Why it matters: LG’s mobile division has been struggling for years, but it’s an area where the company continues to come up with innovate products. Based on two new patents, the Korean giant could be working on a couple more unusual designs.
The patents, which were reported by LetsGoDigital, show a phone with no physical buttons anywhere on the device. It’s a design we’ve seen before. Earlier this year, Chinese firm Meizu launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for its Zero smartphone, which lacked both buttons and exterior ports, but the company’s CEO later revealed the whole thing was a marketing stunt. There’s also Vivo’s Apex 2019 concept, another button- and-port-free handset.
Before its recent release, one of the many rumors regarding the Galaxy Note 10 was that it too would lack buttons, but such an extreme design choice was always taken with a heavy dose of salt.
As for the rest of LG’s patent, the phone has tiny bezels, with only a small teardrop-style notch jutting into the screen. The rear of the device is also interesting as it packs four camera lenses. There’s a lack of a fingerprint reader, suggesting this will be another handset to use an in-display scanner.
The second patent shows a phone with an almost identical front layout, though this one does have buttons. It could be that this device is aimed at photographers, given its large rear camera and mysterious surrounding ring. There’s also what appears to be a dedicated shutter button on the right-hand side.
Despite launching some compelling phones, LG’s mobile division saw its lowest level of revenue in eight years during the first quarter of 2019. Like all patents, there’s no guarantee these will ever become real products, but the company will likely hope their innovative designs could help turn its fortunes around.