Samsung & LG May Use Bone-Conductive Technology in 2019

AH Samsung and LG logo 2

According to a new report from South Korea, Samsung and LG Electronics may both be seeking an alternative solution to earpieces on their smartphone faces: bone-conducting technology. The innovative solution works such that a display need not use any speakers to emit sound, but rather facilitate the transmission of sound by way of physical contact between the user’s face and the display. Several smartphone OEMs have already used this, including Xiaomi with its original Mi Mix, and even Google opted for bone-conductive audio output with its wearable Glass product. The story, published yesterday by Korea’s etnews, notes that both Samsung and LG are working towards including this on next year’s phones – presumably the Galaxy S10 and the LG G8 – which would theoretically allow the conglomerates to cleave off a notch cut-out that has been so polarizing in the past year.

It should be pointed out that bone-conducting technology requires actual contact between the user and device, which means that speakerphone usage would need to come exclusively from the main speaker(s). The lack of an earpiece would theoretically result in a further need for Samsung to redesign internal hardware as this year saw the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus launch with a second speaker via the earpiece. It would remain to be seen as to the market reaction should the Galaxy S10 regress and opt for only a single speaker, although Samsung could try for a solution via an echo-chamber, similar to what LG opted for with the recently-released G7.

Regardless of if and when this new form of sound-conductivity would make it into Korea’s main OEM’s products, perhaps the larger question at hand is just what kind of innovation 2019 might see, period. Rumors have already been speculating that Samsung’s Galaxy S10 will be launched at CES in January of next year, and be a “throw-away” device, offering little-to-know major improvements over the Galaxy S9. The belief – assuming the rumors would pan out – is that MWC would see the true flagship: the long-rumored foldable smartphone which has been referred to as Project Valley, and by some as the Galaxy X. Still, even if the Galaxy S10 were to make use of a traditional earpiece as per previous products, if the foldable phone were to have bone-conductive technology, that would be a genuine way for Samsung to further differentiate and impress the potential market.