In a world where the iPhone, Galaxy and Pixel slug it out for smartphone supremacy, that doesn't leave a lot of oxygen for other high-end phones. And LG in particular has found itself scrambling for mind share, as it tries to find an audience for its flagship phones.
Take the G series, which has introduced a number of innovations over the years — a modular design in 2016, a wider aspect ratio in 2017, an AI-powered camera last year — only to see other phones adopt those features and steal some of LG's thunder.
LG may be ready to try again with the LG G8, which will debut at this month's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Rumors about the next LG phone are all over the map, though we've gotten our best view yet at what the phone might look like. Here's what we've heard so far about what LG could be planning for its next big smartphone release.
Latest News (Updated Feb. 17)
- LG has said that the G8 will feature an OLED screen that doubles as an audio amplifier.
- Leaker Evan Blass has posted an image of the 5G-enabled LG V50 ThinQ, which will reportedly be announced alongside the G8 at Mobile World Congress next week.
LG G8 release date: When will we see it?
LG sat out Mobile World Congress in 2018 after using the annual mobile industry trade event to launch both the G6 and G5 smartphones the previous two years. The LG G7 ThinQ eventually debuted later in the spring, part of LG's apparent strategy to makes its flagship phone updates more about introducing new features and less tied to set annual occurrences.
If LG's sticking to that strategy, the company must have something to introduce, as LG has announced a Feb. 24 event in Barcelona via a teaser video touting the touchless controls in an upcoming phone. (More on that below.) Mobile World Congress kicks off the next day in Barcelona. LG has subsequently confirmed that the G8 will make its debut at that event.
LG G8 price - What it might cost
We've gotten a potential glimpse at what the G8 could cost, and if you were hoping that LG would hold the line on prices, you could be disappointed.
The leaked pricing comes courtesy of a Reddit user in Canada, who claims that price for the upcoming phone now appears in a retail system at the store where he works. According to a screenshot the user included in his post, the phone will cost $1,199 Canadian. For context, the G7 ThinQ debuted at $999 to $1,049 Canadian, so this would be a price hike. The Reddit user expects the U.S. price for the G8 to come in at around $900.
If you want to hold out hope that the G8's price will be closer to the $750 starting price for the G7, the screenshot seemingly indicates the $1,199 Canadian price applies to a 128GB version of the phone. It's possible there could be a model with less storage and a lower price tag.
What will the LG G8 look like?
After early conflicting rumors about the G8, we've got a better sense of what the phone might look like, courtesy of serial leaker Evan Blass, who posted an image of the upcoming phone to Twitter. It shows off a notched display, with multiple cameras up front and two cameras on the back of phone.
That leaked image is fairly consistent with an earlier render from Twitter user OnLeaks and highlighted at the 91Mobiles site. That render shows a phone that looks an awful lot like the G7, right down to the notched display up front and the dual cameras on the back. According to 91Mobiles, you're looking at a 6.1-inch screen with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio.
That should put a pin in the more fanciful speculation about the G8, including a January report out of Korea that claimed the phone would be foldable. The report said LG's folding phone would use a hinge-based approach similar to the ZTE Axon M where the device will fold out into one with a larger screen, a description in line with LG patents about a foldable design that surfaced last year.
However, a conflicting CNET report cites a source familiar with LG's plans who claims that the company will instead release a smartphone that will let you add a second screen via an attachable case. According to that report, LG hasn't decided whether whether that phone will be the G8 or another device entirely. Blass's leak seems to suggest the latter option, if that phone is even close to being ready for prime time.
What new features should we expect from the LG G8?
LG has tipped us off to a couple features coming to the G8. One of those front cameras will be a time-of-flight sensor capable of performing 3D scans. That's raised the possibility that the LG G8 could introduce a FaceTime-style feature for unlocking your phone with a quick facial scan. An ETNews report had suggested a 3D camera was coming to LG's next flagship, though it had claimed the sensor would be on the back of the phone, reminiscent of the Honor View 20.
On the audio front, LG is following up the G7's Boombox speaker which used the inside of the phone as a resonance chamber. The G8's display will be an OLED panel — a change from the LCD screens used in previous G series phones — and the panel will vibrate to produce sound. This Crystal Sound OLED technology replicates a feature included in LG's TVs, the company says. We'd been tipped off to the possibility of the display incorporating audio features from both OnLeaks and Android Police.
With a sound-on-display feature included with the G8, LG can squeeze in more real estate by shrinking the bezels needed to house speakers. That's a goal for many phone makers these days.
LG's offered one other clue about possible G8 features in a teaser video for its Feb. 24 MWC event. That video strongly implies that you'll be able to control the G8 using touchless gestures like swipes and flicks.
LG G8 Specs: What will it offer?
Qualcomm has already announced its new Snapdragon 855 mobile processor, and as a leading Android flagship phone, the LG G8 would seem to be in line to run on that chipset. The timing of the phone's release could complicate that, though.
Typically, Samsung negotiates a window of exclusivity for Qualcomm's best mobile processor in the U.S., and it's expected to unveil the Galaxy S10 on Feb. 20 — four days before LG's MWC event would take place. If Samsung has the same exclusive window on the Snapdragon 855 as it's had for past flagships, that would mean LG would either have to delay the release of the G8 or opt for another processor. With 2017's LG G6, the company went the latter route, opting for a Snapdragon 821 instead of the newer Snapdragon 835.
What about 5G?
Here's one area where the rumor mill is pretty united — the LG G8 is not expected to offer support for faster 5G wireless networks. But that's not to say that LG won't have a 5G phone to show off at Mobile World Congress this month.
We already know that LG has committed to releasing a 5G phone in the U.S. with Sprint. And in January, LG definitely committed to showing off a 5G phone at Mobile World Congress. The device, which could be a different phone from the G8, would feature a Snapdragon 855 processor, a 4,000-mAh battery and a Vapor Chamber cooling system, according to LG. One possibility: LG shows off this 5G device at MWC alongside other phones including the G8, but ships the 5G phone later in the spring.
And that mystery phone could be the LG V50 ThinQ, at least according to ETNews. If true, it would certainly be a fast turnaround for the latest phone in LG's V series — the LG V40 ThinQ just arrived last October.
We have some idea of what the phone will look like, thanks to Evan Blass, who posted a leaked image of the V50 with Spring branding over the weekend.