Updated: September 2, 2020 3:51:38 pm
LG has been in the news for an unreleased smartphone that resembles Tony Stark’s phone from the first Iron Man movie released in 2008. That phone used by Iron Man’s alter ego was an LG VX9400. The new LG smartphone, codename “Wing”, too has a swiveling design. But the “T” shaped LG Wing offers a secondary screen that gives users new ways to multitask on a smartphone.
Although the launch of the Wing has not been confirmed, its existence shows how LG is trying to break the myth that phones have become boring. But the arrival of LG Wing sends another message: that the South Korean company isn’t done experimenting with phone designs. The Wing may or may not work commercially, but it will definitely help LG build the conversation around the brand that has been struggling to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung in the smartphone market.
As we wait for LG to launch the dual-screen phone codenamed “Wing” to the market, we take a look back at the South Korean major’s most crazy and innovate phones
LG VX9400 (2007)
At a time when mobile TV was gaining traction in the US, LG decided to launch the VX9400. Announced at CES 2007, the 9400 was the first phone from LG to support Verizon’s V Cast Mobile TV broadcasting service. At first glance, the 9400 resembled a candy bar phone – but it transformed into a new device when you rotate the screen into a horizontal position for convenient TV watching.
The 9400 also featured a 1.3MP camera, Bluetooth connectivity, and microSD card. You can get a glimpse of the LG VX9400 in the very first Iron Man movie starring Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow. The fact that the Wing is reminiscent of the VX-9400 shows that the idea of a rotating screen is still fresh and unexplored.
LG Chocolate BL40 (2009)
LG’s zest to innovate phone designs continued with the BL40 Chocolate — yes, it resembled a chocolate bar. The idea of an ultra-widescreen phone didn’t exist when the BL40 was introduced in the market. Its 4-inch size and 21:9 aspect ratio (as opposed to the more common 16:9) made the phone distinctive and unique.
The LG Chocolate was sexy as hell with a glossy black finish all around. Not everyone liked the design, though. Some thought it looked like a remote control without buttons. But everyone found the design intriguing and little out of the box. Even today the BL40 Chocolate is in high demand among collectors as it marked LG’s high point in phone designs.
LG DoublePlay (2011)
Two years after the launch of the BL40 Chocolate came the DoublePlay, a 4G phone for T-Mobile. It was an ambitious phone, featuring a crazy dual-screen design. The 3.5-inch touchscreen had a slide-out full QWERTY keyboard that was divided into two halves, with the second 2-inch screen in-between. The idea of a dual-screen DoublePlay was to enhanced productivity. The additional secondary screen seemed perfect for social networking.
The DoublePlay featured a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and ran Android 2.3 Gingerbread. But it lacked a front-facing camera, a little weird for a phone of its caliber. What also worked against the DoublePlay was its not-so-uncomfortable split keyboard design. Aimed at the enterprise market, DoublePlay didn’t find acceptance from BlackBerry fanboys.
LG G-Flex (2013)
This has to be the most underrated LG smartphone. Although not perfect, the G Flex was a forward-looking phone. One could bend it, flex it the way you wanted – that was the G Flex. It was a vertically curved smartphone designed to reduce the distance between one’s mouth and the microphone, just like an old-school landline phone.
Another highlight of the phone was its “Self Healing” rear that quickly recovered from scratches. The G Flex also packed the world’s first curved battery technology developed by LG Chem. Interestingly, the G Flex used flexible OLED screen technology that allowed the phone to be curved from top to bottom. The G Flex had many firsts yet LG failed to sell the high-end phone despite its curved, bendy body.
LG V10 (2015)
In 2015, LG again tried to experiment with a new phone design with the V10. The V10 had two screens and two front cameras, which the company hoped would help the brand stand out against Apple and Samsung. The V10 had no curves or flexible screens. It looked like a regular smartphone with a large 5.7-inch screen but had a second display above the main display. The extra display was meant to improve productivity. One could put recently used apps, control the music, quick contacts, and glance notifications.
Technically, the V10 was a dual-screen phone but the extra screen blended such a way that it never looked separate from the phone. The whole implementation of dual screens and two front cameras did work in favour of the V10. Some called the secondary screen “gimmicky” but overall the phone was well received.
LG G5 (2016)
LG grabbed a lot of headlines when it announced the G5 flagship at MWC 2016. On paper, the phone had everything one would expect in a great flagship. But what backfired for LG G6 was its design that was touted to be revolutionary. The G5 had a modular design and you could invest in LG’s swappable modules to keep improving the phone.
Those modules were made in a number of options; a ‘pro’-style camera grip, LG Hi-Fi Plus added a 32-bit DAC and amplifier to improve audio quality and LG Cam Plus that boosts the battery from 2,800mAh to 4,000mAh. What’s really frustrating was that consumers had a hard time figuring out how these swappable modules work in the first place. The buzz around the phone died a few days after the release of the phone. LG later admitted that the G5 “failed to generate sales.”
LG G8X ThinQ (2019)
It’s hard to describe the G8X ThinQ smartphone. On one hand, it pushes the envelope with a dual-screen accessory and on the other hand, it gives the impression as if the phone belongs to the past. What primarily sets the G8X apart from other phones is its dual-screen case that transforms the phone into an interesting device.
It’s actually useful to use both screens at the same time, allowing you to open two apps at the same time. Even though the idea is half baked, dual-screen phones have a lot of potential.
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