The LG G8 will apparently arrive banking on 'Sound on Display' technology as a selling point. This is based on the latest information from tipster @OnLeaks who in turn credits "sources" for the details. Besides the inclusion of Sound on Display (SoD), no further information was provided on the feature, or how it will work.
New, but not new
SoD is new in the sense that most smartphones don't feature the technology currently, but it's not completely new in the sense that LG will be the first to utilize it as a solution. In fact, if rumors are to be believed then LG will only be one of many companies who turn to the technology in 2019. For example, there's already been exactly the same suggestions made recently with Samsung and its upcoming Galaxy S10 smartphone(s). And if both Samsung and LG are employing SoD in their latest flagship smartphones, it would be wise to expect a number of others to follow suit as well.
Displays are not just for viewing
The general idea behind SoD is that the display can act as a means to distribute sound as well as visuals. In other words, including a sound-emitting display negates the need for the device to also feature an earpiece due to the former having to ability to emulate the latter. This is something that in turn allows the device maker to further alter the form of the device to provide even more screen real estate.
The technology effectively builds on bone conduction principles as it uses vibrations to generate and transmit sound into the listener's ear. The same underlying technology is already in use on various other devices, and has particularly started to be used in abundance in the headphone and hearing device markets in general.
A sign of the times
Although this is only a rumor at the moment, it is one that makes sense. LG is already known to be working on sound-omitting displays and the general trend towards no bezels has resulted in makers looking at removing as many of the physical components on a front panel as they can. While the earpiece is one that's usually considered an essential component for a phone-based device, it's one that has likely attracted more research from phone makers than others. As having the option to remove that in favor of another display-powered solution will likely make it even easier to remove other non-display elements – even if removing those elements doesn't necessarily appeal to consumers quite as much as device makers.
Furthermore, LG specifically embracing this technology makes even more sense compared to other phone makers as this is a company that has continually looked at improving the audio features of its devices. For example, the LG G7 from last year was another device that looked to capitalize on resonance to improve sound with LG marketed the G7 as a device that as a whole is able to produce a louder output due to the phone's chassis doubling as a resonance chamber – acoustically boosting the volume in a similar way to how an acoustic guitar, or any sound hole-equipped device works. Therefore the suggestion LG is once again looking at other sound-specific advancements is totally in keeping with the company's smartphone approach in general.
Sound on Display unlikely to help LG
While this is a feature the company will undoubtedly use as a selling point for its upcoming smartphone, LG's mobile division has more fundamental issues at the moment to deal with. The mobile side of the business has been losing ground massively and this is in spite of the company continually banking on different and unique selling points compared to the rest of the smartphone market. So SoD in itself is unlikely to be enough to attract consumers back to the smartphone brand and especially if LG is only one of many brands that release smartphones boasting the same technology.
LG is in need of a hit smartphone soon if it is to remain relevant and this is particularly true when it comes to the company's "G" series. As although the G line is LG's more established line in terms of age, it is also one that seems to have been paled into insignificance compared to its "V" series. Although neither of which have seemed capable of generating the sales momentum the company requires to not only compete with its established rivals, but also its emerging competitors that have been making their own massive strides in recent years and further pushing LG down the global rankings.