Companies launch smartphones with a target demographic in mind. They want their devices to appeal to the everyday user, photography nerds, power users, audiophiles, people on a budget, or really any combination of those examples and more.
I think LG has had the most trouble nailing down a solid roadmap for its two main smartphone series. What started out as a smartphone for everyone, the LG G lineup has taken many forms over the years and no longer resembles LG’s original vision for the line. The G series has gone from quirky and modular to safe and pared-down; from an audiophile’s dream phone back to gimmicky and fun.
Something similar can be said for the LG V series. Originally a rugged, spec’d-out device for power users, LG’s V line has slowly become less rugged and perhaps an amalgamation of too many things; a jack of all trades, master of few.
LG needs to re-establish the G series in a more succinct way. Right now, there seems to be too much overlap.
Now, there are hardly any discernible differences between the G and V series aside from a few specs. The LG G8X dropped some of the gimmicks introduced with the G8 and added a dual display accessory that turns it into a sort of poor-man’s foldable phone. That’s enough to make it stand out, right? Not so fast — the new LG V60 also has support for the dual-screen accessory, which gives people little incentive to buy the G8X now that the V60 is out.
In fact, I wouldn’t have blamed LG for naming it the LG G9 or G9X instead of the V60. It seems like a simple upgrade over the G8X, not a different series of phones.
Read: Hands-on with the LG V60
LG told Android Authority at MWC last year that the V series will now be 5G only and the G series would remain 4G. I guess if someone wanted to buy a 4G-only phone they might consider the LG G8X, but even then, is that really enough to warrant its own smartphone line? What if LG wants to add 5G to the LG G9?
I want LG to succeed. I like its phones, and I think it’s commendable that LG is one of the last smartphone companies that isn’t afraid to take risks. But LG has changed its mind so much that it makes it hard for me, a person who writes about these phones regularly, to recommend them to any one person.
Personally, I think LG should stick with the power user route with the V series. These have always been no-compromise smartphones and the dual-screen accessory and 5G support make it even more of a compelling package.
For the LG G9, G10, and so on, I think the company should go the affordable flagship route. It needs to take on the OnePlus’ of the world and provide the best hardware it can at the ~$500 sweet spot. LG already has the hardware down, and its phones tend to drop in price significantly a few months after launch. Why not skip overpricing its phones on launch day and make them more accessible to everyone? This way, the G series would at least have a clear focus.
I don’t want to make it sound like LG is the only culprit here for overlapping smartphone releases. Samsung’s own Galaxy S and Note lines are now more similar than ever. I simply think some clarity would help LG in the long run; help it market its phones to the right people, and maybe help it re-establish the G series in a more succinct way.
I’m not sure if any big changes are coming for the LG G9, but I can’t wait until they do.