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LG’s V20 smartphone could get a boost from Samsung recall and a modest iPhone update

It’s also the first new phone to ship with Android Nougat.

James Bareham/The Verge

Last year LG tried to introduce a second flagship phone line in an effort to better compete against fall launches from Samsung and Apple.

But while that device, the V10, failed to steal much thunder from Apple and Samsung, its successor may benefit from some extremely fortunate timing.

The launch of the V20 on Tuesday comes amid a massive recall for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 and just ahead of an iPhone update that could underwhelm those hoping for a more radical overhaul.

And, perhaps biggest of all, the V20 has also managed to become the first new phone to ship with Nougat, the latest flavor of Google’s Android operating system. Typically, that’s been a benefit reserved for Google-designed Nexus devices.

That said, the success of the V20 is far from assured. Aside from sporting Nougat, Its key features are high-quality audio and video recording, a removable battery and a small, always-on second screen at the top of the device.

And none of these are game-changers.

Better audio recording has always been a tough sell. Just ask Nokia, which included it on several of its flagship models.

Removable batteries are nice — and I am sure Samsung wishes it had a removable battery to replace on the Galaxy Note 7 — but they aren’t the draw they once were and often come at the expense of a waterproof design, as is the case with the V20.

Better photography and video capabilities are important, but LG already has a dual-lens rear camera on its G5, which shipped earlier this year. The V20 adds video recording improvements, but may not be enough to please shutterbugs.

Update: At an event in San Francisco on Tuesday, LG executives said that the V20 would be available from all four major US carriers and ship during the third quarter, with exact pricing and on-sale date to be announced in a few weeks.

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