(Pocket-lint) - When it comes to Android phones, LG is a well-known brand, but it isn't a Samsung or Google, both of which make premium handsets. To better stand out and compete with those heavyweights, LG is ditching its G series of phones and starting fresh with a new Velvet series. It's also embracing a more innovative, minimalist design for its next flagship.

Here's everything you need to know.

LG Velvet: Name

  • Goodbye G series, hello Velvet
  • New branding strategy

LG's next smartphone won't have an alphanumeric name. Instead, the device will be called the LG Velvet.

So after eight generations of G phones, LG wants to do something new. And it thinks a name change is what's needed. In April, the company described this sort of thinking as a "new branding strategy":

"LG Electronics is answering the challenge by embarking on a new product roadmap that will emphasize distinctive designs and tactile elegance to set itself apart ... LG Velvet will be the first device to implement the company’s new branding strategy for its mobile devices, moving away from alphanumerical designations in favor of familiar and expressive names that will help the consumer capture the essence of the device best suited for his or her personality and ever-changing trends."

The company said the new Velvet name is meant to "evoke images of lustrous smoothness and premium softness."

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LG Velvet: Release date

  • Originally expected to launch in February at MWC
  • Unveiling event scheduled for 7 May 2020
  • Availability from 15 May 2020

LG typically announces its latest G-series phone at Mobile World Congress. It did this for the LG G5, LG G6, and LG G8 (the LG G7 was unveiled in New York City in May). However, LG has officially issued invitations for the Velvet, and it's scheduled for 7 May and is online-only.

The LG Velvet will be available from 15 May, however, we expect this to be the launch date in Korea and any international launch dates may be different. We expect to hear more on 7 May.

LG Velvet: Price

  • Could be priced the same as last year's LG G8

Pricing for the Velvet has yet to be confirmed, but the LG G8 had a starting price of $850 in the US. We suspect the Velvet could be similarly priced.

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LG Velvet: Design

  • 167.2 x 74.1 x 7.9mm, 180g
  • 3D Arc Design on front and back
  • "Smoothness" and "softness" are key characteristics
  • IP68 protection

In April, LG uploaded a teaser video showing off the Velvet. It is 35 seconds long and reaffirms sketches company previously shared. It shows the phone will be very minimalist and available in black, white, green, and a red/purple colour-changing option called Illusion Sunset, now fully revealed by LG.

The front of the Velvet appears to have very minimal bezels and a slight curve on the edges. LG said it named the curvature of the phone's front and back as "3D Arc Design", and it described it as exuding a "more natural feeling in the hand than previous LG phones". We've heard this sort of design rhetoric before, designed to sit better in the hand thanks to the front and back curves.

The front-facing camera is sited in a waterdrop notch at the top of a 6.8-inch 20.5:9 aspect Cinema FullVision display. There will also be IP68 protection.

LG Velvet: Cameras

  • 48MP main, 8MP ultra wide, 5MP depth
  • Laid out in a waterdrop pattern
  • LED flash included on back

On the rear of the phone there is a 48-megapixel f/1.8 0.8µm standard camera, 8-megapixel f/2.2 1.12µm ultra-wide lens, and a 5-megapixel f/2.4 1.12µm depth camera. LG said it is using "quad binning" technology, that combines pixels in groups of four to receive more light in low-light conditions, thereby providing better shots in darker places.

On the front is a 16-megapixel selfie camera, f/1.9 with 1.0µm pixels.

On the video front, LG has confirmed that you'll be able to use clever filters to improve the audio quality, for example to remove wind noise while leaving voices in tact.

LG Velvet: Hardware and display

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 5G
  • 8GB RAM, 128GB storage + microSD
  • 4300mAh
  • 6.8-inch full HD+, HDR10 support

LG has confirmed the Velvet will be powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 765 5G processor. Notably, the LG V60 uses the Snapdragon 865, so the Velvet will be taking a step down. Rather than being a true flagship phone, it slips into the sub-flagship category, something that's growing in popularity and will likely come with lower prices, which has its own advantage.

But the Snapdragon 765 will be supported by 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage along with support for microSD, up to 2TB.

There's a reasonable 4300mAh battery, supporting Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+ technology, and we'd expect this to be a reasonable performer.

The phone is fronted by a 6.8-inch display with a 20.5:9 aspect. It has a full HD+ resolution and it supports HDR10.

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LG Velvet: Software

  • AI sound technology
  • ASMR function

The LG G8 had gimmicky software features that let you scan patterns in your hand to unlock it or control certain features simply by waving your hand. These were respectively called Air Motion and Hand ID. It's unclear if these sort of features will be included with the Velvet. But, either way, expect LG's next smartphone to be running the latest version of Android.

LG has confirmed there are stereo speakers built into the Velvet, with AI sound technology analysing and optimising audio. Recording audio also has some tech tweaks, with a Voice Out Focus function enabling better pick-up of voices in ambient sound. There is also an ASMR recording function that increases the sensitivity of the two microphones to pick up quieter vocals.

LG Velvet: What's happened so far?

Here's everything we've heard about LG Velvet so far:

28 April 2020: LG Velvet officially unveiled ahead of launch, release date revealed too

LG has lifted the lid on its forthcoming premium smartphone early. It has announced the LG Velvet, including official press images, prior to launch.

27 April 2020: The LG Velvet's specs may have leaked, detailing its cameras and storage

Leaks from South Korea detail the camera units, battery capabilities and storage of the LG Velvet.

24 April 2020: LG Velvet to be unveiled on 7 May during online event

LG has confirmed that it will be holding an online event to launch the LG Velvet.

LG is planning to release a new smartphone, choosing not to stick to the existing naming structure it has, but moving to something completely new.

LG's next flagship phone will be called LG Velvet, and may be soft to touch

LG's next smartphone won't have an alphanumeric name. Instead, the device will be called the LG Velvet.

9 April 2020: LG teases minimalist design for new smartphone

LG has teased the design for its forthcoming new smartphone - and it is heading down a "minimalist" route.

3 April 2020: New LG phone could be launched on 15 May

Korean sources suggest that the new LG phone could be announced on 15 May.

30 March 2020: LG to drop G series brand, next flagship evokes classic Chocolate phone

LG will reportedly ditch the G series branding for its next smartphone, and is also said to be looking to the past for a refreshed design.

24 March 2020: LG G9 ThinQ could launch as a sub-flagship handset

LG could be planning to move its G series into the mid-range, choosing to use Snapdragon 765G hardware.

4 February 2020: LG delays new smartphone launches thanks to coronavirus

The annual Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona is weeks away and LG has decided to pull out altogether.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.