For those looking for a more affordable dual-screen smartphone than Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip or Galaxy Fold, LG's G8X ThinQ isn't a bad option. Available in the US through a couple of carriers, the AT&T model of the G8X has just begun receiving its Android 10 update, following in the footsteps of the unlocked version and the Sprint variant.
This story was originally published and last updated .
LG's got a new design language in the works — a fresh take on its phones that's supposed to usher the company into this decade with a clean look and some updated thinking towards flagship hardware. But before we turn the page to that next chapter, we've still got its first big 2020 launch to check out, the 5G-equipped, Dual Screen, 865-packing LG V60 ThinQ.
For the past few years, LG has introduced its mainstream G-series flagship in late winter or early spring, followed by a larger, more creator-focused V-series phone a few months later. We saw that routine begin to get shaken up last fall with the launch of the G8X (complete with its Dual Screen accessory hoping to steal a little thunder from the folding-phone craze), and now that shift continues not with the introduction of a presumptive G9, but instead with an early new entry to the V series, the LG V60 ThinQ 5G.
LG is having a hard time pushing timely software updates even to its flagship range, despite having a dedicated Software Upgrade Center for this exact purpose. The South Korean brand did begin updating a few of its V- and G-series phones to Android 10 in the last couple of months, but not all these releases have yet to see international availability, and many users remain clueless as to when the update notification might pop up on their LG handsets. To smooth their ruffled feathers, LG Italy recently published its Android 10 update roadmap.
Every smartphone manufacturer wants to get in on the ground floor of the latest trends, and in 2019 the name of the game is “folding.” After teasing flexible technology at trade shows for years, we're finally seeing the arrival of big-screen phones that bend down the middle for easy storage. But other companies are turning to more old-school tech to accomplish a similar feat, like LG and its dual-screen hardware. After getting started with the V50, LG's back with its follow-up: the G8X with Dual Screen case.
Google is always hard at work on adding ARCore support to new devices. This time around, those include the brand-new Note10 and 10+, but other than that, a bigger shift has occurred on the company's AR front – that is, if you count marketing and naming schemes as big shifts. The catchy ARCore Play Store listing makes way for the cumbersome phrase "Google Play Service for AR." The change has already been visible for a while, but the company only introduced the new name in the app's changelog last week, along with announcing support for 60fps rendering on capable devices.
Enhanced gaming has been one of the most consistently promoted features of LG phones that support its Dual Screen hardware. Until now, the only gaming-centric improvement available for these devices has been the ability to use the second display as a dedicated gamepad. Now we're finally seeing games introduce some bespoke functionality for that second panel, with the release of a dual-screen edition of Pirates of the Caribbean: Tides of War.
If LG seems particularly out of sorts this year, you could probably tack a lot of that to its contorted phone release schedule: it announced the V50 alongside the G8, released the G8 in April and then the V50 (with its 5G-ness) in June, then decided to fill its IFA booth in September with a dual-screen remix of the G8, the G8X. Today, we're learning when that phone will go on sale in the United States.
LG seems really invested in making Dual Screen cases for its phones, expanding the amount of real estate available to smartphone users while bypassing the engineering requirements of a folding phone. There's one for the V50 and one for the sorta all-new G8X that just debuted at IFA 2019. But there's one detail that about that Dual Screen case for the G8X that seems particularly fishy and quite ugly.
LG's smartphone division is not in a good place. It hasn't been in a good place for the last five years, frankly, but 2019 has felt especially rough on Korea's number-two electronics giant. For the first time in a long time, most tech publications really don't even bother mentioning LG phones in the same breath as Samsung's. OnePlus, Google, Huawei, and even domestic Chinese manufacturers like Vivo and Oppo now command far more attention for their products and announcements. LG is increasingly an afterthought.
I don't mean to be down on LG. And while it's in nowhere near the dire straits Sony or HTC are, I don't think anyone would disagree that it's high time for the company to make some radical changes to its high-end smartphone strategy.