form factor, and there’s also the unreleased LG Rollable which provided a promising look at the future of smartphone design.
Left: The LG Velvet in its Dual Screen attachment accessory. Middle: The LG Wing with its crazy swivel design. Right: LG’s unreleased rollable phone.
Not all of their gimmicks caught on in the industry, obviously. The previously mentioned LG G8 shipped with gimmicky Air Motion gestures and vein pattern recognition. The LG G6 ditched the G5’s modularity just one generation after its introduction. And the Dual Screen attachments are clunky stop-gap measures to satisfy buyers before the company was ready to unveil a true foldable phone (which will obviously never happen anymore, RIP).
Despite its more mainstream appeal, LG phones always had features that catered to creators and power users. They were one of the few flagship devices to ship with 3.5mm headphone jacks until last year. They were also one of the few to really emphasize audio quality, touting features like a Boombox speaker and a Hi-Fi Quad DAC. Far-field microphones, desktop mode, and Active Stylus support were also some features you could find on LG devices that you won’t find on many other devices.
It’s hard to condense LG’s smartphone history because they have such a storied past with mobile devices. This post isn’t about the history of LG, though. Instead, we’re wondering what existing LG phone users plan to do next.
With LG out of the picture, what phone are you now considering? Which smartphone brand do you think is the most likely to absorb LG’s customer base? Let us know in the comments below!