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Is there a connection between Essential and LG? Probably not.

A recently discovered patent suggests LG is working on phones with a similar design to the new Essential Phone. But that doesn't necessarily mean there's a link between them.

Published onMay 31, 2017

Andy Rubin’s Essential just launched its first smartphone, and to say that it’s controversial is a bit of an understatement. There’s plenty to like about the Essential Phone, but also a few curious omissions and one design choice that is very hard to gloss over, whether you like it or not – that front-facing camera that cuts into the screen.

The Essential Phone’s design definitely stands out, but it’s not completely unique. A recently discovered patent suggests LG is working on phones with a similar design. The patent in question depicts a phone with a centrally-positioned front camera that cuts into a “bezel-less” screen with rounded corners.

Here’s the image:

This prompted Phandroid’s Andrew Myrick to speculate that LG could be Essential’s manufacturing partner, similarly to how Google and HTChave collaborated to produce the Pixel and Pixel XL.

The resemblance between LG’s patent schematic and the Essential Phone is undeniable, but it’s probably just a coincidence, as LG shot down any connection to Andy Rubin’s company. “Any resemblance is coincidental and we are not in a position to comment on any speculative business strategies,” a company representative told Android Authority.

“Any resemblance is coincidental”

Even without LG’s rebuttal, there’s a big, if not obvious, difference between the Essential Phone and the hypothetical device in LG’s patent. On the Essential, the camera simply cuts into the screen. On the LG phone, the camera appears to be flanked by two display strips that show shortcuts or controls for specific apps, similarly to the secondary displays on the LG V10 and V20. The actual display is below the camera, so it’s not cut off.

One final thing to consider is that, well, Essential is no Google, and LG is no HTC. In other words, LG has little reason to play ODM for a small startup, even one that was founded by the father of Android.

How do you feel about that front facing camera? Let us know your thoughts.

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