The South Korean company LG is planning to release another 5G-capable smartphone model. It appears that LG has finally realized their mistakes. With previous models, LG used confusing and convoluted alphanumerical designations that are hard to memorize. Named as LG Velvet, the upcoming device is much more memorable. It is not yet clear whether the LG Velvet would be available for global market, but it’s more likely it would arrive first for domestic consumers in South Korea. If LG is really planning to alter its naming tradition, The LG V60 ThinQ 5G would be the last with a rather confusing name. We could expect that the LG Velvet will be a mid-range model with Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G SoC. However, priced at around $700, the Velvet should be a premium device. It will have three0imaging sensors and LED flash on the back with raindrop design. The name Velvet will be intended to “evoke images of lustrous smoothness and premium softness”.
For the full year of 2019, LG Electronics posted an operating profit of $2 billion or a 10 percent drop from 2018. However, its mobile department is always in the red, costing the company $858 million last year. The Velvet won’t make the smartphone business profitable for LG, but it could mark a change for the better. Kwon Bong-seok, the CEO of LG Electronics expressed his confidence that their mobile business will turnaround by the end of 2020 and it will start to be profitable next year. He revealed that LG will expand its smartphone lineup by attracting consumers with some impressive factors. To boost profitability, LG already moved its smartphone manufacturing to Vietnam in 2019. Like other smartphone makers, LG will also focus on 5G smartphone models. The last time LG earned profit from its mobile business was in 2014, when the company released 44 phone models. In 2018 and 2019 each, LG launched only 19 phone models.
As commonly known, the high-end segment of the smartphone industry is the most profitable and LG has been really struggling in competing with other flagship models in the market. Its flagship models are also quite uninspiring, specifically the LG G6, G7, and G8, released in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively. These G-series devices share a ton of identical genetics and seemed to be just incremental upgrades. With this kind of approach, it is not so surprising that LG is always struggling to compete with its domestic rival, Samsung. Even if LG is able to release something as impressive as Galaxy S20 Ultra, Samsung is still in a more advantageous position with bigger marketing budget and better supply chain. If LG still can’t make any substantial change in 2021, it is understandable if the company decides to shut down its mobile business. They won’t be the first in the smartphone market, because BlackBerry, Ericsson and Nokia Corporation already gave up their mobile business. We could only see whether LG would be able to make a real turnaround in this very competitive and intense industry.