A report from CNET has a few tidbits about the LG G6 in advance of its debut at Mobile World Congress next month. The report says that LG will be one of the last manufacturers to ditch removable batteries. With a sealed-in battery, it’s easier to make a water-resistant phone, and apparently LG thinks the tradeoff is worth it.
The report also says the LG G6 will be the first-ever non-Google phone to have the Google Assistant. The Assistant is the latest version of Google’s voice-command technology, which, for smartphones, has been exclusive to the Google Pixel.
Google’s artificial limiting of the Assistant on Android to only the Pixel has forced OEMs to come up with replacement solutions. Samsung bought an assistant company called “Viv”—created by two of the co-founders of Siri Inc. before it was bought by Apple—and is turning it into an assistant called “Bixby.” The LG G6 was originally rumored to use Amazon Alexa, but Google may have gotten wind of this and made an exception for LG. Alternatively, we may finally be looking at the full release of Google Assistant. The code for the Assistant is part of the Google app, so it’s already on nearly every Android phone out there. If Google wanted to, it could roll the Assistant out across the entire modern Android ecosystem with a simple app update.
The addition of the Assistant is a continuation of LG and Google’s close relationship. LG is building a pair of “Nexus like” watches in partnership with Google, and the V20 was one of the first phones launched with Android Nougat. LG has also built three Nexus phones for Google over the years.
This is also the third report to claim that the LG G6 won’t be packing 2017’s flagship Qualcomm processor, the Snapdragon 835. We’ve now seen CNET, The Verge, and Forbes all claim that Samsung is “hoarding” the initial supply of the Snapdragon 835 for the Galaxy S8 and that the LG G6 will use the Snapdragon 821. Like the other reports, CNET says that using the Snapdragon 835 would mean “LG would have had to delay the launch of the G6 to April.” It doesn’t seem like Samsung has any kind of early stock of 835s, though—a report yesterday said the Galaxy S8 would launch in April. Samsung is the sole manufacturer of the Snapdragon 835 for Qualcomm, but it seems to be getting stock availability at the same time as everyone else.
If the rumors are true, LG was faced with a decision to launch in March with 2016’s Snapdragon 821 or to delay the phone a month and launch with 2017’s Snapdragon 835. LG seems to think the early route is better, but customers will get to make the same choice, too. Will you buy a phone in March or wait a month for the new chips?