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LG's 2013 G Flex was among the first phones with a flexible display. Photo: LG

In a world where smartphones have become increasingly homogeneous, Korea's LG was notable for being willing to take risks, even in its flagship models.

Why it matters: LG's exit from the smartphone business doesn't put a lot of market share up for grabs, but the firm's penchant for trying new things will be missed.

Driving the news: LG said Sunday it would exit the smartphone market globally.

The big picture: LG was an innovator in phone designs, especially in the final days before the iPhone. Well before Apple had entered the market, the LG Prada offered an all-touch phone with a capacitive screen.

  • Its final major flagship, the LG Wing, was also a gamble, combining two screens in an odd, swivel design.
  • In between, LG was among the first to use a flexible display, with 2013's LG G Flex. Although the screen was flexible, other components, like batteries, remained unbendable — leaving an end product that, while curved, was pretty darn rigid, as I wrote at the time.
  • In 2016, LG made its G5 flagship customizable, so that the base phone hardware could be upgraded with add-ons like improved cameras and speakers. It abandoned its approach a year later, leaving customers and partners feeling burned.

The bottom line: While the company had a penchant for novelty, its product roadmap was too often a zig-zag without a clear destination.

What's next: LG still sells components including displays and batteries. That means another company could create the rollable-screen phone display.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Apr 5, 2021 - Technology

LG is getting out of the mobile phone business

The dual-screen Wing was one of LG's latest efforts to win back business in phones. Photo: LG

After years of trying to turn its fortunes around, Korea's LG said it would exit the mobile phone business globally.

Between the lines: The phone business is a hard one to make profitable for all but the largest players. LG was once one of those, but hasn't been for many years, and had no clear path to change that.

2 hours ago - World

In photos: Students evacuated as wildfire burns historic Cape Town buildings

Firefighters try, in vain, to extinguish a fire in the Jagger Library, at the University of Cape Town, after a forest fire came down the foothills of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, on Sunday. Photo: Rodger Bosch/AFP via Getty Images

A massive wildfire spread from the foothills of Table Mountain to the University of Cape Town Sunday, burning historic South African buildings and forcing the evacuation of 4,000 students, per Times Live.

The big picture: Visitors to the Table Mountain National Park and other nearby attractions were also evacuated and several roads including a major highway, were closed. South Africa's oldest working windmill and the university's Jagger Library, which houses SA antiquities, are among the buildings damaged.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

3 killed, 2 wounded overnight in Kenosha bar shooting

Three people died and two others were hospitalized with serious injuries after a gunman entered bar in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, the police department said in a statement on Sunday.

The latest: Officers arrested a "person of interest" Sunday afternoon in connection with the 12:42 a.m. shooting and there's "no threat to the community at this time," per a later police statement.

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