After showing a teaser video earlier this week, LG confirmed on Sunday that its upcoming smartphone with a swiveling second screen will be called the LG Wing. And while I can appreciate that they’re trying to change up the form factor in an increasingly crowded market of flipping and folding dual-screen smartphones, I’m afraid that all I see is a cross (blessed be the handset).
Tuesday’s video showed that the device has some kind of sliding mechanism that can rotate one of its two screens out so that the whole thing becomes a T shape. Or, if you were born and raised in the Bible Belt like me, a crucifix befitting android Jesus.
The LG Wing will be the company’s first device launched under its Explorer Project banner, a series of “devices that deliver distinctive and yet unexplored usability experiences” that it claims will forge “uncharted territory in the industry.” The exact lineup’s largely been under wraps so far, but given that LG’s billing it as a mobile initiative, it’s safe to assume the LG Wing won’t be the last.
“LG’s boldest, newest smartphone will deliver a new and different form factor and mobile experience that would be impossible to create with conventional smartphones,” the company wrote in a Sunday press statement.
Android Authority shared a few exclusive first looks last month showing off how the LG Wing’s two screens can work in tandem. One demonstrates how you can use a full-screen navigation app and control your music or field inbound calls simultaneously while driving. The other shows off how the LG Wing’s distinct shape can create a wholly unique mobile gaming experience.
Nothing’s been confirmed in terms of specs, but rumor has it that the LG Wing will support 5G, run on a Snapdragon 765 or 765g processor, include a triple-rear camera array, and have 6.8-inch and 4-inch displays. XDA Developers reported last month that it’ll cost $1,000 at launch this fall, though an earlier leak had its price pegged as high as $1,600.
I’m leaning more toward the former given what we saw with Motorola’s Razr reboot. The $1,500 mark and above is just too rich for your average phone user’s blood (In this pandemic-ravaged economy? No, thank you). Especially since companies are still working on smoothing out the bumps with this new form factor—literally in some cases.
Though I’m digging the funky T-shape, I’m skeptical about whether the LG Wing will catch on. Sure, it’s never been done before, but sometimes there’s a good reason for that, even in an industry like tech where folks are constantly churning out innovation. Whenever companies do zany shit like this, it always makes me think back to that great Jurassic Park quote: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
Update: 9/7/2020, 6:17 p.m. ET: Well lookie here. A purported hands-on with the LG Wing leaked Monday, giving us our first good look at how this whole swivel weirdness actually works.
It appears the primary display is the one that rotates 90 degrees, rather than the secondary display as many had speculated, and locks itself horizontally at the top to make the T shape. All in all, the transition seems surprisingly smooth, and definitely unlike any other dual-screen smartphone we’ve seen before.
But that top screen has me worried. It’s ridiculously thin—it has to be to keep the handset from bulking up to comical proportions—and I can’t imagine it’ll be able to stand much abuse. Which runs completely counter to this idea that you’re supposed to be swiveling it around willy-nilly on the regular. The whole thing sounds like an accident waiting to happen if you ask me.
While we only get a quick glimpse in the video, the bottom of the LG Wing appears to house the speaker and some kind of Type-C port, and the back looks like it has a glossy finish.
Whatever misgivings I may have about its bizarre cross shape, the LG Wing looks like it’s leaning hard into its futuristic-y, high-tech aesthetic, and I can respect that. Let’s not forget we’re in 2020 after all, a time where chaos and anarchy reign supreme. It’s only fitting that we take this year to make smartphones weird again.