(Pocket-lint) - LG has called time on its struggling smartphone business, with the company confirming that it will continue to sell off remaining stock, but it expects the wind-down to be completed by July 2021. 

Rumours of LG's departure from smartphones have been frequent and repeated. From a regular launch schedule, LG drifted off that pattern in 2020, dropping the expected updates for the flagship G series, and moving in a different direction.

While the company pushed forward with its Explorer Project - which was designed to bring out new forms of smartphone - the mass sellers seemed to be struggling.

In early 2021 reports that LG's smartphone business were to be shuttered were widely rebuked, only to appear again a couple of weeks later, along with reports that the planned launches for 2021 were to be delayed.

On 5 April 2021 LG made the news official, saying that exiting the mobile phone business will allow LG to concentrate its efforts in other areas: "electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robotics, artificial intelligence and business-to-business solutions, as well as platforms and services." 

The move won't come as a surprise to watchers of the smartphone segment. With Apple and Samsung dominating sales - and a number of emerging Chinese companies grabbing up the rest of the market - it's been a hard sell for LG phones. 

While LG has explored interesting designs and attempted to leverage new technologies, it has failed to fine form and popularity. Probably the last great phone from the company was the 2015 LG G4 - which came with a leather-backed option (pictured) - while more recent models seemed rather more confused, failing to really make their mark.

Most recently, the launch of the LG Velvet was one of the first Snapdragon 765 devices in a refreshingly powerful mid-range positioning, but LG's device was much more expensive that its rivals.

LG says that stock of existing phones will continues to be available, while services and support will be continued for owners of existing devices. This, says LG, will vary by region, but there's little commitment to time - so those waiting for Android updates on existing phones may will be disappointed.

It's a day to remember: LG made its mark on smartphones over the last two decades and the company's alternative approach will be missed.

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Writing by Chris Hall.