Twinned with the 5G-ready V50
It’s Mobile World Congress this week, and that means a flood of weird and wonderful announcements coupled with some rather more predictable news. Thankfully, LG has kicked us off with something a little unexpected – a second screen for its flagship V50 handset.
The V50 is perfectly nice as-is; it offers a massive screen, Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset and some cool (quite literally, in fact) tech which keeps the phone at an acceptable temperature during use. However, the thing that has us most interested is LG’s take on the whole folding phone craze – it’s offering V50 owners the chance to double their screen real estate with an optional extra.
Say hello to the LG Dual Screen, a case which comes with a second 6.2-inch OLED screen which sits alongside the phone’s main 6.4-inch display to create a massive, tablet-sized viewing area – not entirely unlike the kind of thing that folding phones promise.
The case connects to the V50 like a typical folio or wallet case, and via a set of pins pulls power from the phone’s battery (it has no on-board power supply of its own). It’s capable of folding around the back of the phone so you can view an image on both sides of the device – handy for if you’re watching Netflix and want to share the film with someone sitting opposite you.
The great thing about this concept is that for a small fee (well, compared to a ‘proper’ folding phone, anyway) V50 owners can gatecrash the folding phone party. LG hasn’t disclosed how much the Dual Screen will cost as yet, but even if it’s £100, it’s still likely to work out cheaper to get one alongside a V50 than it is to purchase Samsung’s Galaxy Fold.
The downside is that LG has to make sure apps play nice with this strange hardware configuration, and then there’s the fact that this is hardly what you could call an elegant solution; the screen on the case is smaller for starters, and there’s that ugly gap down the middle. In many ways, it feels like an afterthought; LG hasn’t got a folding phone in development (at least not one that we know about) and the Dual Screen smells like an attempt to cover this sector of the market with less clever technology.
In short, we’ll give LG points for effort, but we can see this going the same way as the company’s G5-related ‘Friend’ modules, which promised a modular approach to smartphone ownership but can now be found in the window of your local CEX selling for under a fiver.