In this series we remember legendary mobiles from the past. After reminding the Samsung Galaxy Beam, LG Optimus 3D, Sony Xperia Play, Motorola Flipout and others, today it is the turn of the curious LG DoublePlay, a terminal that had QWERTY keyboard and secondary display.
It was the year 2011, one of the craziest years on Android and in which sliding QWERTY keyboard was still relatively common, when LG decided to take the idea one step further, with a secondary screen that was integrated in the middle of the keyboard physical.
LG DoublePlay technical specifications
Main: 3.5 “LCD 320 x 480
Secondary: LCD 2 “320 x 480
Dimensions and weight
121.9 x 64 x 16 mm
Snapdragon Scorpion 1 GHz
1,500 mAh removable
$ 150 with contract
The LG DoublePlay was launched as a lower-mid-range from 2011, so its specs were quite moderate even for its time. With the body closed, it had a design similar to other phones of its time, with a body with very pronounced curves and four capacitive buttons for navigation.
The main screen of the LG DoublePlay was only 3.5 inch, which gives us an idea of its small size, although chubby, with 1.6 millimeters thick (however, it is a little thinner than other folding mobiles such as Xperia Mini Pro). It did not have a camera for selfies, but it did have a main camera, on the back, of 5 megapixels.
When unfolding the keyboard, the surprise was the 2-inch secondary display in the middle of it, square and with the same resolution as the main one, in which you could run a select list of applications.
The power of the LG DoublePlay was provided by a Qualcomm Snapdragon with a single 1 GHz core, accompanied by 512 GB of RAM and 2 GB storage expandable via microSD. It does not seem like much today, and it was not then, although we must remember that it was a terminal of the mid-range of its time.
What was special about it?
In 2011, phones with a QWERTY keyboard were the exception, but they were still relatively easy to find. However, the LG DoublePlay gave them a twist to the Sony Xperia Play, but focused on productivity instead of games, integrating a secondary screen.
We are talking about Android Gingerbread 2.3, so it would still be many years until Android had the multi-tasking and multi-windowing options that it has today. The idea of the double screen was clear: more screens, more things you can do at once.
That was the idea, although in practice the usefulness of this second screen was quite similar, partly because of the limitations of the technology of the time and partly because of debatable decisions on the part of the development team. To begin with, on that screen you could only run certain special applications and not just any application.
In it you could send SMS, check the calendar and play music, although only with nine pre-installed applications to choose from and whose functions were quite limited. Still, the idea allowed you in a way do two tasks at once on Android, something quite ahead of its time in 2011.
Is there such a thing today?
Almost ten years have passed since the launch of the LG DoublePlay, a terminal that in its time did not get very good reviews, especially for its blunt appearance and the little utility of the second screen. The fact that there was never an LG DoublePlay 2, not even in the United States, where this type of terminal transformer they always had more traction, it gives us a good idea that the experiment did not go too well.
Since then, mobile phones with a QWERTY keyboard and sliding mechanisms have almost become extinct, although they had a certain rebound a few years ago as an alternative to notch in terminals such as the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3They have not had a great tour either. What has returned in a way are secondary screens as a necessity in folding terminals such as Samsung Galaxy Fold 2. Of course, in folding mobiles the secondary screen is not used at the same time as the main one.
It is precisely LG who has explored the idea of a secondary screen to support the primary one. First, in the form of the additional screen LG Dual Screen, compatible with various terminals in the house, and more recently, the LG Wing with two screens.
The LG Wing is, almost ten years later, a new attempt to add a second screen to do more than one thing at a time without giving up space on the main screen. In a way, it is an evolution of the same concept, with the difference that this time there is no physical keyboard, the mechanism is rotary and the usefulness of this second screen is less limited.
The LG Wing is in a way the spiritual heir to the LG DoublePlay, still stranger now than DoublePlay was in its day. The idea is more refined and Android is much better prepared for multitasking today than with Gingerbread, although it remains to be seen if this attempt at getting out of the extraordinary will succeed … or as with the LG DoublePlay.
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