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LG Previews a Few Software Updates Ahead of the Announcement of the V30 Smartphone

They’re showing off how they’ll replace the V series’ second screen, plus a few other additions that suggest the days of fingerprint scanning are numbered.

LG won’t be revealing their new V30 smartphone until later this month, but they’ve slowly been sharing details about what we can expect when the big day comes. While LG’s G series is their flagship line, the V series is a bit more like the Galaxy Note — it takes all the premium features of the flagship, then adds a bit more (LG tends to focus on high-end video and audio features). Today, LG shared a bit of information about the updates coming to their UX Android overlay, and in doing so gave us an idea of how close this phone will hew to this year’s G6.

From the sounds of it, it’ll be a lot more similar than in year’s past. Talking about the V30, LG mentioned in today’s press release that their overlay is being optimized for their new 18:9 aspect ratio displays. We saw that display on the G6, and now we’re almost certain to see it on the V30. That means at least one big change is coming to the V line — that tiny second screen that functioned as a quick launcher for apps and settings is out. It will be replaced by a floating bar on the display that can be swiped in or out when needed.

Here’s another exciting tidbit — LG has confirmed that they will use an OLED display on the V30. These kinds of displays offer better color contrast, and combined with a high resolution display make for the best mobile VR experiences you can get your eyes on right now. We’d expect LG to play this up, along with possible Google Daydream compatibility, when they officially announce the phone.

Camera quality has always been a big deal for the V line, and while we’re expecting hardware improvements this year, it’s clear LG also wants to make sure users are able to fully take advantage of the phone’s cameras. A feature called Graphy is hidden inside the camera app’s manual mode — using this tool, you can select a number of existing pictures to copy the camera settings that made those shots possible. If you use it often enough and pay attention to how the settings change, it sounds like it could be a great tool for beginners to learn more advanced photography concepts.

Last up, we’ve got a couple new features that make us wonder if the fingerprint scanner is headed for the exit. LG is adding both facial recognition and voice recognition unlocks to the new phone, both of which can wake up the phone from sleep. Voice recognition is said to rely on spoken passwords, and the phone will be able to detect that it’s your voice specifically that’s being used. We’d expect this won’t work perfectly at first, but once the phone has enough samples of the sound of your voice, it should end up working smoothly.

More biometric unlocking options should make the fingerprint scanner dispensable. After all, it’s become a design constraint — most users seem to prefer it on the front of the phone instead of the back, but putting it on the front means reserving space for a huge bezel that makes the phone bigger than it needs to be. As facial recognition in particular improves, we’d expect the fingerprint scanner to either be axed completely or shrunk down to the size of the power button, something we’ve seen some phones like the Nextbit Robin already do.

The LG V30 will still have an always-on display, which can now show quick settings options, music controls, and a photo. The photo will only be shown on a small part of the screen so as to not drain too much of the battery unnecessarily.

LG also mentioned that the new phone will have more haptic feedback options, although they didn’t get too deep into specifics on how that would be used. We’ll find out what they have planned when LG reveals the LG V30 at the end of the month. Until then, here’s one particularly juicy tidbit — they’ll have an f/1.6 lens on one of the rear cameras, which is the widest aperture lens we’ve seen on a smartphone yet. Hopefully that will translate into even better low-light performance!

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