LG is looking to play it safe with its next flagship phone.
The company’s upcoming G6 phone, which will be unveiled next month at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, will have a sealed battery like the iPhone and Galaxy S phones, according to a person familiar with the company’s plans. LG opted to skip the removable battery to make the phone water resistant. This follows confirmation that it will also lose the modular gimmick of the.
The decision to ditch the removable battery — a longstanding feature on its flagship phones and one of the elements that made its devices unique — underscores how every phone maker is slowly moving to the same place in terms of design. Last year, LG went out on a limb with a design that let you swap out the bottom piece of the G5, an innovative move that turned out to be a commercial failure. This year, it’s falling in line with the look and feel of other high-end phones.
There’s a lot at stake for LG, which has fallen out of the top five players, with about 3.9 percent of the world’s market share over the first nine months of 2016, according to IDC. The company on Wednesday posted an operating loss of 258 billion Korean won, or roughly $220 million, partly due to weak sales of the G5 and marketing expenses for itsphone.
The company is squeezed on both ends. At the top of the market, LG can’t make much of a dent against Apple or Samsung. Among budget phones, Chinese companies tend to dominate.
“LG has to be known for something in the Android market,” said IDC analyst Ramon Llamas. “What is that something? That’s an open question.”
Not helping is LG’s decision to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 processor for the G6. The company chose the older chip over the 835 because it didn’t want to hold up the launch of the device, the person familiar with the plans said.
LG would have had to delay the launch of the G6 to April in order to use the Snapdragon 835. Samsung is widely believed to be the first company to use the 835, which is expected to go into the upcoming Galaxy S8. The decision does allow LG to launch its phone ahead of Samsung, which isn’t expected to have a large presence at MWC.
As previously reported, the G6 will feature a thin frame around the body and rounded edges on the glass display. (The image above was obtained by CNET.) The G6 follows the Xiaomi Mi Mix, which also introduced a similar looking phone that’s virtually all glass on the front.
This will likely be a trend in phones this year. Apple is widely believed to be introducing a new iPhone with rounded edges on its glass display and smaller frame. Samsung will also trim the area on the top and bottom of its phone while keeping the side edge feature that’s become a marquee part of its Galaxy lineup.