Longer screens and smaller bodies seem to be the big smartphone trend this year. South Korean electronics maker LG was to first to introduce the 18:9 ratio and bezel-less display, dubbing it Full Vision, with their G6 in February. Compatriot Samsung showed off its own curved 18.5:9 ratio Infinity Display with the Galaxy S8 in March. Huawei, Sony, and Apple are expected to follow suit with the ratio and bezel-less designs, while and LG and Samsung continue with their V30 and Galaxy Note 8, respectively.
The 18:9 ratio and bezel-less display will continue to be key hardware characteristics going forward, according to Park Sangkuk, who oversaw hardware for the G6 in LG's mobile division.
"We wanted to catch two birds with one stone. I think we succeeded with Full Vision; a wider screen but the phone size remains the same. Brightness is the same as its predecessor [G5] but it consumes 30 percent less power," said Park in an interview with ZDNet.
Movie theater standard ratio is 2.2:1 and HD 1.78:1, and Full Vision allows for the "full experience", of film content, Park said. "Movies of course have a wider ratio, but we also had to think about how the device will look with the screen."
"We found that consumers wanted the phone to retain the shape of an average rectangle without being overlong. That's why we decided on the 18:9 ratio screen. It's wider and doesn't compromise how the smartphone looks. It's immersive. And anybody who owns it knows that it has a great grip.
"This will be an ongoing trend, so having technology experience is important. For example, the bezel looks useless, but under it, there is the camera, antenna, and the speaker. To make it bezel-less while retaining the sturdiness of the phone was very difficult."
Conventionally, phones screens were made to follow the 16:9 standard. But super-fast hardware development means the content now follows the device. (This is same for TVs, where UHD and HDR were introduced in the product first, with content following suit.)
LG said it worked with Google and app makers from early on so that Full Vision was well optimized, and Android and apps were optimized for use on the 18:9 ratio screen.
According to Ryu Joon, who oversaw software development of the G6, social media platforms such as YouTube are preparing for video content with the 18:9 ratio display. A study by Nielsen claimed that millennials -- those between 18 to 34 -- spend over 6 hours a week on consuming media content, including social media and multimedia.
"18:9 ratio screen provides more information on screen," said Ryu. "It's best for dual-tasking -- watching a video while on social media. It's best for Instagram, which only allows square photos, because you can divide the screen into two squares. There are many UX that can be developed that utilize the ratio.
"As more and more phone makers join in the 18:9 ratio trend, multimedia and app makers cater to that more and more going forward."
According to TrendForce, 10 percent of smartphones shipped this year will have 18:9 ratio or wider screens, a figure that will rise to 37 percent next year. The 18:9 ratio will likely trickle down from flagship phones to mid- and low-tiers going forward.
LG recently launched the cheaper 32GB version of the G6 and a larger screened G6 Plus in Korea. The LG team declined to comment on the upcoming V30.