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LG working to remove buttons from smartphones

LG Innotek unveiled a fingerprint sensor on May 2 that does not require a physical button to operate. The technology cuts a tiny portion of glass out of the underside of the display, where the sensor is placed, allowing the detection of fingerprints through glass. A technology that could well see its debut on the LG G6.

lg innotek fingerprint scanner lg g6
LG is preparing to ring the death knell on smartphone buttons. / © LG Innotek

Never one to shy away from innovation, LG Innotek announced it is now looking to dispense with the need for buttons on smartphones entirely by placing the fingerprint sensor on the underside of the glass cover.

This idea is not new, however. Qualcomm has been working on something called Snapdragon Sense ID for some time, which uses ultrasonic sound to capture details of fingerprints through glass or even metal, allowing the unit to be placed below the phone's surface. Qualcomm's solution is advantageous in another respect, as well: it captures the image in 3D, making it more secure than current technology.

LG's solution makes no mention of ultrasound, instead appearing to be a more traditional scanner, simply cut into the underside of the glass cover.

AndroidPIT fingerprint sensor
All smartphones currently rely on a physical button to contain the fingerprint scanner. / © ANDROIDPIT

LG Innotek says a furrow of 0.3 mm is cut into the underside of the glass, but they claim it retains its strength, being capable of enduring the impact of small steel ball dropped from a height of 20 cm. 

The advantage of placing the sensor below the glass in this way is two-fold: it allows for sleeker and freer design work, and it also means that devices can more easily be made dust- and water-proof, due to fewer openings.

No word on when exactly the technology is likely to make an appearance in an LG device, but we could well expect to see a buttonless LG G6.


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  • Uhhhh......... looks pretty interesting. Hopehully I'll get used to a buttonless phone fast so I don't look like a caveman living in the 21st century.

  • Anthony 5 months ago Link to comment

    Great idea by LG, we need innovation in today's smartphone world.

  • Mark 5 months ago Link to comment

    I agree with McNeil. LG deserves a big thumbs up with the true innovation they are bringing to the Smart Phone industry. While maintaining all the key feature I like. I will give them the only thumbs up I can Saturday when I buy my G5.

  • Sensors under glass are not always a good thing. The proximtiy sensor of my nexus 5 stopped working properly when the glass above it got cracked.

    What will happen if the glass above the fingerprint scanner cracks?

    • tariq 5 months ago Link to comment

      pretty sure cracking screen will disable the sensor, but scratching the home button or the button breaking does the same thing..

  • perfect smartphone: no buttons, removable battarie, 2xSimcard, sdcardslot' waterproof

  • McNeil 5 months ago Link to comment

    How i wish Sony came up with these futuristic ideas *sigh* all they do is literally copy and paste... I wish LG all the best with this project. Its a game changer *thumbs up*'

  • Alex R. 5 months ago Link to comment

    This seems to be too weird!! we all ready have capacitative buttons !!hope these things are helpful rather than a stupid experiment!

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