LG G6 reportedly picks waterproofing over removable battery

More signs point to the LG G6 ditching the features that have made the G-Series the choice for Android power-users, following Samsung and Apple in emphasizing style instead. Whispers about the G6, which is expected to be officially unveiled in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress 2017 next month, have circulated for some months now, with speculation about what LG would do following the less-than-enthusiastic reception of the LG G5. Now, with the latest batch of leaks, the strategy is starting to get clearer.

With the G5, LG had opted for a fairly controversial feature set. Not only did the phone stick with a removable battery design – something Samsung, Apple, and most other smartphone manufacturers have shifted away from, in the name of convenience and reducing overall device thickness – but it introduced a novel modular system. That allowed the base of the G5 to be removed, and then replaced with different attachments such as better speakers.

Unfortunately, while that left the G5 with plenty of geek-appeal, it nonetheless lacked sales-appeal. LG demurred at first, but later confirmed that it was abandoning the modular approach in the G6. However at the same time it's also apparently ditching the removable battery.

According to a source familiar with the upcoming flagship smartphone speaking to CNET, LG's decision came down to weighing the popularity of being able to switch out the battery versus that of waterproofing the phone. With Apple's iPhone 7 now water-resistant, the Galaxy S7 similarly protected, and this year's Samsung Galaxy S8 almost certain to offer the same, LG's devices were beginning to look under-equipped. Though it's not impossible to offer a removable battery in a waterproof handset, it's a lot trickier than sealing the whole thing, plus generally more bulky.

It's not the only compromise. As per previous reports, LG is said to be opting not to use Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 835 chipset, instead relying on the older – but more readily available – Snapdragon 821. That, we're led to believe, is because Samsung supposedly has earmarked the entire first batch of Snapdragon 835 silicon for its Galaxy S8: if LG had wanted to use the chipset, it would have had to wait until April 2017 to launch.

In doing so it would have missed its opportunity to get the G6 to market before the Galaxy S8, which is apparently seem as a priority for the company. Other specifications are said to include a 5.7-inch, 1440 x 2650 display with a relatively unusual 18:9 aspect, dual-lens 16MP/8MP camera on the rear with one regular and one wide lens, and 4GB of RAM. LG is believed to be slimming down the G6's display bezels, too, in keeping with the general fashion within the smartphone space right now.

As for software, as well as Android 7.1 Nougat, the source claims the G6 will be the first non-Google-device to feature the latest Google Assistant. Building on Google Now and other search features, it's the same technology that powers the Google Home smart speaker. Intriguingly, LG is said to have initially planned to bake Amazon's Alexa into the G6 – just as the company has done with its latest refrigerators – but eventually opted not to do so after deeming the system not quite ready for phones.