Negotiations to sell LG's Smartphone business have failed and shutting down operations may be the only option left to stop financial Losses
In late January Patently Apple posted a report titled "A Big announcement coming from LG next week could entail a sale, withdrawal and/or downsizing of their Smartphone Business." The report noted that the coming announcement from LG Electronics shouldn't interfere with LG Display that produces displays for Apple devices.
The announcement was never made because they were in negotiations to sell their smartphone business with Vingroup of Vietnam and Volkswagen of Germany but could not make notable progress, according to industry observers.
With LG's mobile business restructuring plan apparently running in place for two months, industry trackers are now speculating that the company is leaning more toward the option of closing the mobile unit.
LG's mobile business has been in the red since the second quarter of 2015. Its accumulated operating losses reached nearly 5 trillion won ($4.4 billion) last year.
Analysts have predicted that LG will either shut down or sell its mobile business, or at least scale it back.
Lastly, The Korea Herald's report noted that LG's next smartphone development projects, such as "Rainbow" and "Rollable," have reportedly ceased at this point in time." Samsung would likely be the company that would benefit most from LG's exit.
The "Rollable" smartphone could have been a challenger to Samsung's folding smartphones. The only other smartphone company still working on this form factor is Oppo that has hinted that it could come launch such a product in Q4 2021 or 2022. The Engadget review of a tester unit is presented below.
Apple won a patent last year for a possible future scrollable/rollable iPhone form factor. A series of patent figures from that patent report is presented below.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 below is a perspective view of a scrollable device having a flexible display extended between two housing structures; FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional side view of an illustrative electronic device with a scrolling flexible display deployed using multiple internal rollers.
Apple's patent FIG. 6 above is a top view of device #10 in an illustrative configuration in which the housing for the device has a main portion (housing structure 12-1) and has a smaller portion (housing structure 12-2) that is used as a support bar to help pull flexible display #14 off of a roller within the interior of structures #12-1. Bistable support strips such as tape #32 may be used to help support the flexible display when the flexible display is in its deployed state as shown in FIG. 6.