Would you buy a phone with a slide-out secondary screen?
Lurking around the Internet today, you may have come across the same information that I did on Twitter from @evleaks regarding an intriguing render for the LG V30, a device expected to release later this year. Blass states that it's "an old-ish mockup of Project Joan, a.k.a. the LGV30.” The interesting thing about these renders is the V30’s evolution from the V10 and V20’s secondary display to a secondary display that would allegedly slide out from the bottom end of the device.
Weekend bonus: this is an old-ish mockup of Project Joan, a.k.a. the LG V30. Not clear if the project is still headed in this direction.  pic.twitter.com/k5jNJ7DyLz
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) May 27, 2017
Evan Blass, owner of the @evleaks account, goes on to say that it isn’t clear whether the project is still in “headed in this direction” or not. Considering LG’s track record for new and innovative designs have worked out recently (R.I.P. LG G5) I wouldn’t be surprised to find come announcement day that LG decided to stick with what they already know works; both the V10 and V20’s design with their unique secondary display that sits atop the main display has been rather positively received.
Still, it’s a unique take on both the secondary display and phones with a slide-out keyboard. In another tweet following the initial mockup, Blass posted a photo of some potential uses for the extra screen. These uses include the obvious keyboard, physical menu, and simply an extension of the main display.
Finally, several use-case scenarios for the second screen.  pic.twitter.com/ZKucMOScam
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) May 27, 2017
My initial impression when looking at the device was that I found it unique, but not something that is likely to last very long in the market. I appreciate innovation now more than ever since the market seems to have come to a collective conclusion on a very specific formula for what makes a smartphone great, which most manufacturers tend to follow. LG has been among the exception in trying new designs and features out, and between the V series and the modular LG G5, these features are very hit or miss. The idea of a secondary slide-out display strikes me as a miss, but only because it appears to be a niche of a niche.
Both secondary displays and slide-out keyboards are already niche features. While people tend to look favorably on the V series’ design, it isn’t a phone you commonly see in the wild. The same can be said for the BlackBerry Priv, which has a similar slide-out design but with a physical keyboard instead/. Again, viewed favorably, but not exactly the most popular device.
I'm also reminded of the Kyocera Echo, a peculiar old Android device that featured two full-size displays. The secondary display would tuck under the main display when not in use, and the two displays could work together or separately when it was in use. It was a unique concept, but again, not very popular (like the BlackBerry Priv, however, it was exclusive to just one major carrier, which may have been contributing factor).
The mockup of the LG V30 is intriguing, but I don’t think it is something that I would necessarily seek out if that’s what it ends up being, especially if the device was the same large size as previous V devices. Regardless of size, I just don’t know how often I would end up using the secondary display. I thought I would use the Edge display on the Galaxy S7 Edge, but I quickly turned all of those features off and don't give them a second thought. Perhaps my smartphone usage is just too simple. But even if I wouldn’t personally use it, there’s a ton of potential for the dev community to pick this up and make something cool of it, if it ever came to fruition.
Readers, what are your thoughts on this mockup? Would you pick up a phone with design like this? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!