LG's next G5 phone to sport 'always on' screen

The South Korean company posted a teaser on its Facebook page, giving fans a glimpse of what its new top-end phone has in store.

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LG is on the verge of announcing the G5, which we now know will have an always-on screen.

LG

LG Electronics is trying to drum up excitement over the launch of the G5, its next flagship Android phone, with an image revealing what's likely to be the device's most distinctive feature.

The animated image, posted on LG's Facebook page on Wednesday, shows multiple phone screens blacking out, leaving an outline of the G5 perched next to the words "always on". This reference to a permanently switched-on screen is one of the few things we now know about the new device, other than the rumour that it might have a pull-out battery.

In an Android phone market dominated by Samsung, you may not even be aware of LG's respected but less-prominent phones. If LG's always-on screen is truly useful, not a mere gimmick, the G5 might just catch your eye and even change the way you use your phone.

An always-on display would negate the need to press any buttons to check notifications or the time. That may seem like a small change, but given how often we need to check why our phone just buzzed or who's calling, it's a convenience you could appreciate many times a day. Indeed, speeding up these glances is one of the main sales pitches for smartwatches.

The concept isn't new, but for smartphone makers the challenge has always been making use of the technology without significantly impacting battery life. Battery life is still a big deal for phone users, so it'll be fascinating to see how LG has reconciled the two.

South Korea-based LG has attempted to include similar tech before in its G Flex 2 and the G4, in the form of "Glance View". But these phones still required a gesture of some kind to be used to wake the screen. In contrast, the gif implies that some information on the G5's screen will always be visible, even without being touched.

A slew of new top-end Android phones are expected in coming weeks as many of the world's biggest tech brands head to the Mobile World Congress tech show in Barcelona. There, LG will compete for attention not just with Samsung but also a crop of newer Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, OnePlus and Huawei.

It seems that LG might not be the only phone maker to bet big on an always-on screen. Samsung recently trademarked the term "always on display", according to tech blog Android Authority. LG's rival South Korean company will also be holding a launch event at Mobile World Congress, where it's expected to reveal the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.

Both LG and Samsung's launch events will be held on Sunday February 21. CNET will be there bringing you hands-on photos, videos, news and analysis live from Barcelona.

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