LG’s next flagship smartphone, the 2016 LG G5, will be its most premium handset to date, according to a person briefed on the company’s plans.
The all-metal handset will borrow elements from past G-series devices as well as LG’s most recent flagship, the V10, while also bringing several new features to the table, the source said (who asked not to be named because the information is not yet public).
Besides the metal enclosure, perhaps the most distinctive feature of the 5.3-inch G5 — slightly smaller than the 5.5-inch G4, but with the same 1440 x 2560 QHD resolution — is the alleged secondary “ticker” display, first seen on the larger, 5.7-inch V10. VentureBeat understands that this smaller, 160 x 1040-pixel screen will be one of the company’s headline features across its 2016 lineup, appearing on multiple devices.
Dual displays aren’t the only unique feature tipped for the Android Marshmallow-flavored G5. The device is said to be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 system-on-a-chip, along with the same 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage found in the G4. Whereas the V10 is equipped with two camera lenses in service of its front-facing selfie camera, the G5 is said to utilize a dual-lens configuration on the rear, giving the main 16-megapixel camera a 135-degree wide-angle capability, the source said.
In between the two lenses is a circle with a quartet of elements in a square configuration, according to the briefed individual, who was also shown images of the upcoming flagship. Two of those are LED flash bulbs, while another one is a laser for assisting with autofocus, first deployed on 2014’s LG G3. The fourth element is also found on G4: a so-called RGB sensor to further assist with autofocus and other scene-recognition functions.
The G5 selfie cam will maintain the same eight-megapixel resolution as the G4, the source said, although no aperture was mentioned (G4 has an f/2.0).
Battery and biometrics
Underneath the trio of camera components sits a fingerprint sensor similar to the one found on this year’s Nexus 5X, also from LG. While rumors have swirled regarding an iris scanner — as retina scanner rumors have around the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge — nothing of that nature was revealed to VentureBeat.
As far as battery capacity is concerned, LG, it seems, is taking a page out of Apple’s book. Just as the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are equipped with slightly smaller batteries than the prior model year, so too is the G5 alleged to shrink its removable pack down to 2800mAh, from the G4’s 3000mAh. Bear in mind, though, that the G5’s battery will supposedly power a smaller display and a more efficient processor.
Curiously, there was no mention of a microSD slot, although we would not assume that the omission correlates to its lack of inclusion — especially since LG made the G4’s slot a significant marketing differentiator with respect to the Galaxy S6’s conspicuous lack of expandable storage.
Finally, in what’s being described as a greater push into the high-margin accessories market, LG is said to have endowed the G5 with what’s being branded as the “Magic Slot.” While its physical incarnation isn’t very clear, it is said to enable some functional expansion by way of hardware modules. The examples we were given range from an array of specified cameras — action, 360 VR, “party” — to an audio amplifier to a physical keyboard.
It brings to mind the Springboard expansion slot in Palm-acquired Handspring’s Visor line of PDAs, one of whose modules enabled it to function as one of the very first smartphones.
Neither price nor release details were shared with VentureBeat, beyond the generic “first quarter 2016 launch.” For reference, the LG G4 was both unveiled and released this past April.