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[Newsmaker] Will second screen help LG’s struggling smartphone biz?

With the announcement of the V50 ThinQ phone, one thing has been clear: LG Electronics is out, for now, of the unfolding competition for foldable phones.

According to online communities, tech bloggers and influencers on Monday, the South Korean smartphone manufacturer’s unveiling of its latest flagship phones for 2019 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, gave an impression that LG is “kind of lost” in its attempts to keep up with fast-changing trends in the mobile world.

As Samsung and Huawei opened a new battle of foldable smartphones, LG has taken the easier route to a foldable future by offering a second attachable screen to its flagship V50 ThinQ smartphone with 5G compatibility. 

(LG Electronics)
(LG Electronics)

The purpose of introducing the attachable 6.2-inch OLED display is to offers users an efficient way of multitasking without having to rely on the development of a new optimized user interface, according to LG.

But the user experience is interrupted by large bezels -- while its competitors come up with no-bezel full-screen phones -- and the asymmetry in size of the two screens.

According to one blogger who attended LG’s event, the two screens were not identical in terms of size, display hue or viewing angle.

An image was circulating on Korean online communities criticizing the dual display phone, showing a scene of a movie being played on the top screen while subtitles were shown on the very bottom of the bottom screen.

“LG’s totally backtracking with its smartphones,” said one internet user on the community.

Ahead of the phone announcement, rumors have been spreading from France that the Korean firm is no longer running its smartphone business at its Paris-based branch.

Quoting a marketing director at LG Electronics France, some French media outlets reported that LG was withdrawing from the European smartphone market.

LG headquarters’ officials based in Seoul declined to confirm the rumor, saying there would be no halt in the smartphone business, and that the newest phones are proof.

On the other hand, the company is in the middle of relocating some of its smartphone workforce to the TV and home appliance businesses.

“The Mobile Communications Business is currently reducing the workforce by sending off personnel to the TV and home appliances units,” said a company insider who moved from the MC Business to the TV Business recently. “The company will continue decreasing the size down the road this year.” 

By Song Su-hyun (