Officially official lg is shutting down their smartphone business. They will not be making any more smartphones um and when this news dropped a couple nights ago, i bet most people were in one of two camps: one oh bummer, that’s too bad or two. Oh lg was still making smartphones, which is wild because not only did lg make smartphones, but lg has made a lot of really influential phones that have had a direct impact on the phone you’re, probably holding right now. So this is big news. Lg is a big company them leaving. Smartphones is pretty big news, but how did this happen? Well, we already know lg’s been making phones for a long time and it’s tempting to think if at least you’re around my age that their heyday was probably in like the mid 2000s with phones like the lg voyager lg, envy lg chocolate. Those were, i know, a lot of people that had those phones, those are very popular phones. My first ever smartphone was the lg voyager i’m. Considering this a smartphone – and i started this channel when i had that phone – and i even did a few videos about it, but yeah lots of other people had various lg semi smartphones from around that time, and i mean a lot of people – 21 million people bought The lg chocolate, but it might surprise you to know that their most popular android phone of all time was the g3 that came out in 2014, so that was their peak for smartphone stuff, that phone sold 10 million units and their second most popular android phone of All time was the g2 and that sold around 3 million.
So clearly there was a decline. Lg never found those sales again, they never had any single smartphone come out after that that competed on a massive scale in any price bracket. They didn’t have a hit budget phone. They didn’t really have anything that started doing numbers in the mid range and they never really achieved much presence in the high end market either as far as market share, and all this was despite having a lot of the same specs and materials and features on paper. As the ones that did find success, but phone purge decisions are not made on paper, and so my take is lg actually did make decent phones on paper, but they did not know how to sell those phones like at all, like what’s, the most basic art in The world of marketing naming stuff right, just simple, memorable, understandable name and i’m – definitely not saying all the other manufacturers have got naming down because they haven’t, but just having something simple easy to understand is important. You know, i know that iphone 12 pro does more than iphone 12. I know that the 12 is newer than the 11. i’m, not saying naming your phone lg v60 thin q 5g made it a worse phone i’m, just saying it didn’t help. I don’t know why. Lg was so insistent on those extra words like thin q. That doesn’t mean anything to anyone here, but they kept adding it anyway, but okay, just forgetting naming forget even what you might think of the software uh lg’s phones never really got great marketing treatment.
They had pretty forgettable marketing, to be perfectly honest and, as many have pointed out, found it kind of difficult to characterize. Lg phones, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’S just forgettable. It honestly kind of feels like a like a washer and a dryer it’s, like their marketing of their smartphones, was right along the same lines as the marketing of their other appliances shining. But the crazy thing is the actual character of lg. Phones over these years is really interesting and super low key influential. So over the past eight years or so i’d say lg has been one of the few companies that actually tries very new things like super wild things. Kind of anything really but that’s been their sort of motto, is just throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall and seeing what’ll stick and sometimes it really did stick look at this list. In march 2007, we had lg prada. That was the first capacitive touch screen. Smartphone pretty much every smartphone today has a capacitive touch screen in 2010, lg optimus 2x came out. That was the first dual core processor smartphone ever and the first to do 1080p. Video recording then the next year, lg optimus 3d, was the first phone with more than one rear camera. Think about that when’s. The last time you saw a flagship with only one rear camera. They also had the first quad core phone, the lg optimus 4x. Then it gets serious in september 2013.
Lg g2 is the first phone to have double tap to wake at the time they just called it. The knock knock feature that the first mass produced qhd display in a phone that was the lg g3. Then the v10 would technically be the first dual screen phone thanks to the second screen embedded up top, maybe that’s a stretch, but there are some dual screen phones out now, but then the lg g5 was the first phone with an ultra wide camera. On the back, then, the g6 was the first with an 18 by 9 display having a little bit of that taller aspect, ratio to keep it narrower and fit better in the hand, and then v40 was the first phone with all three focal lengths on the back Cameras, one ultra wide one standard and one telephoto, so it would be pretty easy to miss if you weren’t paying attention, but it turns out. Lg has been important as far as introducing new ideas that hooked and sort of got taken for granted. Today i don’t know if you can even buy that many smartphones at the high end that don’t have an ultra wide and tap to wake and a high resolution display. These are all really good things that caught on that. We see everywhere because they turned out to be good ideas, but there were also plenty of things that didn’t catch on, like that mini display on the top of the v10 and v20.
We don’t really see that anymore. This self healing back on the back of the g flex, really cool idea. You don’t really see that anymore either. They tried curved phones for a while too, because they were supposed to be more natural to holding your hand and up against your face that didn’t last long. They also had that one modular phone that one year with the g5, it was super cool. But a year later they were done making modules for it and the whole ecosystem folded. And then the g8 is the most memorable recent one for me, so that had an ir sensor array for reading the veins in your hand, and these weird gestures that barely worked when these things didn’t catch on the next year, they were gone, they just dropped it. It was just gone from the next phone, and that makes sense, but it’s also kind of unnerving. As a customer like what we look for in a long term. Commitment to a phone is stability and reliability and consistency, and at least being somewhat predictable, that these things will be useful for a long time and so it’s not likely you’ll want to buy into an ecosystem of modules. If you don’t even know it’ll be around the next year, you know and that’s, not even considering lg’s, pretty bad track record of actually delivering software updates to their phones, which just adds into the whole, not very predictable stability thing now, there’s.
A lot of talk. I’Ve noticed about how maybe youtubers are responsible for lg’s downfall, because we didn’t give them enough credit let’s talk about that. So i went back to check just because i was curious, turns out i’ve done about 20 videos about lg smartphones over the past few years. 20. Videos and that’s, not including all of the nexuses i loved – that lg also made one of the earliest videos i ever had go somewhat viral on this channel was my video on the self healing of the lg g flex from back in 2013. and believe it or Not the most viewed single piece of content i have ever made happens to be me, showing the lg wing to 32 million people on tick tock. So the problem isn’t, a lack of coverage, people talk about lg phones, the real question a lot of people are asking is: was this coverage fair? Because if you, if you watched these videos, you might still be wondering if lg got the credit they deserve. So my take is there’s a big difference between sharing a product with the world and giving it credit for something new or some innovation or an idea. We haven’t seen before versus reviewing and actually recommending a product overall to buy for a purchase decision. Two very different things, and so what i’ve started to notice with that is. I can speak for myself, basically there’s a big distinction between innovation and trying something new and being able to recommend something to a large variety of people and phones that do well in one bucket.
Often don’t do well in the other. It goes both ways c sony, for example, i’ll leave that video linked below, and so i think, over the years, there’s actually been a lot of giving lg credit for all of that, trying new things and being unique, especially with hardware, because they clearly did a lot Of that throwing stuff at the wall to see what would stick every time they showed something interesting and new. I was there to give it a shot and point a camera at it and share my findings with you. All this self healing g flex was such a fun experiment. The modular g5 design was a favorite, it was impressively well thought out, and the multiple cameras on the back of the v40 were fun right from the beginning. Even if the software features they built into that version, to take advantage of them was a little wonky. So yes, absolutely checking the boxes in the innovation bucket and trying new things for sure, but then, when it came to reviews and actually deciding okay now do we recommend this thing to a large group of people. Lg phones, as an overall package were always a little bit tough to recommend to those larger groups even recently, uh v60, pretty great overall phone, but a 60 hertz display in a flagship when all the competition had moved on to higher fresh rate was tough or even Lg wing was cool as hell, but 765g in a thousand dollar phone was kind of tough to recommend, and it just continues as you go back.
Lg g8 might be the most perfect example of an lg smartphone from the past few years possible like this was a really solid phone right, high end chip, pretty solid design, very modest. Of course, no camera bump kept the headphone jack with the quad dac kept expandable storage, decent battery and the killer feature vane id yeah. That was the new thing they decided to throw out the wall. So the extra big notch in a phone of this year had a time of flight sensor, an infrared sensor and receiver to identify your hand and let you do gestures over the phone with your hand, and it really didn’t work that well at all. You should have seen the room full of journalists and youtubers and pr reps all with this brand new phone as we’re trying to make our videos about it. Everyone’S trying to do the thing to get it to work and no one can even we’re a room full of professionals. Even trained professionals from lg are like, if you just get it just. It was brutal. So if you’re gon na share that phone you’re gon na do one of two things, one is give it credit for actually trying something new and maybe it’s a it’s. A weird unusual set of sensors we’ve never seen before, but highlighting the cool thing or reviewing it. And like packaging, it all overall to see if it’s actually worth buying versus a competition for most people and look.
I called it in my review, the jack of all trades and master of none, which i thought was true, but also apparently was pretty harsh. Apparently, people thought i was being a little too hard on the phone. I didn’t really think so. I was also far from the most negative take on the g8 but here’s the thing. The point is, when you take a step back, the most innovative, unique, unproven stuff that you do in your gadget is almost by definition useful to the smallest number of people, and this is true for every phone manufacturer. Now, normally this isn’t a huge problem, because if the smartphone company is making money somewhere, then yeah they can designate one of their lines to be. The unique innovative taking one like samsung is a perfect example of this. They have their money making flagships. So those don’t take big risks, so they crank out all kinds of risky, unproven, foldy ideas in other product lines, just to kind of see what sticks xiaomi has their money making phones. So the mix series is specifically consistently the one where they try out their wild designs. Vivo if you’ve noticed, is basically oppo, group’s innovation brand. So with lg – and this is my own analysis – i don’t – i haven’t – seen their books, but they didn’t really have a steady, consistent money maker. They didn’t have some other smartphone that was winning them lots of market share, so they could afford to subsidize a risk taking one.
Their main line was the fun one. It was the risk taking one, and so this was just a straight business decision, so you can read the official lg press release explaining why they left the smartphone market and it has this statement, which is lg’s strategic decision to exit the incredibly competitive mobile phone sector. Will enable the company to focus resources in growth, areas like electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robotics, ai and business, to business solutions as well as platforms and services, so basic translation lg does a bunch of other stuff as a company monitors, tvs appliances. We already know, and so cutting off the smartphone division that was losing money is just a decision that allows them to focus on other things that might grow up more. So what happens now? Well, uh, if you were thinking about buying an lg phone don’t uh, if you already have an lg phone uh, you can check the list. There’S they’ve promised a small list of phones. We’Ll continue to get. I guess one more update up to the android 12 update. We’Ll see, hopefully they can support phones as long as they can before they disappear, but there’s definitely there’s a lot of talent and a lot of patents over there. What they decide to do with that infrastructure is anybody’s guess, but i think the moral of the story of lg is innovation and trying new things and risk taking is great, but it requires a balance of also some stability and long term consistency and lg just wasn’t.
Quite able to strike that balance, but the real bummer is losing lg is an l for all of us just because that is it’s. A competitor, that’s that’s, one less set of cool ideas, that’s going to be tried out like who knows how many other ultra wide or multiple camera type ideas that they would have had that we won’t get to see now and that’s one less competitor to incentivize. The other bigger companies to really keep their stuff together and and win over our business, so we’ve lost other smartphone companies before but lg feels like the biggest one as of late feels, like the biggest space, the biggest void being left in the market. Anyway. The point of this video isn’t for me to like defend myself like i killed lg, but you know the the question of what happened to lg isn’t, just explained away by saying: oh, the big youtubers didn’t give lg enough credit. The truth is always more nuanced than that, even if you believe that to be true – and this truth is, this was a business decision that lg was probably thinking about for a long time, so you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become The villain and lg just died, a hero, rip, lg, smartphones, you’ll, be missed, not because we were all using your phones, but because you did move the needle uh that’s been pretty much it shout out to mr mobile who’s, also dropping a sort of a retrospective video.
Looking back at some of lg’s finer moments, i saw he was working on it. I haven’t seen the video yet but i’m gon na link it below when he does drop it, because i imagine it’ll be pretty good either way. That’S been it thanks for watching catch.