Buttonless LG phone patented alongside one with a mysterious camera

The LG G8 (Image credit: TechRadar)

If there’s one thing LG likes to do, it’s innovate, and two new patents point to possible future innovations from the company.

The first of these, spotted by LetsGoDigital, shows a phone that doesn’t appear to have any physical buttons at all. This isn’t a totally new concept – the Meizu Zero for example had the same idea, but there’s no widely available phone that doesn’t have physical buttons.

Why get rid of buttons? Well, the mechanisms take up internal space which could be used for other things, or freed up to make the phone smaller or thinner. Buttons can also slightly spoil the lines of a phone, so getting rid of them could improve the appearance.

The design in this patent also shows a quad-lens rear camera, which is less unusual but would be a first for LG, and the screen appears to be almost completely bezel-free, with just a small notch housing a single-lens camera on the front. The lack of buttons or any visible fingerprint scanner suggests this would be built into the screen.

The buttonless phone on the left, the strange camera (detailed below) on the right.

The buttonless phone on the left, the strange camera (detailed below) on the right. (Image credit: LG Electronics / LetsGoDigital)

In another patent, LG shows a phone with a single-lens rear camera that has a ring around it. It’s not clear what purpose the ring serves, but this looks like a high-end handset as the bezels are minimal, so perhaps it’s a zoom lens.

Certainly, it seems the camera is the focus on this phone, as there’s also a button near the bottom of the right edge which we suspect is a dedicated shutter key given its position.

However, none of this is certain, and as with all patents we can’t be sure if or when these designs will become actual phones. So don’t count on the LG V60 ThinQ or LG G9 being buttonless.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.