[Updated] LG’s potential exit to narrow down U.S. carrier-locked Android flagship options to Samsung, OnePlus, & Motorola
New updates are being added to the bottom of the story…
Original story (from March 24, 2021) follows:
LG will soon exit the smartphone market. Yeah, you probably heard this several times yet LG Mobile division still lives on.
Earlier this year, it was claimed LG would be exiting the smartphone business, but the company was quick to refute these claims, terming them “completely false and without merit.”
Not long after, it emerged that LG was indeed mulling future changes in its smartphone business, but insisting that not even these changes will harm the status of current employees.
But nothing LG says seems to keep even more rumors at bay. There have been reports that a Vietnamese conglomerate — Vingroup — is in line to take over LG’s smartphone business.
More recently, we’ve also come across a Bloomberg report claiming the same — that LG may soon close down its mobile division.
With all these reports doing rounds, there must be something brewing even with LG’s insistence that business is as usual. Granted, let’s take a closer look at what this does to the U.S. Android flagship market.
A quick look at the table above reveals that LG had a 9% share in the U.S. smartphone market in Q4 2020, making it the third biggest player behind Samsung and Apple.
With the potential exit of LG from the smartphone business, the implication is that about 9% of the entire U.S. smartphone market will be left in the dark.
It gets even tougher for U.S. consumers who heavily rely on carrier plans to purchase their next phone. Besides LG, only Samsung, OnePlus and partly Motorola have Android flagships available through carriers.
In addition to leaving its current fanbase in the dark, LG’s potential exit also further narrows down the number of Android flagship options that consumers can buy directly from U.S. carriers.
No doubt Samsung has the capacity to fill this gap. OnePlus and the newly launched OnePlus 9 series are also very capable to take over from LG. Motorola has an outside chance, but only if it stops limiting its carrier-locked flagships to Verizon Wireless.
However, diversity is what makes Android tick. And with the dwindling diversity owing to the looming exit of LG from the smartphone business, it’s not only bad for competition, but also for U.S. consumers in general.
We all know what competition does to business. In fact, competition is part of the reason Samsung and Apple flagships have become a little cheaper than before since companies know consumers have alternatives.
But with fewer options to pick from in the premium end, companies may return to hefty pricing for flagship Android phones in the U.S. Only time will tell.
Update 1 (April 01, 2021)
IST 12:23 pm It is now emerging that LG may completely halt its software update support after making the exit from the smartphone industry.
This would leave a lot of LG owners stranded with no further software development and lost device support.
Update 2 (April 02, 2021)
IST 11:48 am It now seems that LG is set to confirm that they’re quitting the smartphone business as early as next week. This info comes from the following:
Remaining employees in the LG MC division will be assigned to the Changwon home appliance factory next week
This is the procedure of dismantling the entire 4,000 employees of the LG phone division.
Rollable was an unfinished model used to increase the … (1/3) https://t.co/xoQdt7iFL5
— Tron (@FrontTron) March 29, 2021
Update 3 (April 05, 2021)
IST 11:10 am It’s time to say goodbye to LG Mobiles! The company in an official announcement has confirmed to bow out from the smartphone industry.
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