In a candid statement to the Korea Times, LG has announced the departure of a number of executives from its mobile division following the disappointing sales of the LG G5, noting that it had been (effectively) a sales failure. The South Korean company is clearly hoping that a restructure will bring some much needed reinvigoration to its mobile business, with the introduction of a new Program Management Office within the mobile division to pick up the pieces and rebuild.
Korea Times reported the specifics:
Mobiles chief Cho Juno will oversee the PMO, which has authority to handle strategies for product development, manufacturing, marketing and sales; while Oh Hyung-hoon, a former research lab head, will be its chief, supported by mobile division Vice President Ha Jeong-wook.
Kim Hyung-jeong, a senior vice president at LG, has been named head of the company’s mobile research lab.
While the LG G5 was a technically capable phone (and one that found favour in my pocket), it was not universally well-received; reviews were critical of the attempt to make the phone modular with the introduction of LG Friends, some of which are good, and some are just outright confusing.
LG clearly hoped the ecosystem around the G5 would take off, but that doesn’t seem to have been the case; third party interest hasn’t produced any viable products at this stage, and the LG-made Friends on market are priced in a way which would probably put them outside the interest of most. While some of the Friends are quite useful — the camera grip can be quite good when taking semi-professional photos — others are a little more confused. LG 360 CAM performs well, but others on the market do a better job in the same price range, and LG 360 VR hasn’t launched, following the company’s admission that the product simply isn’t ready yet.
LG’s history of making great phones hasn’t been enough to buoy its market share; in our reviews of the LG G3, LG G4 and LG G5 we liked them all, with LG G4 even being my pick for the best phone released last year, but LG’s market share has waned in the face of competition from Chinese brands like Huawei, Oppo and even OnePlus, with the Korean falling in behind Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi in global shipments.
If LG can regroup in time to announce an even better G6 next year, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone if the Friends concept is consigned to the past as an interesting experiment that failed. LG needs to look at how Samsung turned a fairly ordinary reception of its Galaxy S6 into the rather well received Galaxy S7, and address those shortcomings identified this year.
If our feedback was worth anything, we’d suggest LG do this:
- Don’t offer “performance and power economy” as an excuse for a smaller battery. 3,000 mAh is the minimum.
- The Friends would only have worked if they were (a) great and (b) affordable. If you can’t do that, don’t do them at all.
- The fingerprint sensor, removable battery, MicroSD and USB-C are great. Good move.
- Nail that production quality; LG G5 was good, but it could be better. Refine those edges and remove those gaps.
What do you think LG needs to turn around or change from the G5 to next year’s G6?