9 forgotten innovations from LG

Based on materials Android Authority

It’s been a year since LG decided to exit the smartphone market, ending more than a decade of Android devices. However, the company has seen several successful innovations during this period, including an ultra-wide-angle camera, manual video mode, and the first phone with a capacitive touch screen.

But the South Korean company also owns some innovations that never became popular. Let’s take a look at some of these certainly interesting, but also popular features that LG has implemented in its smartphones.

Table of Contents

Modular phone

The LG G5, released in 2016, showed that the company had moved away from its traditional formula and focused entirely on the development of a modular smartphone. The device had a massive “chin”, which was a removable battery. But the matter was not limited to the possibility of replacing the battery. Users could insert various modules into this connector, such as a camera grip and a Hi-Fi DAC. Unfortunately, only a handful of modules were released for the device, as LG quickly abandoned the concept due to a sales failure.

Other companies, such as Motorola, have also offered modular smartphones, but they have all opted to use magnets rather than a gun clip-like mount for the modules. But in any case, the trend towards modularity did not last long, and today only niche Fairphones can be found with modular components.

Second screen

LG first tried a second screen on its V10 in 2015. The device had a tiny additional display for the “creeping line” above the main screen. This screen was separated from the main one and offered several convenient features (displaying application shortcuts, notifications, calendar entries, media controls, browser tabs and more), and in 2016 a similar V20 appeared.

By the time the LG G6 was released in 2017, it was clear that the secondary scrolling display above the main screen hadn’t caught on. As a result, the G6 came out with an 18:9 aspect ratio screen, which actually displayed the ticker. However, the second screen has found a place on the back of some models such as the Mi 11 Ultra, allowing users to take selfies using the main camera.

In 2019, the Korean company tried another second screen concept with the introduction of the LG V50 with a dual screen case. This flip case was equipped with another screen, giving users a Surface Duo-like experience rather than a single folding screen. It was a good concept, and the company also used it in the G8X and V60.

The latest development with the idea of ​​a second screen for LG was the ill-fated Wing at the end of 2020. The phone had a square additional swivel screen that popped out from behind the regular smartphone display. This was another new idea, allowing you to run an application on each screen (for example, chatting on a small screen and watching YouTube on a large one). But like LG’s other dual-screen concepts, the Wing never caught on in the mobile world.

Power and volume buttons on the back

Another notable innovation from LG was the decision to move the power and volume buttons to the back of some models. The company first offered this layout in the LG G2 back in 2013, with the power button nestled between the volume rocker parts.

It was a rather nifty idea that became the hallmark of the first G series handsets. LG continued to place the volume and power keys on the rear panel until the LG G5. In this 2016 device, the volume keys moved to the end, but the power button remained on the back panel, and a fingerprint scanner was added to it.

With the LG G7, the company went mainstream and placed the power button on the side. However, the power and volume buttons on the back have been a hallmark of LG smartphones for years.

Knock code

Remember the days when biometric authentication was not yet available on the vast majority of smartphones? At the time, manufacturers relied on pattern unlock, PIN codes, and other solutions to keep your phone’s content secure. But LG had a rather exotic alternative in the form of knock code.

This feature allowed you to unlock your phone by tapping certain areas on the screen in sequence. It was required to click in a certain order on the cells of a 2 × 2 grid. For example, the code could look like this: two clicks on the top right block, click on the bottom right block, and two clicks on the bottom left block. Unlike other security features, this code worked even when the screen was off.

Knock code from LG quickly fell into oblivion after the advent of fingerprint scanners, but, nevertheless, it was a great idea for those times when biometric authentication was not yet widespread and reliable.

Vertically curved screens

Curved screens are a common sight in high-end smartphones – used by Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi. However, all these models have screens that are curved on the sides. But LG had a completely different idea.

The first G Flex had an innovative plastic OLED screen that curved slightly vertically. Due to this, the model received a unique look, and then LG used similar curved screens in the G Flex 2 and G4. The decision made primarily aesthetic sense, although the screens of the G Flex and G Flex 2 were also slightly bent (like the whole body) for added strength.

However, this technology was not destined to live a long life. After the G4, LG abandoned the vertically curved screen in favor of a traditional solution. However, the combination of the LG G4’s curved display and leather-curved back panel made it a beautiful device.

Quad DAC

LG introduced a quad-channel DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) in the audio part of the 2016 LG V20, offering superior sound quality compared to DACs used in other smartphones. At least that’s what it sounded like in theory. This made it possible to plug headphones with a higher impedance into the 3.5 mm port of the smartphone and get high quality sound.

The company has since kept the quad DAC in its flagships, with the LG V60 being the last to feature this feature. Unfortunately, the LG Wing and LG Velvet no longer had it. And other companies did not have such DACs at all, they used a more traditional or chipset-integrated DAC. However, a high-quality DAC is not a necessity these days, as most flagships have unfortunately ditched the 3.5mm port.

Hand ID

By 2019, fingerprint authentication, face unlock, and, to a lesser extent, iris recognition were firmly established in the smartphone industry. However, LG has decided to implement a different type of biometric authentication in the LG G8.

The company introduced Hand ID technology using a 3D ToF camera and an IR sensor on the front. This technology was supposed to recognize the blood vessels in your palm to confirm your identity and unlock your phone. Sounds pretty crazy, right?

Unfortunately, the unlocking process was inconvenient and slow, requiring you to gradually put your hand on the phone. Worst of all, this feature only worked 20% of the time. In other words, there was no reason to use it instead of fingerprint unlock or 3D face unlock, which were both faster and more accurate.

LG has also used a 3D ToF camera for its Air Motion feature, following in the footsteps of the Galaxy S4 and allowing you to interact with your phone without actually touching it. But this technology was just as finicky as Hand ID, requiring users to first hold their hand at a distance of 10 cm and then draw Dr. Zoidberg’s claw at a distance of 15 cm.

Boombox speaker in smartphone

One of LG’s most interesting innovations is the Boombox speaker, which appeared in the LG G7 ThinQ. The smartphone had only one lower speaker, but the interior of the case served as a resonant chamber to increase the volume when the device was placed on a hollow container or a hard surface.

It was a cool idea and worked surprisingly well in practice, providing a significant boost in volume. However, we were still confident that the stereo speakers gave better sound quality. However, why shouldn’t this feature reappear in low-end phones that are unlikely to have stereo speakers?

Self-healing back panel

A smartphone that can fix itself sounds like science fiction, but LG made this idea a reality not once, but twice, with the release of the LG G Flex and LG G Flex 2 in the early-to-mid 2010s. LG Flex phones not only had flexible screens and cases that could be bent slightly, but also self-healing back panels.

G Flex’s self-healing technology assumed that shallow scratches would slowly disappear over several minutes. This technology has been improved in the G Flex 2, taking less than 30 seconds to heal minor scratches. It didn’t include deep scratches and more extensive damage, but it certainly was an innovative feature that made LG’s phone more resistant to wear and tear.

Unfortunately, self-healing panels have not caught on in the industry. Instead, most companies have used plastic back panels and Gorilla Glass.

It’s a pity that the world of smartphones has lost LG, as it has never been afraid to try something new. Of course, some of these innovations may have been pointless chips for the sake of chips, but as a result, the development of the mobile industry has certainly become more interesting. Missing LG?


Source: Mobile-review.com — Все о мобильной технике и технологиях by mobile-review.com.

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