LG's Smartphone Problems Go Deeper Than Just Modularity
I have never met anyone who owned an LG smartphone. In fact I can't recall ever seeing anyone using an LG smartphone. Despite delivering some interesting devices, with leading edge features, the company seems unable to get any kind of traction in the smartphone business.
LG is hardly a name likely to get pulses racing. It has no currency outside of its native South Korean home. To gain some credibility it needs to do more than just deliver quality devices, it needs to back them up with a sustained, global marketing push which makes a virtue of their capabilities and presents them as a valid alternative to Samsung.
The G5 is a perfect example of why LG isn't a safe buy. Its modular design and ability to swap in 'Friends' modules sounds promising. Except LG hardly delivered any and third parties were completely disinterested. LG canned the idea and the G6 won't offer modules.
Now imagine if Apple's next iPhone has this capability. It would be sold from the get go as the greatest offering in mobile since ever. Apple would have a handful of first-party options available at launch and favoured third-parties would be allowed to join the launch party. One year on we'd be drowning in 'iFriends' modules and wondering how it was possible to live without them.
Without any consumer recognition or any brand loyalty, LG has no future building smartphones. It's a left field choice, too far out in left-field even for my taste, and before you even consider an LG phone you've got to go through a whole gamut of more sensible options: Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Sony, HTC, even Motorola sit ahead of LG. I'd even say that Asus has a better smartphone placement than LG.
It says something that Galaxy Note 7 owners were prepared to keep hold of a potentially explosive phone rather than replace it with one of LG's offerings.
The smartphone market is maturing and sales are stagnant, if not falling. For a company on the fringes you have to wonder whether there's any value in carrying on.