LG will stop releasing new phones every year

While Samsung and Apple dominate the global smartphone market, LG continues on its never-ending struggle.

The company's mobile division has been losing money for 11 consecutive quarters at this point, and in an attempt to try and fix this, LG's Vice Chairman, Jo Seong-jin said that the company will be shifting away from releasing new flagship phones every single year.

As a response to a question regarding the LG G7, Sung-jin said:

We will unveil new smartphones when it is needed. But we will not launch it just because other rivals do. We plan to retain existing models longer by, for instance, unveiling more variant models of the G series or V series.

A few days before this, a spokesperson for LG said that the company would be ditching its G-series branding in favor of something new for the G7 in an effort to help boost sales. Sung-jin's mention of the G-series has us uncertain what's going on with the name of the phone, but no matter what happens there, this is a big change for LG.

Yearly flagship releases have become a norm of the industry, and in some cases with companies like OnePlus, a bi-yearly thing. We aren't sure what to expect from "more variant models" of LG's phones, but supporting current models for longer than other companies is something that we're sure some our readers will be able to get behind.

LG G7 (2018 flagship) rumor roundup: Everything you need to know

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • Good luck with that.
  • Exactly. This must be their exit strategy from the mobile device arena.
  • Yup. I love how "longer support" is mentioned as if half of these manufacturers even intend to fully support their devices in the original time frame let alone a longer one now.
  • The solution is looking LG in the face, however LG management is so hard headed and inflexible. Are you listening LG? Get the legendary NEXUS 5 out with new up to date specs, big battery, reasonably priced and You will corner the Market. Just don't put glass in the back. OK (Sent from my NEXUS 5, which looks and performs just like on day one. I also have NEXUS 6P and Apple 8+ but the NEXUS 5 is my favourite). Get it LG,?
  • There is a way out for LG. Take out the legendary NEXUS 5, upgrade with new specs, large battery, top processor, price it reasonably and you, LG, will corner the market.
  • The LG V20 is an excellent phone, at least for a specific segment of the market. Unfortunatelly that segment isn't big enough.
    It amazes me that the G6 didn't sell well, thinking that the price is really competitive against the S8.
  • But the reason it's competitively priced is because they chose to release it with an outdated SoC. That basically cut them out of the enthusiast market, and everyone else at that level buys Samsung or Apple.
  • The average consumer doesn't even know what SoC means, or what a Snapdragon is (aside from the flower). My wife certainly doesn't care. It boils down to marketing (big one there) and carrier support at the store level. I know Apple pays for position and shelf space at Tmobile stores. I wonder if Samsung does something similar, or maybe pays a bonus on every Samsung device they sell... who knows.
  • That's exactly what I said. Using last year's SoC cut out the ENTHUSIAST market, the general consumers you speak of are the everyone else who buy Apple and Samsung I mentioned.
  • Marketing helps but the GS8 just looks and feels better than the G6. The G6 is nice, but I doubt the average smartphone buyer would see it on the same level as the Galaxy S8. When you hold them side by side, the S8 is objectively more premium feeling. I was ready to settle for the G6 but then T-Mobile had the BOGO sale on the S8.
  • I think that LG needs a killer feature to really move the needle. That's not for lack of trying (DAC! Second screen! Curved screen! Modular!), but they haven't hit on an idea that will cause many consumers to say, "I prefer the LG phone over the competition because of this specific thing". I feel like LG phones are generally solid and well-rounded, but the key features they've tried to push are too niche and sometimes too technical. A typical consumer doesn't know enough about high-end DACs to care, and virtually every camera nowadays is better than the best from 2-3 years ago. In contrast, a consumer might think, "I really want the screen on this Samsung", or "I want the Google phone". They don't have to know or care that the screen is OLED, or that the Pixel has stock Android. They just have to want it. And I can't think of anything about the G6 or V20 that would make an average consumer want it more than a Samsung or Pixel phone, or compel them to switch from iOS to Android.
  • LG Had a killer feature. Swappable batteries. I don't know of another phone released recently that has that. The G6 did away with them for waterproofing. Would rather have a phone I can easily keep charged by just swapping the battery than any other feature. All the advancements in charging tech can't charge a battery as fast and easy as swapping a battery out for a fresh one.
  • I don't think we can qualify removable batteries as a killer feature. If they were compelling for average consumers, LG would have had more market share as a result. Instead, it would appear that most people are content with a phone battery lasting a day. I've had phones with removable batteries and I rarely swapped them, but I can appreciate why it's important to others. I think LG missed an opportunity to make the removable battery interesting with the G5. In my opinion, they should have built in a small reserve battery, so that you could hot-swap the main battery without rebooting the phone. The commercials could have been a person changing their battery in the middle of a call, while another person can't find a charger. I don't know if that would be compelling for people who are content to carry around a small backup battery, but it would have made the G5 a much better phone.
  • "Instead, it would appear that most people are content with a phone battery lasting a day. " Yeah, people come to expect abysmal battery life, and that's sad.
  • Nothing has changed since the advent of the smartphone
  • But the average consumer doesn't care about swapping batteries.
  • I personally love the G phones especially the G4. I think the company should continue making the G phones just every 2 or 3 years.👍💞
  • I agree. Especially if they can keep there phones update to date.
  • LOVED THE G4? HA about the rebounding issues and the class action lawsuit? Love that to!
  • The average consumer also has no incentive to buy an LG G6 unfortunately
  • Let me response with my opinion, You have a point but your wife probably will go into Verizon and just ask the rep "What's a good phone"? and since the processor is outdated the Rep will probably pull her away from LG G6 and advise her to Samsung and Apple. While LG doesn't need the best to market to non euthanasst, Non Enthusiast usually ask Enthusiast for what phone to buy.
  • Haha...90% of the VZ reps have no idea about outdated processors. LOL.....The average consumer is more knowledgeable about phone specs than VZ reps.
  • To be fair they really didn't have the option to put a newer soc in it without a significant delay in production. Still LG is failing badly with mobile phones because they do stupid ****.
  • The SOC was current when the V20 was released and it wasn't competitively priced when released.
  • Tbh the phone market is dead. I went into the carphone warehouse as my sister wanted a new phone only phones they had in stick and on display were the xz premium, 3 LG phones, 4 Samsung phones and i phones the rest you had to order in as my sister wanted to look at the HTC offering and a few others. For me everyone wants a iPhone or Samsung and the rest who get a different phone outside that are geeks so to speak or people looking for a low cost contract. For me I'm going to look at the other brands next time I have the Xz premium now and love it but my other half decided to be different and get the moto play z2 and I've been nothing but impressed with it and it's half the price of my contract to
  • carriers do little to promote LG phones. If you go to any verizon or tmobile store and ask the clerk "what's new?," They won't even mention LG. My wife was a Samusung user since the S3 up to the S6... and when she was ready to buy a new phone I showed her the G6 (I was on a V20). She like it and thought she would try it as it was only $500. She LOOOOOOVES it. Heck, I almost got it instead of the V30+ as I love the flat screen. Just wanted the camera of the V30...
  • Honestly the V20 is far from excellent. It lags like crazy! And the battery life is subpar
  • Yeah it does lag a little but mine has been consistently good for over a year now. Camera is fantastic. Battery life is improved over the V10 and reason enough not to take advantage of the removable battery although its a bonus. IR blaster. I use it every single day to turn on my Sony surround speakers.(I do need to buy batteries for the remote) No case and multiple drops on multiple surfaces and I don't have to fear that it will shatter into a million pieces. Always on second display allowing me to see all my notifications without interrupting what I'm doing. So yeah I kinda like this phone. 😉
  • Nope. Mine is still running like a beast since I bought it more than a year ago. I dunno what apps you have installed to cause the lags. I'm using Nova launcher though and everything is silky smooth. And, I don't have to worry that the phone will be throttled by a degraded battery because I can simply swap it out with a new one anytime. LOL!
  • Besides a few hick ups here and there.....mines been running great since I got it in March. Also, the battery life on my V20 has been really good for my use!
  • A great phone indeed yet well over a year later and it's still on the same os it shipped with. With no update aside from security patches in sight.
  • True but you can't blame that on the phone itself.
  • Ya mine to.. I got an LG G6 from Tmobile. Alot to like , but certainly not updates its still on 7.0. I also got a zforce2 [at 375.00] i couldnt resist.
    It unlike the LG G6 has been updated to 8.0 Oreo on Tmobile
  • Again, the biggest problem with the g6 was the 821 processer. If they would have waited for the 835 it would have had double it sales. But it still is a very good phone. Hopefully they won't make the same mistake twice with g7. But with LG you never know!
  • It's not that hard to imagine... It is clearly stated. An example would be: Apple / Samsung. instead of releasing the same exact phone every year but with a slightly different name / specs (i.e. iphone 6 / 6s / 7 / 8 OR Galaxy S6 / S7 / S8 / S9) they can just update their existing lineup's specs without changing much in the way of name or form factor... probably would save millions in marketing and product launches.
  • True. If they find success in the G7 and/or V30, updating it to newer specs seems plausible.
  • They already save millions in marketing. They simply don't do it
  • How about extending device support as a result? LG is really oblivious to why they're not doing well on the mobile front.
  • Beyond 4 months, you mean? I know, I'm being generous lol.
  • Yep, my point exactly! Is that what this is supposed to mean "We plan to retain existing models longer by"? If so, great. They need to promise monthly or quarterly Security Updates, and 2 years of Android Version updates. That'll help...
  • They don't even do incremental updates
  • I mean, this isn't really a terrible strategy, but in such a competitive industry, they need over the top support and especially constant streams of marketing. LG lacks both of those. That's why unless they buck up, I feel this is not going to solve their issues. Maybe they have a chance when everyone plays ball, but that's not going to happen unless Samsung and Apple see huge dips in their profits.
  • They at least have extended the warranty to 2 years now. I just got an unlocked V30+, and so far, it has exceeded every expectation.
  • Troy, what about the camera? I hear they are pretty bad unless you go into advanced mode.
  • They made some fatal flaws in the warranty (bootloop sagas) and software/security update areas that has cost them some serious loyalist that really loved their phones. Some higher ups/execs made some very bad decisions that has and will continue to cost them until they do something awesome to win people back over.
  • What's wrong with this approach? Unless you have real innovation to bring to market, why stick to an arbitrary annual release schedule. Most recent flagship and mid-range phones are good enough that the incremental bumps from year-to-year are minimal (from a real-world use perspective). More companies should do this rather than drag out new devices every year with minimal spec bumps and useless software "features".
  • I agree with you, but for the big players in the game, apple and Samsung, they can release a new flagship annually and be confident that millions will be sold, because to the public at large there are only two phone manufacturers, apple and Samsung, which is a shame.
  • Exactly. I've recently just bought a OnePlus 3 and only half hour ago I updated it to the December security patch and I'm on Oreo. As long as theres decent support, no need for annual upgrades. Oh and the camera is shyte but I'm not one for pictures so it don't bother me.
  • What's wrong is people will not look at them as an option when other phones are released
  • The problem is that LG will need constant marketing and word of mouth to keep people interested. And as they've shown for the last couple, that hasn't really been their forte.
  • I support that concept. I don't want to replace my phone every year. Yes faster chips will come, but until a new technology (new screen design, new charging standard, 5g, faster wifi ) makes it a must have, the 2 year plan is a sufficient. Yes, not every one feels that way, and I respect that. But yearly upgrades with minimal changes are not necessary.
  • The "2 year plan" as you put it will reduce their sales from slow sales to NO SALES!
  • They screwed up big time by not making full flagship features available equally for everyone. That completely turned off the tech-niche crowd they had been trying to attract. They should have addressed boot loop problems up front and fixed it for good. Look at the Note 7, they were blowing up on airplanes and burning people alive!!... Yet Samsung dealt with the problem openly and up-front, with thorough product safety testing. Look at Sammy now. They have been omitting the hardware features original fans of the brand had grown accustomed to having. Removable batteries, inter-chagable / custom case backs, IR blaster, secondary display. If you're not going to design something unique to differentiate your product from Apple or Samsung... the masses are just going to purchase A and S. Sales figures don't lie.
  • I thought I was going to suffer in a big way going to a V30+ from my V20 (with 4 batteries). The *only* thing I miss is the IR blaster. Battery life on the V30 is beyond excellent, and with fast charging, I can go from 20/30 in like 30-40 minutes.
  • None of features you mentioned brought them sales in huge numbers
  • Thats also because they did not market any of it properly.... its the only chance they (LG) has really. You're not going to beat Apple and Sammy by copying them.
  • It wouldn't help.... The masses want pretty phones with water resistance and wireless charging. Most people don't care about removable batteries and no cares about an IR blaster.
  • Sadly this is the case, and its an uphill climb. But design differentiation and proper product marketing are LGs only chance. Until they actually try it, you can't say it doesn't work.
  • There goes my job..
  • It's unfortunate that this is happening; but I can also understand LG's potential motives behind this: saving money, putting more time and money into upcoming releases, etc. But it's also a risky move, with manufacturers like Samsung and Apple always releasing products yearly.
  • LG usually shoots their self in the foot in handset sales by not advertising their phones in the United States very much if any.
    Now they are going to shoot their self in the head and kill off sales of their smart phones altogether in the U.S.
    Whom ever at LG who is in charge of cellphone advertising and sales should to be fired like yesterday if not sooner.
    Even Google has figured out the way to our wallets is thru advertising, even with a faulty product..
    If LG doesn't get their cellphones on everyone's televisions no one is going to consider them seeing Samsung and Apple ads all day and night long 24-7/365.
    I bet their isn't one LG phone ad in the upcoming Superbowl, where everyone that would buy a cellphone will be watching and the best ads win customers!
    I guess LG really is that arrogant that because they have the #1tv and as of now corner the OLED panel market people will automatically associated that with their cell phones. People just ain't that smart, don't give them too much credit.
    If your not going to advertise we ain't gonna buy your stuff, it's just the American way. I'd bet that holds true for the rest of the world outside S. Korea.
    Go ahead, LG, just admit you lost and drop out of cell phones all together, that's the same thing as not advertising or doing so a little as you do!
    I loved my LG G4 so I'm sure the others out afterwards were even better but no one bets on a quitter and that's what it looks to me like LG is doing with cell phones!!!
  • LG just doesn't get it. They're not listening to reviewers and users feedback. Besides that, apple and Samsung is kicking their asses.
  • They kicked LG's ass because Apple and Sammy heavily advertise their product, LG does not!
  • That's a lame excuse. Google is blasting ads for the Pixel 2 everywhere, and it's selling like crap anyway.
  • It's not a lame excuse. LG can't create any mindshare with no advertising.
  • Blasting Google in an LG blog..... That's a new low for you.....lol
  • Well, let me ask you this. How did Beats dominate the premium headphones market in the US with decidedly mediocre products? How did Samsung sell a metric whackton of phones in their early days when they were not the best you could get objectively? The Pixel 2 may be flawed but I've seen more of those than I've seen for any LG flagship. It's not selling in ginormous numbers but it really seems they're selling at least a little more than what LG themselves could muster with their own branded flagships. Literally the only time I've seen a V30 is in a carrier store.
  • No one stays on top forever. All it takes is a ground breaking feature that everyone wants.
  • Indeed. But it seems that ground breaking feature hasn't come to fruit just yet.
  • Is it? Sure, it isn't selling like Apple or Samsung devices, but has Google actually said how many Pixels are being sold?
  • Not only that, they just don't understand that there's no room for error when you got giants like Samsung and apple. They have a terrible cartooonish UI, their front facing cameras is so bad. And then they don't market properly.
  • You don't know that. Samsung offers more for the money.
  • This is an interesting decision for sure.
  • So... I read this as: "LG will stop releasing phones every year, but will still only support existing models for a maximum of 2 years... and don't even ask about O/S update commitments." ...or maybe I'm just being cynical.
  • ... and once again, LG screws North America... No Rose V30 for Murica'. WTH do they have against us?
  • I kind of don't really believe them. I'm not sure any company except Apple could do this and retain the same number of customers.
  • They are selling more phones through Google
  • That would change if Google would HAVE CARRIER DEALS WITH MORE CARRIERS!
  • Misread. Gonna curl up and sleep now.
  • I would actually PREFER this strategy. Microsoft does this with their Xbox, Sony does it with their PlayStation and Nintendo with their systems. Doing this with phones would be cool but I'm also sure it would kill sales. Who knows. The consumer is one weird cookie.
  • As you mentioned, this works for those product categories. As for phones, I think since there are so many releases, people can possibly forget about your brand when they want their next phone, unless they want to be loyalists.
  • Samsung Wins the smart phones flagship battles 😂😂😂😂😂
  • This is the beginning of the end for LG in phones. They will permanently fall behind their rivals.
  • Good riddance LG!
  • Yeah, competition sucks!
  • That's the thing. They weren't competition
  • Then I hope they keep the phones they are releasing updated.
  • They should just stop making ****** phones and stop using garage software.
  • What's garage software?
  • LG need to know how to market their product first, then focus on making a killer phone. While i would take Note 8 over V30, and mate 10 pro over any phone, the V30 is a great phone that barely saw any marketing.
  • I agree with this... For a generation of products LG included removable batteries, manual camera / video, wide angle selfie, removable / customizable case backs, Qi charing case backs, IR blaster. These attracted the tech-geek niche, but they did not market it sufficiently to promote it to the masses and promote general awareness. Sales failed as s result. The only choice/option-centric device they did any kind of marketing for was the modular G5... which of course was a monumental failure from a design and availability standpoint. Sales failed as a result. More recently they have omitted features and gone after simpler hardware designs... and really EXCELLED with phones like the V30 and G6 borrowing hardware design elements from Apple and Samsung. Yet still once again... they refuse to market them. Sales fail as a result. Whatever it is... they need to market it properly to highlight product strengths... whatever they may be. This is LGs biggest failure.
  • Damn I hate to see this. LG is my favorite brand. But really there are usually small differences in phones year to year. With people keeping their phones longer maybe a 2 year refresh cycle makes sense. I just hope that going forward there will be midrange and entry level models available in the world from good ole LG. If not this will be the second maker I've had shot out from under me. I'm still recovering from the demise of Microsoft Lumia phones. Sh&t mf damn.
  • Yeah, does anyone care?
  • I only care because competition is always good but LGs best days are over
  • Sounds sensible to me. Looking at the upgrades year on year most phones only really change over a 24 month period and most are at a level I should be happy to keep for a couple of years.
    But I've never been sensible and think most of us who buy the so called flagship phones have more money than sense and would not wait for LG and move on maybe never to return?
  • I've owned multiple LG flagship phones including the V20. They boasted about the V20 being the first device to ship with 7.0 out of the box and it was. However, over a year later and the phone is still on 7.0 Same story with other LG flagship phones. They will push security updates every 3 months or so but they drag their feet updating the os on existing flagship phones. I don't need the latest version of Android day one but you have to expect LG to add features ie update the os at a timely manner like other oems do. Less you don't care about keeping customers. I'm done with LG phones for now.
  • “We will unveil new smartphones when it is needed. But we will not launch it just because other rivals do,” I read more like they will probably not release just based on when Samsung releases or Apple release. But probably more when their phone is ready with the right materials/specs they need. I don't see anywhere where he says they won't release every year. I'm reading more like they there won't be predictable release cycle but they will release anytime in the year based on certain factors.
  • To me, there's no difference between LG and Samsung in their "high end" phones. Both have good hardware, and really crappy, garbage software. But Samsung markets the crap out of their crap. LG doesn't. Shows that marketing works.
  • Samsung offers features LG doesn't, useful features.
  • LG needs to focus on pixel phones and fixing the never-ending issues with their products.
  • At least they don't make phones with those stupid curved screens
  • This should be done by ALL OEMs. But of course, that'd mean decreased revenues. Hence why they don't do it.
    LG on the other hand has not much to lose anymore. IF this approach means they'll release phones that they actually thought through and that offer consumers a complete and pleasant experience (and that don't die after 4 months...), they might as well win some people back. Most people don't buy phones every year. And when we look at phones like the upcoming S9 or any of Apple's iCrap devices, it's impossible not to say "meh, I've seen this, it's pretty much the same as last year". That's not good for an OEM that doesn't share the spotlight. Microsoft adopted this tactic of "we'll release it when it's ready and worthy of release" with their Surface line and it has payed off pretty well.
    Sony on the other hand releases a new flagship every 6 months and their phones have been on the decline for years. The "more models of the same phone" might also help LG. For example, I would be all in on a model of the V30 that had EVERYTHING the V30 has but came in a 5" or less size (well, with the battery proportionately decreased of course). But because LG only knows how to release phablets, I only know how to NOT buy their phones. It doesn't matter how many of them they release. If they offer me more options, that'll mean they'll stand a better chance of getting my money.
  • DJCBS, the "phablet" term is gone. What we have now is nicely sized phones. I'm glad painfully tiny phones have pretty much vanished from the market,. ZTE releasing a 5 inch phone and call it a "mini" was a sign that too-small phones were pretty much buried.