LG reduces 2011 smartphone unit sales forecast by 22%, include dumb phones and total units drop 27%

South Korean handset maker LG is about to enter a world of pain. Yesterday they announced that they’re lowering their estimates for the number of devices they plan on selling during calendar year 2011. When it comes to smartphones, the original goal was to ship over 30 million units, that number is now 24 million, a drop of 22%. The bad news doesn’t stop there. LG also sells feature phones, more accurately described as dumb phones since they can’t really do all that much besides talk and text. The combined sales estimate for feature phones and smartphones for 2011 was set at 150 million units, that is now just 114 million, that’s down 27%. “Our overall performance is gradually improving … but it’s difficult to give a precise prediction when our business will turn around due to a fast changing external market environment,” said Park Jong-seok, Head of LG’s Handset Division. Looks like they’re in the same boat as Nokia, who not only slashed their Q2 2011 forecast, but also said that they’re not going to give any guidance for the rest of 2011.

Now the question is what exactly went wrong? Early reviews of the LG Optimus 2X, the world’s first dualcore smartphone, really put it best when they described the ridiculously powerful handset as riddled with software bugs. LG would rather be first to market with a spec sheet, rather than waiting until they can release something that will earn attention and respect from the wireless industry. Let’s also not forget the competition, Samsung releases devices at a furious rate, often at prices that LG can’t match. Then there’s China, who eats away sales from the low end thanks to the ease of making Android devices.

If we had to give LG any specific advice, it would be to hire some new product designers, fire the guys who have been tweaking Android, and invest in new materials. No one likes plastic.

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