While it’s not surprising that LG is leaving the smartphone market, it’s a bit sad for those of us who have used LG devices over the years and appreciated their contributions to the smartphone industry. LG has pioneered many innovations, and while it hasn’t received the respect it deserves, many of those innovations set the standard for other manufacturers, and its impact on the smartphone sector will continue after it breaks with the rest of the manufacturers competes.
LG has been brave with its hardware innovations and at times we wondered why some decisions were being made. In an era of typical plastic and glass sheets, however, it was nice to try unique form factors and other cool technologies on LG phones.
I started using LG smartphones with the Google Nexus 4 in 2012 and started testing every G and V series with the LG G3 in 2014. One of my all time favorites was the LG G4 with that beautiful brown leather back panel. Let’s not take a step back in time, let’s take a look at the innovations that LG has brought to the smartphone world.
Capacitive touchscreen display
LG Prada – 2006
By default, when people think of capacitive touchscreen displays on phones, Apple is the first to introduce this technology on the original iPhone. However, LG beat Apple with the LG Prada launched in 2006.
The LG Prada had a capacitive 3-inch display with a resolution of 400 x 240 pixels. It had a pretty decent camera, but it was priced at $ 849 in the US so it wasn’t that popular.
Flexible OLED display
LG G Flex – 2014
LG released the G Flex with a curved, flexible OLED display. It was curved along its length so it fits comfortably on your face when you hold it up for phone calls. It was a fairly large phablet phone with a 6-inch display that was very large for that period.
Competitors at the time included the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which had a smaller form factor and a great S Pen experience. Today we see foldable phones with flexible displays and we can thank LG for leading the way.
LG G5 – 2016
The idea of a modular smartphone where you simply peel off various accessories to improve functionality initially sounded good when LG launched the LG G5. The modules were never displayed, however, so you were limited to just a removable battery, digital-to-analog converter, and a camera grip. The LG Friends never came to the party and the G5 didn’t do well in the market.
Ultra wide camera
LG G5 – 2016
While the modularity of the LG G5 was not taken into account, the LG G5 offered an ultra-wide rear camera on the back. Ultra-wide cameras are now standard on middle and upper tier smartphones with more than one rear view camera. LG set that bar, and this innovation may have lasted longest after LG left the smartphone sector.
LG also had a front-facing ultra-wide camera on the LG V10, which was one of the first times we saw two cameras on the front of a smartphone.
LG V20 – 2016
LG’s V-Series focused on content creators and audiophiles, and in 2016 launched the LG V20 with built-in Quad-DAC for high quality audio playback. It may not have been appreciated by everyone, but audiophiles loved the sound of an LG V20.
LG made the standard 3.5mm headphone jack available almost to the end, which was a year or two longer than most other manufacturers.
Dual screen Android smartphone
LG G8X – 2019
While others looked at foldable phones, LG offered a simple solution with its LG Dual Screen Cover that offered a large double display at a much cheaper price. It first launched the LG G8X with that option and then we saw the V50 and V60. The LG Velvet also supported dual-screen cover. The nice thing about this solution was that you can use the dual display when you need it, or you can take the phone out and use it as a standard phone with ease.
The dual display was well supported and the LG V60 provided the ultimate experience with full pen use support. I will be using the LG V60 for years to come because it really is one of the best smartphones out there today.
Swiveling double display
LG Wing – 2020
While the LG Wing was fun to experience with its unique pivoting T-display, I struggled to find any practical use for this design other than for capturing video with the gimbal simulation. The lower small display wasn’t very useful, so the phone had limited appeal.
This was a clear example of LG launching a technology demonstration as a commercial phone, but in a year with many other struggles for society, this just wasn’t a form factor we wanted to accept.