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LG to stop making phones entirely amid looming loses

Nokia, BlackBerry, HTC, and now… LG.

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LG had said in January 2021 that it was considering an exit from the smartphone market. After three months, it’s now confirmed that the South Korean electronics giant will completely exit the smartphone space.

The decision isn’t surprising as the brand has struggled to get a foothold in the rapidly evolving smartphone industry. The division has posted losses totaling US$ 4.5 billion in the last six years.

According to LG, the mobile phone business wind-down is likely to be completed by July 31. It also confirms that phones like the rumored LG V70 ThinQ, LG G10, or LG Velvet 2 won’t be seeing daylight.

LG said the closure would allow the company to focus on profitable channels like electric vehicle components, artificial intelligence, connected devices, smart home solutions, and more. It also confirmed that phones’ available inventory would continue to be sold along with after-sales support and software updates.

While Samsung and Apple are the two biggest players in the smartphone market, LG has suffered from its own hardware and software issues. In the end, it just couldn’t provide a consistent and premium experience. Despite unique offerings and experimenting, it just couldn’t carve a niche for itself.

It shipped 28 million phones in 2020, according to Counterpoint Research. Samsung, on the other hand, shipped a whopping 256 million. And, the phone division contributed just 7.4 percent of revenue to the company’s primary balance sheet. It tried to focus on developed markets with a brand new strategy, but even the Velvet couldn’t save the sinking boat.

The fall of LG feels like a cyclic effect as we’ve seen legends like Nokia, BlackBerry, and HTC go down the same path. The phone makers have an incredible lineage and shall always bring back old memories. But the brutal smartphone industry is also a reminder that technology is changing every second, and there’s no place for a relaxed brand.

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Xiaomi working on Mi Band with 360-degree display

Wraps around your wrist

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Xiaomi is enjoying quite a nice year so far. Recently, the Chinese company became the second largest smartphone maker in the world. Of course, besides its evidently popular smartphones, the company is also blooming with its slate of other devices including the successful Mi Bands. And, if this new leak comes to pass, Xiaomi isn’t done improving its other products. According to a new leak, Xiaomi is developing a new Mi Band with a 360-degree display.

Leaked on Weibo, a recent company presentation supposedly hints that the device — called the Mi Band X — is coming in the future. As the description implies, the wearable will not use the traditional screen + band system used by most wearable bands today.

Instead, the entire band is a flexible display. It won’t clasp with a buckle or notches either. It will reportedly use a magnetic system to fix itself on the user’s wrist. Though the description sounds complex, the leak states that the device will still be light and usable for a fitness band.

This isn’t the first wearable with a larger and more flexible display, though. Years ago, ZTE’s Nubia released the Nubia Alpha touted an elongated screen packed with smartphone-like features. At the time, it claimed to be the largest screen ever for a wearable. A 360-degree screen can easily upend this claim.

The leak does not indicate if or when the Mi Band X is coming. It doesn’t indicate how much the device will sell for either. However, if the Nubia Alpha’s EUR 449 price tag is anything to go by, the Mi Band X won’t be a cheap one, especially compared to other Mi Bands.

SEE ALSO: Redmi Note 10 Pro and Mi Band 6 are now in the Philippines

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Google is developing a Switch to Android app for iPhone users

Making it easier to switch

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Switching between mobile operating systems is one of the most tedious tasks for smartphone users. The task’s difficulty is often a big reason why Apple and Android users stick to their own lanes. To help ease this for switching users, Google is reportedly developing a Switch to Android app for iOS users.

Reported by 9to5Google, an upcoming APK supposedly reveals the existence of such an app. The unannounced app will help iOS users move their data to their new Android devices.

Data transfer apps have existed for quite some time now. Usually, smartphone makers have their own branded transfer apps. This is the first time that Google has its own app for the purpose. Currently (and without the aforementioned transfer apps), iOS owners have to back up their info on Google Drive (or elsewhere) then download them again on the new phone.

Compared to the current way to do it, the app’s data hints at more transferrable data between devices. The app can supposedly transfer messages and apps. Given how different iOS and Android operates, it’ll be interesting to know how Google transfers these data.

Currently, Google has not revealed when or if the Switch to Android app is coming. However, Apple already has a Move to iOS app, making it easier for those switchers to move. Google’s own take on the app has been a long time coming.

SEE ALSO: Cybersecurity updates for Google Chrome

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No OnePlus 9T or 9T Pro, rumor says

Probably because of the chip shortage

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The past 12 months have been weird for the smartphone industry. Last year, Apple removed the free chargers from its new iPhone boxes, sparking a concerning trend throughout the entire smartphone industry. Recently, Samsung’s TM Roh confirmed that a Galaxy Note isn’t coming this year. Now, there’s a rumor swirling around that OnePlus will not launch a OnePlus 9T or a OnePlus 9T Pro.

Explicitly leaked through a tweet, Max Jambor states that OnePlus will not launch the premium models of its current flagship lineup this year. Instead, the company will focus on the standard OnePlus 9 models this year.

Traditionally, OnePlus has a two-in-one release schedule every year, launching a standard flagship model earlier in the year and a premium slate later on. The schedule follows the same setup that Samsung uses for the Galaxy S and the Galaxy Note series.

It’s a strange coincidence that both Samsung and (potentially) OnePlus are foregoing their premium models this year. Both companies could be feeling the effects of the ongoing chip shortage that’s affecting the world right now. Without chips, smartphone makers won’t have an easy time making their devices.

Besides Samsung and OnePlus, Apple is reportedly cutting out its iPhone 12 mini and its successors — albeit replacing the model with a larger one. Consoles are also experiencing the crunch, experiencing shortages across the globe.

Though the current OnePlus report is still a rumor, current events do lend some credence to the sudden disappearance of the OnePlus 9T and 9T Pro this year.

SEE ALSO: OnePlus teases OnePlus Nord 2 on Instagram

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