We have all grown accustomed to the yearly refresh schedule at this point, whether or not we actually buy a phone every year or not.
But it looks like LG doesn’t want to keep up that schedule. In fact, it doesn’t sound like LG wants to see itself as launching phones because it has to, according to LG Electronics Vice Chairman Cho Sung-jin. According to the Chairman, LG doesn’t want to launch phones just because its rivals are launching devices, and it may mean that it doesn’t keep up a yearly refresh schedule. Interestingly enough, we may even see more variants of the G- and V-series handsets along the way, too:
“We will unveil new smartphones when it is needed. But we will not launch it jut because other rivals do. We plan to retain existing models longer by, for instance, unveiling more variant models of the G series or V series.”
That would be a big shift, to be sure. LG and Samsung have been going head-to-head in the early part of the year, for quite some time, with the former company launching the G-series handsets, and the latter launching its Galaxy S flagship brand. And then again, later in the year, Samsung has typically launched the Galaxy Note phablet, while LG has turned to the V-series device as its competing product.
It will be interesting to see what this turns into. The suggestion that we could see more models of both the G- and V-series handsets seems to suggest that while LG might not stick to the yearly refresh cycle, we could see just a bunch of different devices released throughout any given year with these brands.
- LG Electronics CEO Cho Seong-jin says the company plans to unveil new smartphones “when it is needed,” rather than to maintain competition with rival devices.
- LG wants to “retain existing models longer” with the release of additional variants, for example.
- What this means for the hypothetical LG G7 and LG V40 remains to be seen.
LG is planning a rebrand its flagship G series this year (more on that below), but it looks like the company’s plans might stretch farther and wider than a reshaping of naming conventions. Its mobile division is coming off the back of 10 quarter-on-quarter losses, so now could be a good time for a change.
LG Electronics Vice Chairman and CEO Cho Seong-jin sat down at CES yesterday to discuss, among other things, LG’s future mobile strategy (via The KoreaHerald); specifically, when it would reveal its next flagship.
“We will unveil new smartphones when it is needed. But we will not launch it just because other rivals do,” said Cho.
“We plan to retain existing models longer by, for instance, unveiling more variant models of the G series or V series.”
LG has traditionally released devices around the same time as its South Korean rival Samsung, but after beating the Galaxy S8 to launch in 2017 with its LG G6, and still (by all accounts) getting trounced by it in sales, it’s little surprise that this strategy is being rethought. LG might not adhere to a strict yearly release cycle, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t see a new flagship the LG G7 or LG V40 released this year.
Additionally, though Cho referenced the G series in his comments, we can still assume this was for convenience’s sake — a rebrand would still be in line with the other changes in its mobile division strategy.
Cho focused on LG’s new approach as something the company could sustain. “We found it is important to retain a good platform for a long [time] and concerns rise over the supply of lithium materials,” he said.
Those may be viable reasons, but LG could just as likely be changing its strategy because its mobile business just isn’t profitable anymore. At the last count, LG’s mobile unit was still responsible for hundreds of millions of lost dollars, and it’s expected to see its 11th quarterly loss in a row in the Q4 2017 earnings announcement coming soon. Retaining a good platform is one thing, but making phones that will sell in astronomical quantities probably wouldn’t hurt either.
LG hosted a press conference at CES 2018 where Vice Chairman Cho Sung-jin said that its models will stick around for longer then before, with more variants launching between new models.
“We will unveil new smartphones when it is needed. But we will not launch it just because other rivals do… We plan to retain existing models longer by, for instance, unveiling more variant models of the G series or V series.”
This move seems to be a way for LG to downsize its mobile business, which has been losing money for the last 10 quarters. Losses have been shrinking thanks to the budget segment, but the flagship models still haven’t been selling as well as its rivals.
Nonetheless, this move could ease people’s minds about buying an LG flagship for the long term. Hopefully the company also steps up its game with software support and security updates to keep those customers happy.