We're rapidly approaching the one-year anniversary of the LG V60's release, which in the smartphone world, usually means that a successor is about to debut. But a new report claims that's not going to be the case, casting further doubt on LG's future in the smartphone business.
Chosun (opens in new tab), a South Korean publication, claims that LG and wireless operators have decided not to field test the planned successor to the LG V60, code-named Rainbow. That phone was to have featured a Snapdragon 888 system-on-chip while also adding support for a stylus. But now, it sounds like plans to introduce that phone have been scrapped entirely.
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LG declined to comment on the story to Android Authority (opens in new tab), which followed up on the Chosun report.
All told, it's another sign that LG could be looking for a way out of its money-losing smartphone business, where the electronics giant finds itself unable to challenge market leaders like Apple and Samsung. Earlier this year, reports surfaced that LG was considering an exit from the smartphone market, something an LG spokesperson confirmed to us at the time.
"I can confirm that LG Electronics is exploring a variety of options in light of the headwinds facing our mobile business," the spokesperson told Tom's Guide back in January. "Any additional comments would be speculation."
Well, that speculation's going to increase with this latest report, with a lot of the focus turning toward LG's foldable phone plans. At CES in January, LG showed off the LG Rollable, a phone with an expandable screen that essentially converts a handset into a tablet. During that CES keynote, LG had said the LG Rollable would debut in 2021, though speculation about the company's interest in continuing to make smartphones has obviously raised questions about that launch.
For what it's worth, LG has denied other reports out of Korea casting doubt on the LG Rollable's future. "I can firmly deny that any such decision on future mobile products has been finalized," an LG spokesperson told The Verge (opens in new tab) in February following a report in Yonhap News (opens in new tab) that the rollable phone project was on hold.
It could be that the apparent cancellation of an LG V60 successor will have no impact on LG's efforts to introduce a phone with a rollable display. As nice as the LG V60 was — we particularly appreciated the long-lasting battery in our LG V60 review — it was a pretty conventional phone. Albeit a phone with an optional secondary screen accessory that could attach to the device. Perhaps LG thinks it would be better served by putting its smartphone efforts into devices with innovative designs like the LG Rollable, rather than introducing successors to phones that failed to distinguish themselves from the rest of the Android crowd.
LG has certainly tried to find a way to make its phones stand out in recent years, highlighted by last spring's LG Velvet release. Those phones dropped the alpha-numeric naming convention that's come to define most handsets while putting an emphasis on design. But while we gave the LG Velvet a generally favorable review, that new approach hasn't reversed LG's smartphone fortunes.
Perhaps the LG Rollable will. Or perhaps it will end up like the LG V60 successor apparently has — another project the Korean-company spikes as it moves closer to exiting smartphones for good.