Electronics giant LG plans to stop making smartphones after struggling for years to compete in a market where it was once a leading player.
The South Korean conglomerate will shut down its mobile phone business and exit the “incredibly competitive” industry by July 31, it announced on Monday.
Rumours of the move started swirling at the beginning of the year as LG’s smartphone unit racked up hefty losses to the tune of about $5.8 billion in nearly six years and lagged behind larger rivals Apple and Samsung.
LG says the decision will allow it to pour resources into other “growth” businesses, such as smart homes, robotics, artificial intelligence and electric vehicle parts.
Despite its struggles in the market, LG continued to roll out hi-tech phones, such as the swivelling two-screen Wing it launched last year and a “rollable” device with an expanding screen that it reportedly planned to release this year.
The latter gadget now appears unlikely to ever hit stores, but LG said the inventory of some existing models may be available after its smartphone unit is wound down. The company will also provide software updates and service support for existing products for a certain amount of time that will vary by region, according to a news release.
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“Core technologies developed during the two decades of LG’s mobile business operations will also be retained and applied to existing and future products,” the company said.
LG was once a major force in the smartphone market – it developed some of the best early display and camera technologies and was a pioneer of the now-ubiquitous Android operating system, according to Bloomberg News.
The company was the world’s third largest smartphone manufacturer behind Samsung and Apple at the height of its success in 2013. But its leading models suffered from hardware and software struggles in more recent years.
LG only shipped 23 million phones last year, compared to Samsung’s 256 million, according to industry research firm Counterpoint.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission