What the heck is LG doing and why is no one excited about the LG V40 ThinQ?

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
What the heck is LG doing and why is no one excited about the LG V40 ThinQ?
The G7 ThinQ was not a bad phone, but it was easily forgettable

HMD Global has just officially joined the massive crowd of companies planning to unveil exciting new devices next month, scheduling a mysterious Nokia smartphone announcement event for October 4.

Wait, but wasn't there something else already slated for that date? No, Google, Razer, and Samsung will need to share the spotlight the following week, while the Huawei Mate 20 and OnePlus 6T are expected out on the 16th and 17th respectively.

Oh, that’s right, there’s also an LG V40 ThinQ in the pipeline. How could one possibly forget about that? Well, it’s actually pretty simple, considering this feels like the company’s 100th high-end release of the year.


That’s obviously not the case, but the V40 ThinQ does follow in the footsteps of the V30S ThinQ, G7 ThinQ, and V35 ThinQ. Not to mention last year’s V30 has aged quite gracefully, offering extremely good value for your money at a discounted price of $480 over on Amazon.

Unfortunately, this all means there’s minimal excitement around the upcoming V40 ThinQ announcement. LG has nobody to blame but itself and a series of wrong moves, failed experiments, and poor business decisions for the company’s shrinking relevance in the global mobile industry.

Follow the money


Remember when LG was a big-shot smartphone vendor? You don’t? That’s probably because the consumer electronics giant never prioritized its mobile division. Like compatriot and arch-rival Samsung, LG is involved in many businesses, including home entertainment products, home appliances, vehicle components, and screen manufacturing. 

Of course, LG Display and LG Electronics are separate LG Corporation-owned entities, so technically, securing that big iPhone OLED supply contract didn't hinder the activity of LG Mobile in any way. 

But even with LG Electronics resources merely shared between Home Entertainment, Mobile Communications, Vehicle Components, and Business-to-Business departments, the smartphone division was often treated as a secondary experiment.


Incredibly enough, the business thrived even so, and at one point half a decade ago, LG was the world’s third-largest smartphone vendor, yielding a decent profit from its “Mobile Communications Company.”
 
But the Home Entertainment and Home Appliance “companies” generated more money, so naturally, LG Electronics kept its focus on growing those particular departments. Fast forward to Q2 2018, and overall profits are at “all-time record highs” thanks to TVs, washing machines, and refrigerators. Meanwhile, LG smartphones have been in the red for a mind-boggling four years now, with sales numbers on a steep downward trajectory as well.

It’s decision time


What’s the big difference between Samsung and LG? When it comes to smartphones, probably timing. And courage. Not necessarily the courage to release original designs, mind you. In a way, 2016’s LG G5 was a bigger risk than, say, 2011’s Galaxy Note, completely reimagining the look of the company’s main flagship handset.


The modular G5 flopped spectacularly, leaving LG in a very vulnerable position as the V series wasn’t considered a mainstream product family yet. In fact, the experimental G5 came just months after a curious V10 with a Second Screen gimmick, dual selfie cameras way ahead of their time, and a build quality that could only be described as a mixed bag.

The V20 followed with a radically different but similarly unconventional design, while the G6 packed an outdated processor right off the bat. That’s quite a history of bad decision making, and when LG finally got a high-end phone right... it followed that up with the mediocre G7 ThinQ.


It’s pretty clear now that the G7 ThinQ should have been canceled, as LG originally intended. The V30 had amazing potential, but astoundingly bad marketing and sub-par distribution harmed its mass appeal beyond repair. Now the V40 ThinQ is coming to (lightly) upgrade the V35 ThinQ, and the market is simply too crowded for LG to stand out.

Once again, it’s time for some tough decisions, and once again, it looks like LG doesn’t know exactly what it wants from the mobile industry.

All is not lost


If we can hold out hope for an unlikely Sony comeback, surely we can still believe in LG as well. A minor global player, the company is somehow ranked third among US smartphone vendors.

That’s an overcrowded, stagnant market right now, but a number of companies are hoping 5G breakthroughs can bring back growth. LG is decently positioned to capitalize on the next cellular revolution, and even if that doesn’t happen, having a decent share of the massive US market is a great way to start a comeback.


The next step would be to stop throwing everything at the wall, because very little is sticking. Notch, no notch, LCD, OLED, AI gimmicks, overpriced mid-rangers, confusing branding... just stop for a minute and “thinQ” what matters most to customers, LG.

Maybe a good idea would be to start over with a new, streamlined, easier to understand product portfolio. No more ThinQ branding (how are you even supposed to pronounce that?), no more different names for the same device, no more going back and forth for mid-range monikers, and let’s cut down on the unnecessary experiments while we’re at it.

Software support has also been pretty terrible lately, although LG’s enrollment in Google’s Android One program is certainly an encouraging sign of what’s to come.

The mid-range Q series has to stay, those affordable pen-wielding phones are pretty sweet, but a smarter price strategy and more aggressive advertising are needed to exploit their full potential. In the short run, that may lead to bigger financial losses, but for the long term, it’s probably a risk worth taking.


Last but certainly not least, something radical needs to happen with the high-end G and V families. They simply cannot coexist right now, so perhaps a break from flagship releases should follow the V40 ThinQ.

If recent rumors are to be trusted, this is going to bring everything from a triple rear-facing camera setup to a whopping 8GB RAM to the table, which means an upgrade will only be warranted when 5G becomes a commercial reality

If LG has learned anything from past mistakes, there will be no G8 ThinQ.

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68 Comments

1. Consumer2

Posts: 161; Member since: Jul 24, 2018

If LG puts 5000mAh+ monstrous battery with 8/128 GB storage everyone will be excited.

2. TrumpsRuinedAmerica

Posts: 116; Member since: Dec 31, 2017

It's so cute you think the average consumer cares about that.

41. partylikeaninjastar

Posts: 26; Member since: Jun 11, 2014

The two things the average consumer does care about, other than branding, is having a phone that doesn't die and being able to save all their pictures and other junk. So I do think the average consumer would care about a battery that lasts longer than every other phone without competition and with plenty of space to store all the things. I think more people care about that than they do thin phones that manufactures think we actually care about.

48. Consumer2

Posts: 161; Member since: Jul 24, 2018

If the world were as you think, then we would still live in the Middle Ages

51. Consumer2

Posts: 161; Member since: Jul 24, 2018

..........

45. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

What LG needs to do is stick to their own tried and tested dependable features like removable battery, wide angle camera, gorgeous displays, best in class 3.5mm sound support, rouged build etc. They will certainly have to go to the drawing boards once and for all and design a sexy but not weird looking flagship. It must be industrial, easy to hold, durable and innovative at the same time.They need to get their disastrous naming system together. And a good marketing strategy along with a well timed distribution strategy without any delays will do the trick just fine. LG has lot of potential but they are wasting their time. Chinese brands are racing to the prime spots in the smartphone game.

59. Nkukza

Posts: 53; Member since: Feb 19, 2015

Excuse me, he has made a valid point here. Battery life is probably the one shortfall for LG smartphones don't know about RAM but LG phones have the worst battery life of any smartphone menufacture followed by Sony. LG was one of the first OEMs to introduce high res displays but what did they do, they shipped their high end devices with a mediocre 3000mha battery resulting in under less then 3hours of normal usage, which becomes even worse when you toggle data on.. they still doing that even today sticking to the continuously failing 3000mha battery life on high end devices. this is the reason why I will never touch an LG phone again but a 5000mha battery will make me reconsider either then that there is nothing much else wrong with LG phones, they are on par with the rest and even better in some instances, to be honest I have not seen a better display in a smartphone then those on LG's top end phones some will argue super AMOLED is better not for me, AMOLED is beautiful and efficient but LG's display is unbelievably amazing. You need to test an LG high end phone to know how bad the battery life is.. it just ruins the experience or cuts it short and you may not experience the best part of their smartphones because of this and you will end up not realizing that they are as good as Samsung phones if not better.

64. partylikeaninjastar

Posts: 26; Member since: Jun 11, 2014

"Battery life is probably the one shortfall for LG smartphones . . . but LG phones have the worst battery life of any smartphone menufacture" Way to demonstrate that you have no idea of what you're talking about. V30 is one the highest rated phone when it comes to battery life compared to phones released in the same window.

11. Bankz

Posts: 2531; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Nobody is excited because LG has consistently been releasing good to mediocre products as against the competition. The competition is getting stiffer by the day and yet, LG has nothing whatsoever to distinguish themselves in a unique and must have way. Their battery life is abysmal, their designs are meh, their camera quality is average, their speaker quality is meh, their screens are bad, updates are a no go and they have no unique feature set whatsoever. Now take Huawei and Samsung in comparison, those guys have been putting out compelling and consistent phones with jaw dropping performance and feature sets and that is why they sell. This isn't rocket science.

17. Bankz

Posts: 2531; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

By the way, sort out your damn release schedule for Christ's sake. FFS, how can you announce a mediocre phone to begin with in September and release it in December and expect people to even remember it exists how much more buying it?

50. MarmiteTheDog

Posts: 191; Member since: Jul 31, 2017

Quad DAC which can properly drive good headphones is a USP that no other main player has. They also have a much more useful wide-angle camera that is a rarity (and when using the Pixel app is a good as anything out there). I have the V30+ (and wouldn't swap it for any currently available alternative) and it shows how bad LG at marketing that they couldn't turn this excellent device into a bestseller - a case study in how not to take a product to market.

3. haruken

Posts: 306; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

LG is totally disposable. They're boring, predictable and several steps behind Samsung. At least Wawei, another Samsung copy-cat, tries.

18. Bankz

Posts: 2531; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

I'd argue that Huawei puts out more compelling and exciting phones than Samsung right now. In fact, as far as excitement and innovation goes, it's basically Huawei and Samsung's world we're living in right now. Apple has regressed so bad that they could have as well not even released the iPhone 8 and iPhone XS series and it would still have changed nothing. BTW, sorry for bringing apple into this.

4. Consumer2

Posts: 161; Member since: Jul 24, 2018

LG And Samsung have the same problem : Battery.

24. BuffaloSouce unregistered

Nothing wrong with Samsungs batteries

60. Furkan

Posts: 552; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

Same for LG

5. Elvis358

Posts: 219; Member since: Mar 25, 2018

Ohhh it will be better than Note9!!!

19. Bankz

Posts: 2531; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

It won't and never will..

28. Elvis358

Posts: 219; Member since: Mar 25, 2018

Ohh it will and always will :)

6. lJesseCusterl

Posts: 96; Member since: Apr 27, 2015

THEY AREN'T DOING THE SAME THING AS EVERYONE ELSE WHAT'S WRONG WITH THEM REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

7. torr310

Posts: 1645; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

I was excited about V30, but the screen quality and subpar camera sensor sizes at both front and rear were the disappointments. Also they could've put a larger battery. After the V30, they disappointed with the G7 again... I am seeing they are heading the same way HTC have been heading.

39. DFranch

Posts: 531; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

V30 is a very good all around phone. The screen issues were overblown, and a primary reason why the V30 was not well received. The battery life is the best of the SD 835 generation. The camera is pretty good, better if you use the Google photo port, and not the disaster you make it to be. The wide angle lens has come in handy more than once. The front camera isn't great, but I rarely ever use it, so It doesn't bother me.

8. drazwy

Posts: 354; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

I see Samsung and Apple commercials on TV and everywhere else. I can't recall ever seeing an LG phone commercial anywhere. Hence, the mainstream doesn't even know they make cell phones. Just household appliances. It's not a coincidence.

21. Bankz

Posts: 2531; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

No matter the amount of commercial they do, if you put out lazy phones nobody will stick with you. It's that simple really. Even Google with all their marketing, how many people have you seen using the pixel. Samsung, Huawei and apple sell because they put out damn compelling phones although apple has far regressed but at least they're a house hold name, status symbol and they have their state of the art OS to keep them afloat, something LG doesn't have the luxury of enjoying right now. For instance, there's no amount of commercial that'll make the OnePlus outsell Samsung S series and it is only so because Samsung simply makes better phones than OnePlus in almost every conceivable way. Their commercials are popular because of the phones and not the other way round.

9. jellmoo

Posts: 2562; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

I mean it's not really a mystery. They launch good devices that are just a step behind their Samsung equivalents. Unfortunately, Samsung is also a marketing juggernaut.

10. panrt321

Posts: 100; Member since: Aug 23, 2018

LG has to start from scratch, change everything as well as marketing, choose another design, do not use the notch etc. just a brand new model with the new name of the G-Series instead and connect it with the V series and then return G flex.

12. panrt321

Posts: 100; Member since: Aug 23, 2018

LG delete G8 or V50 pls, and build new smartphone!! LG here is concept on LG Octane!!! https://www.concept-phones.com/lg/lg-octane-arrives-clad-in-metal-no-notch-courtesy-of-mladen-milic/

13. panrt321

Posts: 100; Member since: Aug 23, 2018

LG V30 is Best LG smartphone from Times LG G2 AND G3.!! V10 IS NICE!!

26. luis.aag90

Posts: 272; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

I liked the V20 due to it's removable battery and nice features. I'm still looking to get a used one for backup phone.

14. Epicness1o1

Posts: 303; Member since: May 30, 2013

Wtf is with all of these comments,that lg is boring and has a the battery capacity. Its 2018,the mAh dont matter,its all about what chip and what software,LG V30,easy 2 days of battery life in my use. LG is boring?Only company with wide angle lens,boombox speakers,quad dac...come on just shut the F up

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