LG's smartphone business in doubt after muddled response to rumours

LG's Wing smartphone

Consumer electronics firm LG has sparked confusion after the company both verified and denied rumours suggesting that it is looking at potentially shutting down its smartphone business.

A report in The Korean Herald has quoted an internal memo from an unnamed LG official that suggests the company is looking at a number of options for its failing mobile phone unit, including downsizing, selling, or scrapping it completely.

"Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about time for LG to make a cold judgment and the best choice," an LG official said, according to The Korea Herald. "The company is considering all possible measures, including sale, withdrawal and downsizing of the smartphone business."

The memo has strangely been both verified and denied by the company; The Verge reports that LG "confirmed the internal memo was genuine", but in a different statement to Pocket-lint, the firm denied it completely.

"The article regarding closure of LG's mobile business is based on old, unfounded rumours and speculation that have no basis in fact," a spokesperson told the publication.

The reports come just a week after the company impressed CES attendees with a new handset with a 'rollable' display. Rather than a foldable screen, LG has designed one that expands, almost like an automated garage door.

Its most recent launch is the LG Wing, which has two displays, one on top of the other, that swivel round to give the user an extra half screen. However, despite these innovations, LG's smartphone business has struggled to remain profitable, losing a reported $4.8 billion (£3.2bn) on smartphones over the last five years.

IT Pro has contacted LG for a definitive answer.

This mixed messaging will only add to speculation over the future of its mobile business. Despite clear efforts to put out 'unique' designs, such as the Wing, LG hasn't been able to compete with newer companies like Huawei, OnePlus and Xiaomi – all of which have made a significant impact on the market.

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.