2017 is going to be a big year for Samsung. Apple’s supposedly-revolutionary iPhone 8 is coming, smartphone sales are slowing down, and oh yeah, there was that Note 7 thing last year. So the last thing Samsung needs while it’s trying to reclaim its place as the best Android manufacturer is a resurgent LG, sliding in there with a competitive new flagship.
So, Samsung’s designers had better hope LG’s people don’t see this concept.
This LG G6 concept doesn’t ooze innovation in the same way as that iPhone 8 design we saw yesterday. It’s not about a radically new way of thinking about smartphones, but rather, the refinement of everything designers have been working on for years.
It starts with a virtually bezel-free display, which seems to be all the rage this year. Rather than trying to integrate the entire front of the phone into the display, this design is a little more realistic, making the screen edge-to-edge but keeping significant bezel at the top and bottom. The result is a sleek-looking phone that should be able to pack a lot of screen into the real estate, hopefully enough to compete with Samsung.
There’s also a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor that could be a good move, depending on what Apple and Samsung choose to do. The most ambitious rumors suggest that the Galaxy S8 and iPhone 8 will use an optical fingerprint sensor hidden under the screen, designed by Synaptics. Even if that works, it will struggle to be as fast as the fingerprint sensors currently found in Android phones, or the iPhone 7. Customers don’t tend to like components that are slower than last year, so LG might be able to pick up some points there.
The rest of the specs are the typical ambitious sky-high thinking that plagues all concept videos (removable battery and waterproof don’t go together, and I’m not sure what you want to store on that 2TB SD card!), but the overall design concept is solid: simple perfection of today’s smartphones, while Apple and Samsung go too far along the path towards innovation. If LG can release a device that’s bug-free, looks like this, and doesn’t explode, 2017 could be a real good year to shop for a smartphone.