LG's Take on a Foldable Phone is Nothing Like the Huawei Mate X or Samsung Fold

With the foldable phone buzz in full effect during Mobile World Congress 2019, LG turned heads with a dual screen option for its new 5G-enabled smartphone, the V50 ThinQ.

Unlike the Huawei Mate X and Samsung Galaxy Fold, the V50 is not technically a foldable device. Instead, it comes with a case that draws power from the handset and gives users more real estate for multitasking and content to be viewed simultaneously. LG says it is a way to harness the power of the 5th generation of wireless technology, expected to be first available by 2020.

"Essentially this is our idea of bringing about 5G in a real way, giving people the opportunity to enjoy 5G content not just on one screen but on multiple displays," a representative for the company told Newsweek on Tuesday during a live demonstration of the smartphone.

The case has a 6.2 inch OLED display and setup is simple: Tap a small icon on the LG V50 and the second screen powers on. For example, the screen on the smartphone could be used for emails and the second for checking the weather or browsing YouTube. Due to LG's use of gaming to show off the case, commenters on social media joked that it resembled a Nintendo DS.

LG dual screen
“Essentially this is our idea of bringing about 5G in a real way, giving people the opportunity to enjoy 5G content not just on one screen but on multiple displays,” an LG rep told Newsweek at MWC 2019. Newsweek

While it's easy to see the use cases for the add-on, the product itself felt a little clunky when tested this week. It was quite bulky, covered in fingerprint marks and lacked the premium look of other foldables on display at the event in Barcelona, Spain.

It may take a few iterations before the full potential is reached. Currently, the case lacks a smooth hinge, and the display version at the conference felt a tad loose. The space between the phone and the second screen is also significant, filled by large black bezels. The cost of the V50 also remains a mystery, with the representative saying there was no price point at the moment.

The V50 ThinQ itself is much more promising. Making progress from the V40, it is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 CPU and 6GB RAM, alongside the Snapdragon X50 5G Modem, and an improved cooling system under the hood.

It has a 3-camera setup, offering a 16 megapixel super wide, a 12 megapixel standard and a 12 megapixel telephoto. LG said the device's battery is 20 percent larger than its predecessor.

Kwon Bong-seok, LG's head of mobile, said during a press conference in Seoul this month that the V50 ThinQ is a fresh chance to claw back some market share. "We will try to release a higher quality 5G smartphone to lead the market," he said, The Korea Times reported.

Kwon went on to say that despite LG making advancements in foldable technology in recent years it was not the right time to bring it to consumers. Instead, he said his firm would continue to monitor user reactions to the foldable devices being teased by rival tech companies.

He said: "We have reviewed releasing the foldable smartphone when launching 5G smartphone but decided not to produce it. LG's main issue in smartphone business is to regain its market position. It is too early for LG to launch a foldable smartphone. In terms of technology, we are fully ready to respond depending on consumers' reactions [to foldables]."

While the V50's dual screen case is far from LG's foldable device end-game, it's a small step in that direction.

LG dual screen2
The case has a 6.2-inch OLED display and setup is simple: tap a small icon on the LG V50 and the second screen powers on. Newsweek
LG's Take on a Foldable Phone is Nothing Like the Huawei Mate X or Samsung Fold | Tech & Science
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