Features

Fall of LG Mobile: 5 years of experimenting gone wrong

A loss of $4.5 billion in six years

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South Korean electronics giant LG announced it’ll be shutting down the smartphone division (LG Mobile) due to deepening losses. After six years of posting a consistent loss, it was time for the phone maker to give up and focus on products that promised growth.

If you’re closely following the smartphone industry, LG Mobile’s demise doesn’t feel surprising. It was always playing catch-up in the market while Samsung and Apple were the trendsetters. Its current global share is only about two percent. It shipped 23 million phones last year which pales in comparison to the 256 million shipped by Samsung, according to research provider Counterpoint.

The story of LG Mobile is quite the same as BlackBerry, Nokia, Motorola, and HTC. The four brands that were once considered legends in the smartphone market are now history. Even though most of these brand names are again active, they no longer have the legacy DNA that made them what they were.

Why did LG Mobile fail to get a stronghold while newcomers like Xiaomi, OnePlus, OPPO, and vivo prospered? It also had an established sales channel in the US and Europe, where the demand for premium phones is higher. So, what went wrong?

The classic Samsung vs LG conflict

In March 2015, Samsung launched the Galaxy S6 while LG showed off the G4 after a month. Around the same time, HTC had also unveiled the One M9. This was when the three companies would try their best to outbid the other, and the stakes were high. Unlike today, Samsung was new to multiple variants of the same phone and it wasn’t the standard practice. LG Mobile only had one flagship and it had to do all the heavy lifting. Hence the price was also an important factor.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+, & Galaxy S6

Samsung was racing ahead with positive sales of the Galaxy S6 (and S6 edge) while LG Mobile wasn’t far behind. It had a solid reputation, and the G4 clocked an enthusiastic response in the American market. But the overall global sales were below expectations. HTC’s decline had started, and it was gradually sinking since it completely failed to take on Samsung’s marketing might and a more confident product offering.

Just like Samsung’s two flagships per year cycle, LG debuted its V10 in the second half of 2015. While Samsung always had the S-Pen to differentiate the Note series, other phone makers were struggling to find their niche. The V10 sported a tiny secondary display that added an always-on feature for notifications, music controls, quick settings, and more to bridge this gap.

LG V10

Even though the V10 had top-of-the-line specs, dual-selfie cameras, and a few productivity-centric features, it couldn’t go up against Samsung. The S and Note-series now had curved screens, best-in-class cameras, improving UI (TouchWiz), and long-term software support. Even though Samsung was often late in pushing OTA updates, it maintained a far better roll-out history than LG Mobile.

And most importantly, Samsung was ready to splurge on marketing. While LG Mobile was playing catch-up with Samsung, the latter was trying to take on Apple. The ambitions of the South Korean companies were starkly different.

The experimenting phase

LG Mobile had spent a lot on ads in 2015, including getting Bollywood celebrity Amitabh Bachchan to endorse the G4. This was an ambitious campaign because it intended to capture India’s growing upper-middle class population, who usually aspire for an Apple or Samsung.

But after three years of chasing Samsung, LG was tired. The usual formula of creating a top-notch flagship just wasn’t enough. And with new smartphone trends like unibody design, dual-cameras, and larger screens, LG Mobile decided to experiment in 2016.

The LG G5 had a radical design — it was modular, and the user could swap parts. Around this time, the excitement around Google’s Project ARA was at an all-time high, and this seemed like a logical first step. Are you a power user? Here’s an extra battery that you can swap. Are you an audiophile? Here’s an external DAC. Love photography? Add manual DSLR-like buttons or a 360-degree camera!

Samsung Galaxy S7

It was a very futuristic approach, and it should’ve worked, but it didn’t. Samsung again stole the show with its Galaxy S7 series, and it helped the brand mint strongest profits in over two years. But even Samsung’s winning streak came to an end with the master-blaster Note 7. The second half of 2016 gave LG Mobile some breather, but it still wasn’t enough to celebrate.

So, why did a wonderful phone like the G5 fail?

It’s all about how you’re perceived as a brand. Samsung and LG are household names that make large appliances like refrigerators, televisions, and washing machines. These products are considered mass-market and are designed keeping a broader audience in mind. While LG still rules the heavy appliances market, it never focused on its phone division and had conflicting strategies.

Firstly, LG was a premium brand, but it frequently had to undercut its phones’ price to ensure an edge over the others. This meant that it wasn’t actually dictating a premium, and the other brands were perceived to be better. Apple never reduces the price of its products within months of launch. The losses and reducing revenues forced the company to cut costs. And this was easily visible through its software update history.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and Apple iPhone X

Secondly, a phone like the G5 is too confusing for the average Joe. An iPhone is marketed as a stand-alone device that can do everything. Samsung too followed the same track and ensured its phones are near-perfect. The display, camera, battery, performance, and longevity all had to be taken care of. By adding modules, LG Mobile definitely gave the nerds a hard boner, but it also repelled the wider audience.

Many other phone makers have tried to create a niche, but they usually fail. The smartphone business is about scaling as much as possible to reduce operational costs. A niche phone like the G5 has a lot of appeal, but it attracts only a small audience. Brands like Nextbit, Essential, and BlackBerry tried to please the niche audience for too long, in turn, losing the larger user base.

Not learning from its mistakes

One thing every LG Mobile user will agree with — the software is horrendous. The company never took it seriously, and it was a serious letdown since the beginning. It was average until the G4 and then consistently went downhill ever since. Samsung’s TouchWiz has been a viral meme target, and that’s actually because of the number of units the company has sold. LG never sold enough units to earn a condescending meme in the wider social network.

I vividly remember that the company decided to skip the app drawer from its UI before the G5 launched but hastily decided to put it back because users weren’t happy. It was considered a mimicry of iOS. Incidents like these tell you that LG Mobile was confused — proceed independently or start taking inspiration from those who are successfully selling?

The LG G6 was also an exciting phone that housed an amazing wide-angle lens, sleek design, and a gorgeous LCD display (yes, LCD). I remember wanting to buy the phone, but it just didn’t seem like a worth-it deal. Why spend so much on an LG phone when I can get the Galaxy S8? By this time, the trust in Samsung was higher than ever, iOS had its own bubble, and new Chinese entrants like OnePlus were gobbling the market.

Samsung Galaxy S8, Xiaomi Mi Mix, and LG G6

On the eastern side of the world, OnePlus and Xiaomi were among the first few to truly understand the potential of a perfect UI running on Android. OnePlus started with a niche, Cyanogen Mod, and soon migrated to Oxygen OS. MIUI was at the heart of all Xiaomi phones and was just getting started. OnePlus not only ate into Samsung’s pie but also sidelined LG completely. The troubled brand was now struggling in the developed as well as developing world.

Its brand name had taken a massive hit, it wasn’t able to sell enough phones, and the competition slowly pushed it out. It could neither undercut others via price cuts in the US nor command a premium in Asia. All the sweet spots it had, were gone.

In the affordable and midrange, LG stood no chance as it had to go up against multiple competitors with exceedingly aggressive pricing. It didn’t have a large supply chain to go up against the Chinese players and after burning billions, the need to invest more was unjustifiable.

The final years of surviving

The G and V-series continued to get successors until 2019. The G8X ThinQ marked the end of the classic lineup that started it all. The V-series was being updated, but it was almost like nobody cared. In the last two years, the company had almost given up. But there were a few takers who still found a lot of value in LG phones.

LG made a lot of mistakes, but it also made phones unlike any other. Despite loss-making quarters, the brand remained loyal to its experimenting philosophy and showed innovative concepts like the Dual Screen cover. Foldable phones have been around for quite some time, but they’re fragile and expensive. LG’s new form factor brought something new to the table, and many were happy with it.

LG’s phones shall always be synonymous with wide-angle cameras, Quad DAC, OLED screens, and sleek designs. In a world where camera bumps are getting larger than the phone itself, having a simple light slab of glass and metal in your hand is very satisfying.

As a final gesture of survival, LG announced a brand new strategy in mid of 2020 and unveiled the Velvet. The new strategy also brought along a swiveling phone — the LG Wing. But it was too late.

LG Mobile could either abandon its plans to be a niche player and go full steam like realme or close down the business. Even with a niche, it wasn’t selling enough to cover basic operational costs. The board members of LG chose the latter.

The company that had once kickstarted webOS development was now leaving the mobile market for good. Although, this doesn’t mean we won’t be seeing LG around in the smartphone space. The giant is a lot like Samsung and makes class-leading displays, chips, and other components. You may not have an LG-branded phone in the future, but you’ll surely end up using its know-how passively.

From now on, the company will focus on divisions that have growth prospects–namely, electric vehicle components, artificial intelligence, connected devices, smart home solutions, and more.

A large company like LG, Nokia, BlackBerry, or HTC is harder to navigate. Due to the sheer size and distribution of the company, a turnaround becomes equally difficult. The irony is, these multiple channels of sales made them giants. And is the same reason why they got too heavy and can’t stay afloat.


WATCH: Remembering the best LG Phones

Smartphones

Excelsior! Unboxing the OPPO Reno5 Marvel Edition

Avengers fans assemble!

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Reno5 Marvel Edition

As the late Godfather of Marvel Comics Stan Lee’s catchphrase means “ever upward”, OPPO keeps revolutionizing to greater heights as they released the OPPO Reno5 into a whole new remarkable limited-edition phone — the OPPO Reno5 Marvel Edition.

Just seeing the package of this phone, it is screaming for Marvel fans to assemble. I can’t wait to show you what OPPO has in store for all of us.

A for Awesome

Up front, we are greeted by the embossed Avengers symbol on the black box further emphasized by the red linings on the edges of the box.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

On the side, you can see the OPPO Reno5 Marvel Edition label, making you realize that this really is a limited-edition phone.

I also love how much attention to detail OPPO has put into this phonee. Even the back of the box lid features the original 6 Avengers drawn on it — Hawkeye, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and Black Widow.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

This is very reminiscent of the opening credits of every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. It always gives me that feel that I’m about to get into action and join in an adventure, just like unboxing this phone.

Correspondingly, you’ll see the debossed logos of the six original Avengers on the black sleeve where you can also find the user’s guide and warranty manual.

What’s beyond the suit?

Upon lifting the sleeve, the box contains the OPPO Reno5 Marvel Edition phone which comes with an awesome thin but not flimsy plastic case which has the same comical design as the inner part of the box with a big silver Marvel logo.

As for the part where you’d have to fit in your phone, you’ll notice that it has a pattern similar to Spider-Man’s suit.

I’m actually torn when I should use this given that the phone already looks amazing as it is. Both actually look good, so it’s really hard to choose!

Reno5 Marvel Edition

OPPO continues to surprise us as they give us a SIM card Extractor PIN that also has the Avenger logo on it. This would probably be your go-to SIM ejector moving forward.

A runner-up on my favorite when it comes to this phone’s accessories is the earphones. It has the Captain America shield on one earbud and Iron Man on the other. These are 3.5mm audio jack earphones which would most definitely be compatible with your existing smartphone.

Even the USB-Type C cable and adapter has Marvel branding all over it. It comes in this red and black colorway. This is a 50W charger which I could even call “Quicksilver” as it can fully charge the OPPO Reno5 Marvel phone in just an hour.

The Infinity Phone

 The Marvel fan in me went crazy when I finally got to hold, feel and experience the OPPO Reno5 Marvel edition phone.

By unwrapping it from its plastic, the vision of the majestic back of the phone is revealed. At the center of it, an “A” logo is found which combines two iconic Marvel elements — the Avengers logo and Captain America’s shield. You will also notice the letter “X”, taking its inspiration from Black Widow’s logo.

The smudge-proof matte and textured finish of the whole back of the phone which can give you a sensory overload is based on the high-tech Quantum Suits worn by the Avengers on the movie Avengers: Endgame.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

On the right side of the phone, you can also find the red power button while on the left, you can find the red volume rocker.

Both sides of the phone are also accentuated with the Avengers design. I think these are the reasons why the border of the Marvel casing is translucent so can still the see the details on the sides of the phone.

On the front is a 6.4-inch 90Hz AMOLED screen which support a 90HZ refresh rate, providing you with a clear and immersive viewing experience.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

Upon opening it, you are greeted by a revolving Avengers logo, taking you back to the iconic opening scenes of the Avengers: Endgame.

Once you’ve gone through the phone setup, you’ll be in for a treat. You will see a customizable system UI and icons full of Marvel elements, as if you are creating your own Marvel world.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

Echoing the external design of the unit, the phone’s user interface takes inspiration from the Avengers’ Quantum Suits and spacecraft based on the latest version of the ColorOS 11.1

Some easily identifiable icons are the Phone icon based on the logo and the weapon worn by S.H.I.E.L.D director Nick Fury, the Camera icon based on Iron Man, Messages icon inspired by Captain America and Browser icon designed according to Vision.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

The phone also comes with six custom lock screen wallpaper featuring the original MCU Avengers. By just pressing the button at the corner left of the lock screen, you can swiftly select wallpapers by just tapping one of the heroes through a flip book-style animation.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

When charging the phone, a revolving charging status icon based upon the HUD inside Iron Man’s helmet appears over the Avengers wallpaper, which can make you feel like you are preparing for a battle alongside your chosen superhero.

More to Marvel about

 There’s definitely more to the OPPO Reno5 Marvel Edition than all its Marvel details and features.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

This phone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G processor with up to 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. This means you can continue to enjoy gaming as it can smoothly run your games such as Marvel Super War or Marvel Contest of Champions.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

It is also equipped with powerful camera features — 44MP selfie camera and 64MP Quadcamera setup. As you can see on the photos, the phone has decent dynamic range.

I was able to capture an acceptable amount of information on darker portions of the image as I exposed on the sky. colors also aren’t too saturated.

As for night phoneography, the phone has a fair amount of noise reduction. Even if the image became a bit soft, details can still be seen.

Now if I’d be asked to choose between the original OPPO Reno 5 4G or this Marvel Edition which is at a PhP 1,000 higher price tag? I’d strongly choose the latter.

Everything is marvelous with this phone — from the experience of unboxing it, to using all of its unique and powerful features. As Captain Steve Rogers aka Captain America would say “I can do this all day”. Yes, you’d definitely want to use this all day.

Reno5 Marvel Edition

The OPPO Reno5 Marvel Edition is available in selected OPPO concept stores nationwide and can also be ordered via Lazada and Shopee for PhP 19,999.

SEE ALSO: OPPO Reno5: Ideal upper midranger

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24 Hours Series

24 hours indoors with the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro

A day in doodles!

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So, here’s the tea: 🍵. You’re welcome. Jokes aside, this past year or so has been a roller coaster ride. And, we’ve been frothing at the mouth to keep our sanity at bay. With everything going on in the world (indoors and out), we might just have the right tablet to keep you and your family productive and creative: the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro.

Wasn’t short of pleasant surprises

I was lucky enough to get to test it out and since I developed a horrible rash that made me look like a beaten-up tomato, I decided to sketch a full day in quarantine with the tablet.

And, oh boy, let me preface the next 24 hours with some context. I’ve never had a proper tablet and pen before and the Tab P11 Pro made me realize how little I knew about just how much I might actually need one. From getting more work done wherever, to rediscovering my love for simple sketches, the Tab P11 Pro wasn’t short of pleasant surprises.

Pre-pandemic, I would normally wake up at around midday but now, I usually wake up early afternoon. I usually try not to check my phone first thing up but, I’d be lying through my teeth if I said I didn’t do it every single day.

Start your day right

The Tab P11 Pro really helped me with getting into the creative groove of work, play, and getting up to date. Instead of just being on my phone, I now make myself a cup of coffee and browse through work emails, daily tasks, and news. So, same thing; just on a bigger and better tablet.

Lenovo’s most powerful 11.5-inch Android tablet puts out images through a brilliant 2K OLED display. So, it was no surprise I abused it for Netflix and getting back into sketching when seeing COVID-19 active cases in 2K was festering toxic nihilism.

Multitask with ease, anywhere

You’ll be happy to find the display comes with HDR10 and Dolby Vision support. The chassis also comes with four JBL speakers, supplemented with Dolby Atmos support.

These came to good use when I got to playing after work or listening to podcasts while I was going about my baking shenanigans mid-afternoon.

Quickly after baking, or while dough proofs, I get to work. The Lenovo Tab P11 Pro is great for getting more done at home.

The ultra-thin Keyboard Pack with built-in trackpad snaps into place when you need to fire off an email, get work done, or school degenerates. The magnetic stand cover and integrated kickstand prop up the tablet, marrying ease and comfort while you stay productive and creative.

Features you’d need and want

A day full of work meetings can be a breeze with the Tab P11 Pro’s dual rear (13MP and 5MP) camera combo and a dual (8MP and 8MP) selfie-shooter.

On the note of features that showed off how horrendous I looked from my rash, you can unlock the Tab P11 Pro with facial recognition. And, as you would have hoped, it hadn’t failed to give me access despite how non-hyperbolic and realistic I am of the extremes my face had turned me into a walking raspberry.

When work is at a standstill or I’m hitting a wall, I get to sketching. I haven’t had the chance to dabble into sketching much lately but, the tablet has given me a creative outlet to express myself.

The intuitive Lenovo Precision Pen 2 is a huge help with its subtle pressure adjustments for a smoother digital writing and doodling experience.

Under the hood specs

The Tab P11 Pro sports the Snapdragon 730G chipset, up to 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of internal storage (with expandable storage up to 1TB through microSD).

So, the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro is more than capable to last a full day of work, play, baking, and doodling with its 8600mAh battery.

But hey, didn’t I technically just use it for only half the day since I woke up in the afternoon? Well, I match my ungodly waking hours with ungodly sleeping hours.

I usually end my day with journaling around 3am to 5am. These hours seem to be when I polish my doodles, write about my day, meditate, and plan out the next day.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The Lenovo Tab P11 Pro embodies the tablet you didn’t know you needed without taking all the money in your wallet. It goes without saying that if you’re looking for a tablet to optimize your creative and work output wherever you are, this is the perfect tablet for you. It’s feature-packed to make sure you get every bang for your buck while working like a pro.

The Lenovo Tab P11 Pro is currently bundled with a Keyboard Pack, Folio Case/Stand Cover, and Precision Pen 2. The optional Lenovo Smart Charging Station 2 enables hands-free movie-watching and stable charging while docked. The Folio Case lets you strut in style with its modern fabric doubling down as extra protection for when you need to chuck it in your bag and go.

The Lenovo Tab P11 Pro has a price tag of PHP 36,990 and is available at Lenovo Exclusive Stores and Authorized resellers nationwide.

It’s also available at the Lenovo Mobile Official Store in Lazada and the Lenovo Mobile Official PH shop in Shopee.Follow Lenovo Philippines on Facebook and Instagram to get updates about the latest products and promos.


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Lenovo Philippines.

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Explainers

Apple explains how your data is used for tracking everyday

And how an iPhone actively protects you

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Apple has always maintained that it values privacy the most and intends to protect its users from possible threats. This philosophy has also created an urban legend that macOS doesn’t get affected by viruses. However, it’s a testament to Apple’s long history of strict security and anti-tracking policies.

The Cupertino-based giant has released a report titled “A Day in the Life of Your Data.”  The easy-to-understand guide explains how apps collect data in the background while we’re just going about our routine. Apple highlights a few day-to-day instances when background data is actively being collected and then processed to deliver optimized ads for you.

A Day in the Life of Your Data

John and his 7-year-old daughter, Emma, are planning to go to the park. John searches up the weather, reads the news, and checks the map for traffic updates. During the ride, four apps track his location passively (this could be Google Maps, Uber, Grab, or even Fitbit) and sending the metadata to the ad targeting company. Within minutes, Emma, who’s playing a game on the iPad, comes across a scooter ad. Emma’s response is closely monitored, and based on it, the ad company can collect metrics like CTR (click-through rate) and cost per engagement.

Information tracked across various apps can be shared among data brokers, making it easier for advertisers to target you. When the duo clicks a selfie in the park, image editing apps can access the image’s metadata and understand what’s in the picture. When the picture is posted online, John’s data like geolocation, email, and phone number are now available to advertisers (via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).

Even an Ice Cream stop becomes heaven for apps since they can now monitor transactions and credit card-related usage (banking and financial services apps). How much John has spent is critical to understanding his lifestyle, in turn, bombarding him with more relevant and price-conscious ads. Advertisers also know that Emma loves sugary treats, and more ads shall be delivered to leverage that.


While this may sound like a dystopian story right now, it’s how the digital advertising industry works. Facebook is among the first ones to tap its true potential, and so are all other companies that offer free services — Google, Yahoo, Bing, and many more.

Google’s Android operating system is open-source and far convenient for developers to tinker around with. There have been numerous cases of rogue apps that secretly collect sensitive information and misuse and it. In fact, a recent report showed that Android phones collect and send 20x more data than Apple’s iOS.

Apple says that trackers are embedded in apps you use every day, and the average app has 6 trackers. And, developers use trackers so that third parties can also access it and act like a broker between multiple channels. Acxiom is one such broker, and it has data on 700 million users worldwide. The exchange of information can go to advertising networks, advertising publishers, attribution and measurement providers, data brokers, other private companies, and even governmental organizations.

At the end of the day, John and Emma ended up updating their profiles on a plethora of companies’ databases without ever interacting with them. It’s safe to assume that we all have a profile with these companies and have already been exposed. However, we can choose to be more careful with our data and ensure that only the companies we trust have access to it.

Apple says it has taken multiple steps like data minimization, on-device processing, user transparency and control, and hardware-software integrity. The four steps ensure minimal data is offloaded from the phone and sent to third-party servers. The company has also highlighted a few ways John and Emma would’ve been safe with Apple’s safeguards:

  • If the user chooses Safari to get the weather via Safari, Intelligent Tracking Prevention will prevent tracking.
  • For news, Apple News ensures his interests are not sent to third parties.
  • Apple Maps is linked to a random identifier, so it’s regularly reset and does not divulge the users’ details.
  • Using an iPhone would automatically alert you about apps that are collecting location details in the background.
  • And lastly, using an Apple Card to pay won’t spill your transaction details to other banking or financial apps.

Most importantly, the App Tracking Transparency feature will require apps to get the user’s permission before tracking their data across apps or websites owned by other companies. Ad networks that use SKAdNetwork API will collect ad analytics without the users’ personal metadata.

Google has also added similar tools in Android to let you control the flow of data. But it’s not as sophisticated as iOS, and apps often have a free run in the background.

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