As unusual rumors go, this is up there with the best of them. According to CNET Korea‘s sources, LG is planning and testing a G5 design featuring an all-metal structure, but with a semi-modular design for removing and replacing the battery.

The LG G5 is expected to be announced right before MWC next month, after the company sent out invitations to press for an event on February 21st in Barcelona.

If the rumor is true, it seems the Korean manufacturer is keen to follow the current trend of launching a slim, metal unibody flagship. Unlike most other manufacturers, it wants to do so without sacrificing the convenience of having a removable battery.

It’s claimed that — unlike pretty much every phone on the market — the LG G5’s battery won’t be removed by taking off a plastic rear shell. Rather, LG is looking in to building in a detachable bottom edge, and has prototyped a drawer which slides in and out from the bottom of the device. CNET Korea published a couple of images based on what they heard from their sources, and it’s incredibly intriguing, to say the least.

From the report it seems as though LG has been testing a few different approaches and is apparently settled on the method not involving a battery ‘drawer’. Rather, it’s allegedly decided to go with the completely free battery method, where the bottom detaches and allows you to pull out or install the battery freely.

Detaching the bottom edge would be achieved by pressing/sliding the two buttons or catches near the bottom edge, on the left and right edges, above the point where the detachable part is joined to the device.

If LG does pull this off, it would be a pretty big deal for the smartphone market. We’ve never seen a solid unibody metal-framed phone with a removable battery. Sony, Huawei, Samsung, HTC, Motorola and Apple are among some of the most well-known brands with unibody flagship phones without removable batteries.

This could well be the ‘Holy Grail’ of smartphones for some buyers who want the flexibility of a removable battery, but also want the premium design and build quality of a slim, unibody phone.

If the basic 3D renders are realistic, we could also see LG ditching its trademark rear-placed volume and power buttons too. Instead, it appears that we’ll see a camera with dual LED flash and laser autofocus and a fingerprint sensor on the back, with the volume rocker on left edge side. Interestingly, the fingerprint sensor is rumored to double as a home/sleep/power button.

Granted, this entire rumor seems a little far-fetched, and there’s always a chance that LG decides not to go with it. Personally, I worry about such a design’s durability. Surely, having a detachable bottom edge would increase the chances of  damaging the smartphone. Whether that’s because the catches holding the detachable part are damaged when dropped, or the internals are damaged by  moisture or dust/lint which get in through the small gap.

If LG has really nailed this design, and made it super solid using some innovative methods of keeping the bottom portion (or drawer) attached, this could be incredible. If not, it’s just another failed attempt by LG to innovate in an overly saturated market place. That is of course, if this is even true. It seems very unlikely.

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