LG Makes Its Last Ever Smartphone

South Korean giant LG Electronics has on Monday manufactured its last ever smartphone, months after announcing it was quitting the sector.

According to a media report in a South Korean financial newspaper, Asia Business Daily, LG manufactured its final phone on Monday, 31 May 2021.

After rumours of LG’s move, the firm confirmed in early April that it was exiting the smartphone sector, after years of struggling to make an impact against the likes of Samsung, Apple and Huawei.

The LG Rollable

Factory conversion

LG said it shutting down its mobile phone business, after the division had seen losses for nearly six years, totalling about $4.5 billion (£3.3bn).

Nearly two months after that announcement, the last LG smartphone rolled off the production line on Monday. LG had to reportedly wait to shut down its smartphone manufacturing because it had to fulfill contracts with telecoms companies.

It should be noted that LG has not officially confirmed it has ceased manufacturing smartphones.

According to the Asia Business Daily however, a Vietnamese factory where many of LG’s phones were built will apparently be converted into a manufacturing plant for household appliances.

The company said when it announced the shuttering of the smartphone division, that it would focus on other high-growth areas such as smart home devices and electric vehicle components.

Mobile veteran

LG was one of the biggest mobile phone manufacturers in the pre-iPhone era.

Ironically, the company has the distinction of having introduced the first-ever smartphone with a capacitive touchscreen, predating the iPhone by a few weeks.

The LG KE850, marketed as the LG Prada as part of a tie-in with the luxury fashion brand, was similar in appearance to the iPhone, but launched a month before Apple’s device and arrived in shops before the first iPhone did.

The LG Prada

The LG Prada ran a proprietary OS based on Flash, and included then-high end features such as a web browser, Bluetooth, a microSD card slot and a full-featured camera app.

However, the device was far more difficult to use than the contemporary Apple device, lacking Apple interface innovations such as a QWERTY keyboard and multitouch features – while being priced at $849, far higher than the first iPhone’s $499.

The company soon began making Android devices and by 2013 had become the third-biggest smartphone maker.

LG has previously said it would continue making its phone inventory available and would provide service support and software update for existing customers.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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