Starting a couple of years ago, modular phones were getting a lot of attention. From Google’s Project Ara, to LG, to Motorola, and others, the idea of being able to piece together our smartphone was certainly gaining a lot of momentum. But here we sit in 2017, with hindsight being as clear as it is, and we can safely say that modular smartphones didn’t latch on like some companies thought they would.
Project Are is effectively done. Motorola has its Mods, and despite wanting people to embrace the modular design elements, it seems the majority of attention the Moto Z and Moto Z Force picked up was due to those phones simply being worthwhile handsets in general (even if they are missing the 3.5mm headphone jack), and not so much because of the modular cues.
And then there’s LG. The Life’s Good crew had a lot going on with its “Friends,” the accessories that had in one way or another some kind of connection with the LG G5 proper through modular pieces. It did, if anything, make it a bit more interesting when exchanging batteries — but ultimately there wasn’t much else going for the G5.
The G6 is on the way, ditching that modular design altogether, and instead going with something else: minimal bezels.
This is another design decision that seems to be all the rage for manufacturers, with the majority of handsets that are being rumored right now dropping the bezels in big ways. Apple is rumored to be dropping the bezels for its 10-year anniversary iPhone 8, and Samsung is oft-rumored to be doing the same thing with the upcoming Galaxy S8 (with plenty of leaks to back this up). LG looks to be doing the same thing with the G6, focusing on maximizing screen availability by reducing those bezels.
All things considered, I see this being something consumers have an easier time with accepting than, say, the modular design push. It doesn’t really ultimately change anything about the phone they know and love, but it should make consuming content on those screens better, and offer more space for getting things done.
For me, personally, I can’t help but wonder why we’re so focused on removing bezels on touchscreen devices and making the screen bigger. One-hand use is still something I’m a fan of (which is why the 4.7-inch screen size will always be my favorite), but if you reduce bezels and make the screen bigger, I feel like you’re just asking to make the experience a bit rougher around the edges, because there’s more chance for your palm to touch the screen while you’re trying to activate something else on the display.
Whether or not that’s an actual issue will come down to personal use, but for me I’m not sure that I’ve made a decision on bezels. I’m not sure that I have any issues with them. Then again, I’m perfectly open to the idea that Samsung and/or Apple can convince me otherwise this year.