The annual smartphone release schedule has over the last few years settled down to routine. There’s Apple iPhone announcements, Google’s Nexus and Android and the annual Mobile World Congress announcements from Barcelona. MWC doesn’t officially kick off until Tuesday but LG has just announced their new phone and line up and there’s plenty to talk about.
LG’s G5 was well leaked and turned out to look exactly as was expected with a full metal body but with a bottom draw that slides out. This draw lets you plug in extra components such as batteries, speakers or camera lens. LG’s emphasis was less on the phone and more on the extra accessories that the modular design could use. The LG GCam Plus is an external module that adds battery and physical controls and focusing abilities. The Hi-Fi Plus adds advanced audio processing to 32 bit DAC, works as an amp and was made with Bang and Olufsen.
Other external accessories include the LG 360 Cam is a 360 camera for stills and videos which is blessed by Google to add images to Streetview. The LG 360 VR is a pair of VR glasses that the G5 plugs into to run and only weighs in at 115g. The LG Rolling Bot is an robot built into a ball that lets you monitor your home, play with your pets or control your tv. The LG Smart controller is a clip on controller that lets you control a drone – Parrot demonstrated it working. Finally there was a cliff hanger previewing an action camera but no details.
Other features that showed up on the G5 were an always on screen that shows the time, a camera with a dual wide angle lens that shows a total of 135 degrees, microSD slot, USB-C, Quick -Charge 3.0, 4 colours and 4 gigs of Ram.
The announcement was very interesting less because of the G5 itself – although it’s a very nice looking and well specced phone – but more for the family of devices that LG is looking to create around it. LG emphasised how simple it would work together and is clearly making a play to be something for the average user rather than techies.
Time and the unannounced cost will tell if they succeed but they get points for innovation and creating something that looks genuinely new and exciting.