LG hasn’t had a smartphone winner in a long, long time. In fact, they’ve reported operating losses in mobile for 22 straight quarters, which is, well, a long, long time. To try to change that and turn their mobile division around, LG will further outsource design and manufacturing of its low and mid-range phones, while continuing to pursue the premium market from within.
With mounting pressure from affordable Chinese brands like Huawei, Xiaomi, and OPPO, LG probably has no choice but to make this move. By having someone else produce their low and mid-range phones, they can then slap their name on them at a fraction of the cost. It’s basically the same move HTC made after Google bought out the majority of their phone team.
Where this differs from HTC is the fact that LG is at least keeping its premium phone team around to try and create a winner after so many years of non-winners. That’s still going to be a tough road if they continue to create niche products, like this swiveling thing.
And to be honest, I’m not sure what LG can do to make a comeback in the premium tier. Phones just aren’t that different from one year to the next and it’s really hard to standout in a crowd where everyone is making similarly great phones. LG decided against foldables (which might be a good bet), so how else can they catch our attention? Whatever they do, next year is looking like a nice year to make a splash if this is all Samsung is doing with the Galaxy S21.