If the LG Velvet with its dual screen, waterdrop camera design and iridescent colour options was the company dipping its toe into the water of change, the leaked LG Wing is the full-on dive into the unknown. A two-screen device that twists open from a regular form factor to give you two separate displays is totally unique and was seen in two videos published by Android Authority. LG is expected to announce it soon.
I am totally on board. LG is at its best when it innovates, and at its worst when it tries to be like everybody else. Releasing a phone like the Wing might not get it five-star reviews but I think a company that releases the Wing in the first place is totally aware of that.
The Velvet wasn’t perfect, but its evolution was encouraging, and I am excited to see the struggling LG mobile division try and gloriously break out of its rut with the Wing. In the leaked videos it is running a maps app alongside music controls in a great car mount set up, and in another shows a racing game with map above it to refer to.
Much like the dual screen case of the Velvet and other LG phones of late, the Wing will probably not be supported by many apps as developers aren’t going to rejig their apps to work on a phone that won’t sell in iPhone or Galaxy quantities. But I’m still so glad that LG looks like it doesn’t care about that and wants to excite its fans - and hopefully some new admirers - with unique design.
LG has put its G series to bed, instead appearing moving to individual releases of design-first smartphones. If it can sustain its mobile business by making the phones its design department has always dreamed of, then I’m all for it. The LG Wing by its mere existence is more interesting to me than ordinary phones like the Galaxy S20.
Even though LG’s mobile strategy for the past few years has not favoured the Western market quite like its rival Samsung, LG is unfairly bashed in the tech press.
Samsung’s gargantuan marketing campaigns and dominance of new-fangled important metrics like YouTube algorithm bias that pushes Samsung content and reviews to more people means it has pushed ahead of its Korean rival by a country mile. Gone are the days of the dominant LG G3, a superb 2014 phone that was better than Samsung’s equivalent release, the Galaxy S5.
Recently, the excellent LG V60 was covered less favourably than the Galaxy S20 because it lacked a high refresh rate screen, but then again LG didn’t release it unlocked or globally, limiting its appeal to the mass market. Phone reviewers and YouTubers often skew coverage favourably towards sleek phones that anyone anywhere can buy, but that doesn’t make the utilitarian V60 a bad phone. It’s one of the year’s best that not many people will buy.
I really hope the Wing is available globally, but I doubt it will be. The V60 wasn’t even available in South Korea, which is very odd for an LG release. The Wing is ripe for that market though, and I have a feeling there will be European interest in a new Android form factor given the excitement around foldable phones.
The Wing could be the closest you’ll come to buying a feature phone ever again, harking back to a time when you bought your phone purely on what it looked like and what cool physical movements it made.
Sure, I’ll be the first to admit that LG’s software skin still needs some work, but its phones still have headphone jacks, wireless charging, waterproofing and the kitchen sink, often for less than the competition. Samsung phones are good, and some are great, but that company’s relentless marketing offensive on the industry has skewed critical opinion. LG is still making great phones, but it just can’t seemingly afford to launch them globally, which is hurting its reputation.
If this is to be LG's fate then I’ll look forward to embracing LG as a fringe brand, pumping out crazy rotating phones that no one I know has. In a market of iPhone or Galaxy uniformity, sign me up for a mad rotating phone, please.
I’m a little worried that the Wing is going to be ridiculously expensive (one rumour says US$1,600) but I am hopeful the company is wise enough not to do that.
Here’s to you LG. Don’t stop being weird, and please don't quit the phone business. It could be a fine line.