Ahead of Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 announcement earlier this month there was a flurry of rumours that the South Korean company hoped to make its handset completely button-less – with nothing but touch-sensitive panels in key areas around the chassis to manage functionality like increasing and decreasing volume, and powering the device on and off. As you'll know if you've read our in-depth Galaxy Note 10 review, this did not happen.
According to serial leakster Ice Universe (opens in new tab), the button-less design did exist inside the Samsung R&D laboratory, but was dropped because it "did not pass Samsung's rigorous testing, so the final version of Note10 still retains physical buttons".
Whether Samsung will revisit the idea for a future flagship smartphone – the Galaxy S11 perhaps? – remains to be seen. But we now know the Seoul-based company isn't the only manufacturer looking into this idea.
LG filed a design patent with the Korean Intellectual Property Office, or KIPO earlier this year that includes seven illustrations of a smartphone without any physical buttons. The handset in the sketches, which were spotted by the eagle-eyed folks over at Dutch technology blog LetsGoDigital (opens in new tab), includes a quadruple rear-camera, suggesting this button-less design is coming to a flagship device.
Interestingly, the South Korean manufacturer doesn't yet have a device with a button-less design or a quadruple camera. As it stands, the LG G8 ThinQ and the V50 ThinQ have the most lens – topping out at three. An earlier patent filed at the start of the yea shows a smartphone with 16 different cameras.
Like the long-rumoured button-less Note 10, the smartphone in the LG patent appears to have touch-sensitive parts on the frame around the device which can be used to control certain functions – like waking the screen, or muting the volume. Of course, all of these features can also be controlled using the Android OS system too.
There might be no buttons, but there is a few ports. Unlike the Note 10, there's a 3.5mm headphone port pictured on the bottom of the phone as well as a USB Type-C port for charging and syncing. On the front, LG looks set to use a notch at the top of the all-screen design to house its front-facing camera while maximising the amount of screen real estate available for the form-factor.