The reports out of its native Korea were correct, LG is shutting down its mobile business. With losses continuing to mount, and billions of dollars seemingly squandered on quirky handsets, the electronics giant has officially thrown in the towel on its struggling phone division. In a statement, the company said “Moving forward, LG will continue to leverage its mobile expertise and develop mobility-related technologies such as 6G to help further strengthen competitiveness in other business areas.”
For now, LG said that its current phone inventory remains available for sale, and that existing devices will continue to receive after-sale support and software updates “for a period of time which will vary by region.” The company expects to complete the winding down of its mobile business by the end of July, though it notes that some LG phones may continue to be sold after that date.
Despite its CEO’s pledge to turn around its fortunes by 2021, both LG’s Velvet and Wing devices failed to gain traction with the public. The lure of dual-screen phones (and the promise of rollable displays) was clearly not enough to prompt consumers to part ways with dominant players Apple and Samsung. While the litany of affordable flagships from the likes of OnePlus and Xiaomi continued to chip away at what remained of its market share.
By December, the writing was on the wall for the Korean electronics giant. With its stake in the global phone market down to a paltry 1.7 percent, LG announced it would outsource the designs of more of its low- and mid-range handsets to third-parties. Just months earlier, it had attempted to crack the cheap 5G phone arena with the $400 K92.
“LG brand’s departure from the mobile space may be disappointing to some but we’re in an industry where pivoting and doing what’s in the best interest of employees and shareholders is also critically important,” LG head of global corporate communications Ken Hong told Engadget. “As other beloved phone brands have demonstrated before us, it’s a numbers game, not a popularity contest.”
Clearly, LG was not ready to give up on its smartphone ambitions without a fight. Last month, Korean newspaper Dong-A Ilbo reported that it was even in talks to sell the flailing business to Germany’s Volkswagen AG and Vietnam’s Vingroup JSC, but the discussions ultimately failed. According to Nikkei Asia, LG’s inability to ramp up its smartphone business was influenced at least in part by a global semiconductor storage — unlike its domestic rival Samsung, LG does not produce its own smartphone chipsets, and limited supply has meant the company has struggled to secure an adequate supply of silicon for future mobile devices.
LG’s full statement can be found below:
“LG Electronics Inc. (LG) announced that it is closing its mobile business unit. The decision was approved by its board of directors earlier today.
LG’s strategic decision to exit the incredibly competitive mobile phone sector will enable the company to focus resources in growth areas such as electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robotics, artificial intelligence and business-to-business solutions, as well as platforms and services.
Current LG phone inventory will continue to be available for sale. LG will provide service support and software updates for customers of existing mobile products for a period of time which will vary by region. LG will work collaboratively with suppliers and business partners throughout the closure of the mobile phone business. Details related to employment will be determined at the local level.
Moving forward, LG will continue to leverage its mobile expertise and develop mobility-related technologies such as 6G to help further strengthen competitiveness in other business areas. Core technologies developed during the two decades of LG’s mobile business operations will also be retained and applied to existing and future products.
The wind down of the mobile phone business is expected to be completed by July 31, although inventory of some existing models may still be available after that.”
Chris Velazco and Richard Lawler contributed to this story.
European Union could force all smartphone manufacturers to use USB-C charging – MobileSyrup
Europe could soon require all smartphone manufacturers to use USB-C charging, according to a new EU Commission ruling proposal.
The commission says the proposal aims to reduce e-waste and the “consumer inconvenience” resulting from different chargers. The commission also mentions that it wants manufacturers to stop selling chargers alongside electronic devices to minimize e-waste further.
“With today’s proposal… USB-C will become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld videogame consoles,” reads the report.
The report then says that it has reduced the number of mobile chargers in Europe from 30 to just three, with Apple’s proprietary Lightning port part of the smaller list. The report states that roughly 20 percent of devices sold in Europe feature the Lightning port, but that the EU wants to change this — possibly by forcing Apple to adopt USB-C.
EU executive vice president Margrethe Vestager made the following statement in the report:
“European consumers were frustrated long enough about incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers. We gave industry plenty of time to come up with their own solutions, now time is ripe for legislative action for a common charger. This is an important win for our consumers and environment and in line with our green and digital ambitions.”
As you may have already guessed, Apple has resisted the shift to USB-C in the past concerning the EU’s efforts. For example, last year, when the organization voted on the concept of a standard charger, Apple released a statement stating that adopting USB-C would “stifle innovation.”
In a statement to the BBC, Apple said, “We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world.”
With the release of the iPhone 12, Apple stopped including a charging brick in the box of its smartphones, citing environmental concerns related to materials and shipping costs. This move also likely saved the tech giant a lot of money. The company has also shifted to USB-C charging with several of its other devices, including Macs, most iPad models and its accompanying ecosystem of accessories. Some Android devices from companies like Samsung, for example, also no longer include chargers in their boxes.
It’s unclear if this law will go through, given it’s still in the proposal stages and must first be passed by lawmakers and several governments. However, it’s possible that in a few years, Apple could be forced to adopt USB-C for the iPhones it sells in Europe.
Nintendo Switch Online will add N64 and Mega Drive games with a new subscription plan – Video Games Chronicle
Nintendo [2,050 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/nintendo/”>Nintendo has announced that Nintendo 64 [151 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/nintendo/nintendo-64/”>Nintendo 64 and Mega Drive / Genesis games will be added to Nintendo Switch [1,941 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/nintendo/switch/”>Switch Online in late October.
A new membership tier called the Expansion Pack will be introduced that adds selections of games from each system.
Special controllers for each system will also be released at $49.99 / €49.99 / £39.99 each.
The Japanese Mega Drive controller will have six buttons, whereas the North American and European version will be the 3-button controller released alongside the console when it originally launched.
Nintendo Switch OLED Model Trailer
The full list of games at launch will be:
- Super Mario 64
- Mario Kart 64
- Star Fox 64
- Yoshi’s Story
- The Legend of Zelda (Series) [110 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/the-legend-of-zelda-series/”>The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Mario Tennis
- Dr Mario 64
- Sin & Punishment
- Castlevania Bloodlines
- Contra Hard Corps
- Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
- Ecco the Dolphin
- Golden Axe
- Gunstar Heroes
- Phantasy Star IV
- Shining Force
- Shinobi III
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2
- Streets of Rage 2 [37 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/rage-2/”>Rage 2
Nintendo has also confirmed some of the Nintendo 64 games that will be added after launch, including:
- Banjo-Kazooie [66 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/banjo-kazooie/”>Banjo-Kazooie
- Pokémon video games [230 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/pokemon/”>Pokémon Snap
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
- Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
- Mario Golf
- Paper Mario
- F-Zero X
There was no mention, however, of Game Boy and Game Boy Color games on Switch Online, which had been reported in the past few weeks.
Nintendo discussed expanding the Switch Online library with other platforms as far back as 2019, 12 months after it launched.
During a 2019 shareholder meeting, president Shuntaro Furukawa [145 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/people/shuntaro-furukawa/”>Shuntaro Furukawa was asked specifically if the company had plans to re-release Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube [174 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/nintendo/nintendo-gamecube/”>GameCube software.
“At this place we cannot tell new information about future classic hardware among others, but we are thinking about providing an extension of the online service which is currently providing Famicom [NES] software, as well as other methods of providing them,” he said.
“We also recognise that there are opinions wanting to play past titles.”
U.S. social audio app Clubhouse launches ‘wave’ feature for private chats
U.S. social audio app Clubhouse launched a feature on Thursday to let users virtually wave at friends inside its audio-only chat app to show they are open to a private chat, in a move to expand beyond public rooms that can have thousands of listeners.
Clubhouse, which pioneered the “social audio” feature that has since been copied by Facebook and Twitter, wants to enable users to have private chats, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Paul Davison told Reuters.
“A lot of people know us for bigger conversations, but the reason people stay so long is they’re finding their friends and meeting new people,” he said in an interview.
Users of Clubhouse, which is backed by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, can “wave” at friends online in the app and a private audio chat room will open when a person accepts the wave. The user can then invite more contacts into the private room, or choose to open the chat to the public, Clubhouse said.
(Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas; Editing by Edmund Blair)
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