Smart TVs add fuel to Xiaomi’s Q1 earnings

Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi just released its first quarterly results since announcing its $1.48 billion pledge to focus on smartphones and ‘AIoT’, an acronym for Internet of Things powered by artificial intelligence.

Xiaomi’s adjusted net profit for the first quarter increased 22.4 percent year-over-year to 2.1 billion yuan ($300 million), while total revenue climbed 27.2 percent to 43.8 billion yuan ($6.33 billion).

Sales in India, where Xiaomi handsets dominate, as well as other countries outside China, continued to be a bright spot for the company. International markets brought in 38 percent of its total revenue over the first quarter, representing a 35 percent increase. Xiaomi’s overseas momentum came amid a global slowdown in the smartphone sector and at a time its rival Huawei copes with a technology ban that threatens to hobble international sales.

Smartphones remained as Xiaomi’s biggest revenue driver, though the segment had shrunk from 67.5 percent of total revenue in Q1 of 2018 to 61.7 percent a year later. According to Canalys, Xiaomi was the world’s fourth-largest smartphone maker by units shipped in the first quarter. A brand traditionally popular among male consumers, Xiaomi has made efforts to court female users by taking over Meitu’s smartphone business that would allow it to sell selfie-optimizing devices.

Xiaomi’s ‘IoT and lifestyle’ unit, which churns out a wide range of home appliances from air purifiers to suitcases, saw its share of revenue jump from 22.4 percent to 27.5 percent year-over-year.

Xiaomi said growth of this segment was primarily driven by smart TV sales, a new area of focus at the smartphone company. In January, Xiaomi announced taking a 0.48 percent stake in TV manufacturer TCL, deepening an existing alliance that saw the two work together to integrate Xiaomi’s operating system into TCL products.

Xiaomi has long tried to differentiate itself from other hardware firms by making money not just from gadgets but also from software and internet services sold through those devices. But the latter portion is still relatively paltry, accounting for just 9.7 percent of Xiaomi’s total revenue, compared to 9.1 percent a year before.

As of March, Xiaomi owned 261 million monthly active users through its MIUI operating system installed across all devices, a 37.3 percent growth YoY. The number of IoT devices, excluding smartphones and laptops, jumped 70 percent to reach approximately 171.0 million units.

Smart TVs add fuel to Xiaomi’s Q1 earnings

Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi just released its first quarterly results since announcing its $1.48 billion pledge to focus on smartphones and ‘AIoT’, an acronym for Internet of Things powered by artificial intelligence.

Xiaomi’s adjusted net profit for the first quarter increased 22.4 percent year-over-year to 2.1 billion yuan ($300 million), while total revenue climbed 27.2 percent to 43.8 billion yuan ($6.33 billion).

Sales in India, where Xiaomi handsets dominate, as well as other countries outside China, continued to be a bright spot for the company. International markets brought in 38 percent of its total revenue over the first quarter, representing a 35 percent increase. Xiaomi’s overseas momentum came amid a global slowdown in the smartphone sector and at a time its rival Huawei copes with a technology ban that threatens to hobble international sales.

Smartphones remained as Xiaomi’s biggest revenue driver, though the segment had shrunk from 67.5 percent of total revenue in Q1 of 2018 to 61.7 percent a year later. According to Canalys, Xiaomi was the world’s fourth-largest smartphone maker by units shipped in the first quarter. A brand traditionally popular among male consumers, Xiaomi has made efforts to court female users by taking over Meitu’s smartphone business that would allow it to sell selfie-optimizing devices.

Xiaomi’s ‘IoT and lifestyle’ unit, which churns out a wide range of home appliances from air purifiers to suitcases, saw its share of revenue jump from 22.4 percent to 27.5 percent year-over-year.

Xiaomi said growth of this segment was primarily driven by smart TV sales, a new area of focus at the smartphone company. In January, Xiaomi announced taking a 0.48 percent stake in TV manufacturer TCL, deepening an existing alliance that saw the two work together to integrate Xiaomi’s operating system into TCL products.

Xiaomi has long tried to differentiate itself from other hardware firms by making money not just from gadgets but also from software and internet services sold through those devices. But the latter portion is still relatively paltry, accounting for just 9.7 percent of Xiaomi’s total revenue, compared to 9.1 percent a year before.

As of March, Xiaomi owned 261 million monthly active users through its MIUI operating system installed across all devices, a 37.3 percent growth YoY. The number of IoT devices, excluding smartphones and laptops, jumped 70 percent to reach approximately 171.0 million units.

The state of the smartphone

Earlier this month, Canalys used the word “freefall” to describe its latest reporting. Global shipments fell 6.8% year over year. At 313.9 million, they were at their lowest level in nearly half a decade.

Of the major players, Apple was easily the hardest hit, falling 23.2% year over year. The firm says that’s the “largest single-quarter decline in the history of the iPhone.” And it’s not an anomaly, either. It’s part of a continued slide for the company, seen most recently in its Q1 earnings, which found the handset once again missing Wall Street expectations. That came on the tale of a quarter in which Apple announced it would no longer be reporting sales figures.

Tim Cook has placed much of the iPhone’s slide at the feet of a disappointing Chinese market. It’s been a tough nut for the company to crack, in part due to a slowing national economy. But there’s more to it than that. Trade tensions and increasing tariffs have certainly played a role — and things look like they’ll be getting worse before they get better on that front, with a recent bump from a 10 to 25% tariff bump on $60 billion in U.S. goods.

It’s important to keep in mind here that many handsets, regardless of country of origin, contain both Chinese and American components. On the U.S. side of the equation, that includes nearly ubiquitous elements like Qualcomm processors and a Google-designed operating system. But the causes of a stagnating (and now declining) smartphone market date back well before the current administration began sowing the seeds of a trade war with China.

Image via Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesThe underlying factors are many. For one thing, smartphones simply may be too good. It’s an odd notion, but an intense battle between premium phone manufacturers may have resulted in handsets that are simply too good to warrant the long-standing two-year upgrade cycle. NPD Executive Director Brad Akyuz tells TechCrunch that the average smartphone flagship user tends to hold onto their phones for around 30 months — or exactly two-and-a-half years.

That’s a pretty dramatic change from the days when smartphone purchases were driven almost exclusively by contracts. Smartphone upgrades here in the States were driven by the standard 24-month contract cycle. When one lapsed, it seemed all but a given that the customer would purchase the latest version of the heavily subsidized contract.

But as smartphone build quality has increased, so too have prices, as manufacturers have raised margins in order to offset declining sales volume. “All of a sudden, these devices became more expensive, and you can see that average selling price trend going through the roof,” says Akyuz. “It’s been crazy, especially on the high end.”

The Meizu 16s offers flagship features at a mid-range price

Smartphones have gotten more expensive over the last few years even though there have only been a handful of recent innovations that really changed the way you interact with the phone. It’s maybe no surprise then that there is suddenly a lot more interest in mid-range, sub-$500 phones again. In the U.S., Google’s new Pixel 3a, with its superb camera, is bringing a lot of credibility to this segment. Outside the U.S., though, you can often get a flagship phone for less than $500 that makes none of the trade-offs typically associated with a mid-range phone. So when Meizu asked me to take a look at its new 16s flagship, which features (almost) everything you’d expect from a high-end Android phone, I couldn’t resist.

Meizu, of course, is essentially a total unknown in the U.S., even though it has a sizable global presence elsewhere. After a week with its latest flagship, which features Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 chip and under-screen fingerprint scanner, I’ve come away impressed by what the company delivers, especially given the price point. In the U.S. market, the $399 Pixel 3a may seem like a good deal, but that’s because a lot of brands like Meizu, Xiaomi, Huawei and others have been shut out.

It’s odd that this is now a differentiating feature, but the first thing you’ll notice when you get started is the notchless screen. The dual-sim 16s must have one of the smallest selfie cameras currently on the market, and the actual bezels, especially when compared to something like the Pixel 3a, are minimal. That trade-off works for me. I’ll take a tiny bezel over a notch any day. The 6.2-inch AMOLED screen, which is protected by Gorilla Glass, is crisp and bright, though maybe a bit more saturated than necessary.

The in-display fingerprint reader works just fine, though it’s a bit more finicky that the dedicated readers I’ve used in the past.

With its 855 chip and 6GB of RAM, it’s no surprise the phone feels snappy. To be honest, that’s true for every phone, though, even in the mid-range. Unless you are a gamer, it’s really hard to push any modern phone to its limits. The real test is how this speed holds up over time, and that’s not something we can judge right now.

The overall build quality is excellent, yet while the plastic back is very pretty, it’s also a) weird to see a plastic back to begin with and b) slippery enough to just glide over your desk and drop on the floor if it’s at even a slight angle.

Meizu’s Flyme skin does the job, and adds some useful features like a built-in screen recorder. I’m partial to Google’s Pixel launcher, and a Flyme feels a bit limited in comparison to that and other third-party launchers. There is no app drawer, for example, so all of your apps have to live on the home screen. Personally, I went to the Microsoft Launcher pretty quickly, since that’s closer to the ecosystem I live in anyway. Being able to do that is one of the advantages of Android, after all.

Meizu also offers a number of proprietary gesture controls that replace the standard Android buttons. These may or may not work for you, depending on how you feel about gesture-based interfaces.

I haven’t done any formal battery tests, but the battery easily lasted me through a day of regular usage.

These days, though, phones are really about the cameras. Meizu opted for Sony’s latest 48-megapixel sensor here for its main camera and a 20-megapixel sensor for its telephoto lens that provides up to 3x optical zoom. The camera features optical image stabilization, which, when combined with the software stabilization, makes it easier to take low-light pictures and record shake-free video (though 4K video does not feature Meizu’s anti-shake system).

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While you can set the camera to actually produce a 48-megapixel image, the standard setting combines four pixels’ worth of light into a single pixel. That makes for a better image, though you do have the option to go for the full 48 megapixels if you really want to. The camera’s daytime performance is very good, though maybe not quite up to par with some other flagship phones. It really shines when the light dims, though. At night, the camera is highly competitive and Meizu knows that, so the company even added two distinct night modes: one for handheld shooting and one for when you set the phone down or use a tripod. There is also a pro mode with manual controls.

Otherwise, the camera app provides all the usual portrait mode features you’d expect today. The 2x zoom works great, but at 3x, everything starts feeling a bit artificial and slightly washed out. It’ll do in a pinch, but you’re better off getting closer to your subject.

In looking at these features, it’s worth remembering the phone’s price. You’re not making a lot of trade-offs at less than $500, and it’d be nice to see more phones of this caliber on sale in the U.S. Right now, it looks like the OnePlus 7 Pro at $669 is your best bet if you are in the U.S. and looking for a flagship phone without the flagship price.

Huawei launches AI-backed database to target enterprise customers

China’s Huawei is making a serious foray into the enterprise business market after it unveiled a new database management product on Wednesday, putting it in direct competition with entrenched vendors like IBM, Oracle and Microsoft.

The Shenzhen-based company, best known for making smartphones and telecom equipment, claims its newly minted database uses artificial intelligence capabilities to improve tuning performance, a process that traditionally involves human administrators, by over 60 percent.

Called the GaussDB, the database works both locally as well as on public and private clouds. When running on Huawei’s own cloud, GaussDB provides data warehouse services for customers across the board, from the financial, logistics, education to automotive industries.

The database launch was first reported by The Information on Tuesday citing sources saying it is designed by the company’s secretive database research group called Gauss and will initially focus on the Chinese market.

The announcement comes at a time when Huawei’s core telecom business is drawing scrutiny in the West over the company’s alleged ties to the Chinese government. That segment accounted for 40.8 percent of Huawei’s total revenues in 2018, according to financial details released by the privately-held firm.

Huawei’s consumer unit, which is driven by its fast-growing smartphone and device sales, made up almost a half of the company’s annual revenues. Enterprise businesses made up less than a quarter of earnings, but Huawei’s new push into database management is set to add new fuel to the segment.

Meanwhile, at Oracle, more than 900 employees, most of whom worked for its 1,600-staff research and development center in China, were recently let go amid a major company restructuring, multiple media outlets reported earlier this month.

Data provided to TechCrunch by Boss Zhipin offers clues to the layoff: The Chinese recruiting platform has recently seen a surge in newly registered users who work at Oracle China. But the door is still open for new candidates as the American giant is currently recruiting for more than 100 positions through Boss, including many related to cloud computing.

Yes, Americans can opt-out of airport facial recognition. Here’s how

Whether you like it or not, facial recognition tech to check in for your flight will soon be coming to an airport near you.

Over a dozen U.S. airports are already rolling out the technology, with many more to go before the U.S. government hits its target of enrolling the largest 20 airports in the country before 2021.

Facial recognition is highly controversial and has many divided. On the one hand, it reduces paper tickets and meant to be easier for travelers to check in at the airport before their flight. But facial recognition also has technical problems. According to a Homeland Security watchdog, the facial recognition systems used at airports only worked in 85 percent in some cases. Homeland Security said the system is getting better over time and will be up to scratch by the supposed 2021 deadline — even if the watchdog has its doubts.

Many also remain fearful of the privacy and legal concerns. After all, it’s not Customs and Border Protection collecting your facial recognition data directly — it’s the airlines — and they pass it onto the government.

Delta debuted the tech last year, scanning faces before passengers fly. JetBlue also followed suit, and many more airlines are expected to sign up. That data is used to verify boarding passes before travelers get to their gate. But it’s also passed onto Customs and Border Protection to check passengers against their watchlists — and to crack down on those who overstay their visas.

Clearly that’s rattling travelers. In a recent Twitter exchange with JetBlue, the airline said customers are “able to opt out of this procedure.”

That’s technically true, although you might not know it if you’re at one of the many U.S. airports. The Electronic Frontier Foundation found that it’s not easy to opt-out but it is possible.

A sign allowing U.S. citizens to opt-out of facial scans. (Image: Twitter/Juli Lyskawa)

If you’re a U.S. citizen, you can opt out by telling an officer or airline employee at the time of a facial recognition scan. You’ll need your U.S. passport with you — even if you’re flying domestically. Border officials or airline staff will manually check your passport or boarding pass like they would normally do before you’ve boarded a plane.

Be on the lookout for any signs that say you can opt-out, but also be mindful that there may be none at all. You may have to opt-out multiple times from arriving at the airport until you reach your airplane seat.

“It might sound trite, but right now, the key to opting out of face recognition is to be vigilant,” wrote EFF’s Jason Kelley.

Bad news if you’re not an American: you will not be allowed to opt-out.

“Once the biometric exit program is a nationally-scaled, established program, foreign nationals will be required to biometrically confirm their exit from the United States at the final [boarding] point,” said CBP spokesperson Jennifer Gabris in an earlier email to TechCrunch. “This has been and is a Congressional mandate,” she said.

There are a few exceptions, such as Canadian citizens who don’t require a visa to enter the U.S. are exempt, and diplomatic and government visa holders.

Facial recognition data collected by the airlines on U.S. citizens is stored by Customs and Border Protection for between 12 hours and two weeks, and 75 years for non-citizens. That data is stored in several government databases, which border officials can pull up when you’re arriving or leaving the U.S.

Why should you opt-out? As an American, it’s your right to refuse. Homeland Security once said Americans who didn’t want their faces scanned at the airport should “refrain from traveling.” Now all it takes is a “no, thanks.”

Read more:

Apple CEO Tim Cook talks WWDC student program, coding initiatives and SAP

For the past few years, Apple has been inviting student developers to attend its WWDC conference, which centers on development topics and software. A few students from this year’s batch are getting some more personal attention from Apple as it tries to raise awareness of the program and coding literacy via its Swift Playgrounds and other resources for students and teachers.

Most of those students, though, won’t get a surprise personal visit from CEO Tim Cook, which is what happened this week when Lyman High School student Liam Rosenfeld got to the Millenia Mall Apple Store in Orlando, Florida. Liam was there to participate, he thought, in an interview with myself and a local journalist from the Orlando Sentinel about his admission to the program.

As a surprise, and fresh off an appearance at the SAP Sapphire conference to announce an expanded partnership, Cook came to visit the store to greet employees, and to spend some time with Liam and his teacher, Mary Acken.

I was on hand to spend some time of my own with Liam, to talk to him about his experiences coding in high school and shipping on a global App Store. I also spoke to Cook about coding literacy, the SAP partnership and some other interesting topics.

The confab was set for Wednesday afternoon, with the store making an ideal meeting place given its rough proximity to the conference and airport. Liam arrived earlier than expected and some interference had to be ran so that Cook’s appearance and the surprise, could be kept secret.

Chipper Cash convinces Joe Montana to invest in African fintech

The African no-fee, cross-border payment startup Chipper Cash has raised a $2.4 million seed round led by Deciens Capital.

The payments company also persuaded 500 Startups and Liquid 2 Ventures—co-founded by Joe Montana—to join the round.

Chipper Cash’s Ugandan chief executive, Ham Serunjogi, pitched the U.S. football legend directly. “He was quite excited about what we’re doing and his belief that the next wave of [tech] growth will come from…Africa,” Serunjogi told TechCrunch.

Chipper Cash went live in October 2018, joining a growing field of fintech startups aiming to scale digital finance applications across Africa’s billion plus population.

The venture Serunjogi co-founded with Ghanaian Maijid Moujaled offers no-fee, P2P, cross-border mobile-money payments in Africa.

Based in San Francisco based startup—with offices in Ghana and Nairobi—Chipper Cash has processed 250,000 transactions for over 70,000 active users, according to Serunjogi.

In conjunction with the seed round, Chipper Cash is launching Chipper Checkout: a merchant focused, C2B, mobile payments product.

This side of the startup’s offerings isn’t free, and Chipper Cash will use revenues from Chipper Checkout—in addition to income generated from payment volume float—to support its no-fee mobile money business.

Sheel Mohnot, who led 500 Startups’ investment in Chipper Cash, likened company’s model to PayPal.

“When PayPal started it was just a consumer to consumer free app. It still is free for consumer to consumer, they but they monetized the merchant side. That model is tried and tested. It just doesn’t exist in Africa, so Chipper has the opportunity to do that,” he told TechCrunch.

In addition to Kenya’s M-Pesa—the global success story for digital payments—there are a number of mobile money products in Africa, from MTN’s Mobile Money in Ghana to Tigo Pesa in Tanzania.

The limiting factor, though, according to Chipper Cash’s CEO is interoperability, or that mobile-money transfers across product platforms, currencies, and borders generally don’t work.

“Our tech settles cross-border currency transactions in real-time, and that’s part of the value proposition of the platform,” he said.

The startup will expand beyond its current four country operations in Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda within the next 12 months. Chipper Cash also plans to tap the global remittance market for Sub-Saharan Africa, a large pool of roughly $38 billion, in the near future.

Remittances won’t be the firms’ top focus, however. Serunjogi believes there’s more volume to be found within Africa. “Demographics, migration, and regional economic-integration within the continent means there’ll be an infinitely growing amount of cross-border commercial activity within Africa,” he said. “When it comes to payments, the pie is growing and…the percentage of that pie that is digital payments will also grow.”

The journey for Chipper Cash’s founders from Africa to founding a startup and pitching to Joe Montana passes through Iowa. Serunjogi and Moujaled met when doing their undergraduate degrees at Grinnell College.  Stints at Silicon Valley companies followed: Facebook for Serunjogi and Flickr, Yahoo!, and Imgur for Moujaled.

Chipper Cash was accepted in 500 Startups’ Batch 24 in 2018 and their demo day for the accelerator program gained the attention of Liquid 2 Ventures.

The VC fund’s Rocio Wu invited them to pitch to Joe Montana and the team in March 2019.

“Africa is extremely fragmented with different languages, cultures and currencies, Chipper Cash is uniquely positioned to tackle cross-border mobile payments with interoperability,” Wu told TechCrunch on the investment.

Wu will join Chipper Cash as a board observer. The startup is the second Africa investment for the fund. Liquid 2 Ventures is also an investor in logistics startup Lori Systems, the 2017 Startup Battlefield Africa winner.

Startups building financial technologies for Africa’s 1.2 billion population are gaining greater attention of investors. As a sector, fintech (or financial inclusion) attracted 50 percent of the estimated $1.1 billion funding to African startups in 2018, according to Partech.

By a number of estimates, the continent’s 1.2 billion people represent the largest share of the world’s unbanked and underbanked population. An improving smartphone and mobile-connectivity profile for Africa (see GSMA) turns this scenario into an opportunity for mobile based financial products.

As more startups enter African fintech, Chipper Cash believes it can compete on its cross-currency and no-fee offerings and the growing size of the market. “It’s so large that it is unlikely to be a zero-sum game in terms of who wins. There will be multiple successful players,” said Serunjogi

Chipper Cash also joins a list of African founded, Africa focused fintech firms that have chosen to set up HQs in San Francisco with offices and operations on the continent. Payments gateway company Flutterwave and lending venture Mines.io (both with Nigerian founders) maintain SF headquarters with operations in Lagos. Serunjogi touts the benefits of this two continent organizational structure for access to both VC and developer markets in the U.S. and Africa.

As for Chipper Cash’s continuing relationship with investor Joe Montana, “Having access to a someone with the leadership qualities of Joe to provide advice and guidance…that’s something that’s priceless,” said Serunjogi.

Fli Charge Technology acquired by Birch Lake to accelerate a wireless future

Fli Charge Technology is today announcing it was acquired by an affiliate of Birch Lake Associates. As part of the purchase, industry veteran Khalid Zitouni is taking offer the chief executive position as the company looks to expand its reach for Fli Charge’s clever power delivery technology.

TechCrunch first spied Fli Charge at CES 2018 when the company demonstrated its tech with Craftsman power tools. Once a Fli Charge device is placed on the strip, charging starts immediately at the same rate as if it was plugged into an outlet. Four small conductive nubs make contact with the pad and serve up power as needed. The system is capable of simultaneously charging batteries of different voltages. One strip can charge a smartphone, power tool, and laptop at the same time even though each device has different power requirements.

Fli Charge tech could bring the convenience wireless charging to new industries. That’s where Birch Lake comes in.

“The FLI Charge technology is a clear outlier in the power and charging space,” said FLI Charge’s incoming Chief Executive Officer, Khalid Zitouni. “While it resembles wireless charging solutions on the market today, it is not constrained by the limitations that have held back those technologies from garnering significant market adoption or expanding into new product categories. We are excited to rapidly expand our consumer product offerings and continue to develop a robust licensing platform for all portable products including power tools, IOT devices, drones, audio products and small appliances, among others.”

Zitouni is taking over for former Fli Charge CEO, Cliff Weinstein, who is staying on as company consultant. In 2017 Weinstein led a management buyout to take Fli Charge private and after the debut of an early version of the product on Indiegogo in 2016.

When I spoke to Weinstein at CES 2018 he was optimistic about a future where Fli Charge’s technology was built into desks and tool boxes, allowing office workers and construction workers alike to live a cord-free life. Now, with Birch Lake taking the company forward, that future could be nearer than ever. Fli Charge’s implementation of wireless power delivery is impressive and adopted by the market, could lead to a truly wireless future.

Fli Charge demonstration at CES 2018


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Once a major name in smartphones, LG Mobile is now irrelevant — and still losing money

LG was once a stalwart of the smartphone industry — remember its collaboration with Facebook back in the day? — but today the company is swiftly descending into irrelevance.

The latest proof is LG’s Q1 financials, released this week, which show that its mobile division grossed just KRW 1.51 trillion ($1.34 billion) in sales for the quarter. That’s down 30 percent year-on-year and the lowest income for LG Mobile for at least the last eight years. We searched back eight years to Q1 2011 — before that LG was hit and miss with releasing specific financial figures for its divisions.

To give an indication of its decline, LG shipped over 15 million phones in Q4 2015 when its revenue was 3.78 trillion RKW, or $3.26 billion. That 2.5 times higher than this recent Q1 2019 period.

Regular readers will be aware that LG mobile is a loss-making division. That’s the reason its activities — and consequently sales — have scaled down in recent years. But the losses are still coming.

LG put Brian Kwon, who leads its lucrative Home Entertainment business, in charge of its mobile division last November and his task remains ongoing, it appears.

LG Mobile recorded a loss of 203.5 billion KRW ($181.05 million) for Q1 which it described as “narrowed.”

It is true that LG Mobile’s Q1 loss is lower than the 322.3 billion KRW ($289.8 million) loss it carded in the previous quarter, but it is wider than one year previous. Indeed, the mobile division lost 136.1 billion KRW ($126.85 million) in Q1 2018.

LG said Mr Kwon is presiding over “a revised smartphone launch strategy” which is why the numbers are changing so drastically. Going forward, it said that the launch of its G7 ThinQ flagship phone and a new upgrade center — first announced last year — are in the immediate pipeline, but it is hard to see how any of this will reverse the downward trend.

LG Mobile is increasingly problematic because the parent company is seeing success in other areas, but that’s being countered by a poor performing smartphone business. Last quarter, mobile dragged LG to its first quarterly loss in two years, for example.

Just looking at the Q1 numbers, LG’s overall profit was 900.6 billion KRW ($801.25 million) thanks to its home appliance business ($647.3 million profit) and that home entertainment business, which had a profit of $308.27 million. Its automotive business — which is, among other things, focused on EVs — did bite into the profits, but that is at least a business that is going places.