Was the LG G5 Modular Phone a Smart Move?

February 21, 2016

LG modular phone text with light bulb image

I think that LG did a smart move and thought outside the box, literally. I think we have nothing to complain about, LG did innovate, and for it is very important and bold move that can move this industry forward. LG did hint about the boredom that the mobile industry has gone into. It wanted to breathe new life into the dreary existing mobile phone’s world, and I think that the intro movie shows that. 

LG probably did it research and seen that the mobile market is starving for innovation and something new. It’s also really important for LG to innovate in order to compete in this very competitive market. Samsung, Sony and HTC won’t make it any easier, and if there is a good time to start innovating, it’s now. We all see how all the phone manufacturers has bored us with sequential updated and boring features that nobody really uses, maybe on the first day you buy the phone.

I also think that this Modular design also shows LG incapability to innovate inside the box, so it turns out to manufacturers to come up with innovative modules that can extend the phone’s functionality. We can also see whether it is really the case when we see what the other manufacturers are going to show us in MWC 2016. Maybe the technologies that could innovate upon the currently used technologies just are not ready for their prime time and are still too expensive to produce. Maybe we need a few more cycles until we see a more innovative in-phone hardware components that can really change something. The curve display was cool, but that’s it. The dual-camera setting is useful, but we still don’t get an optical zoom in a small slick phone. If it was easy and cheap to implement, all phone would have had it by now. There is a big talk about a flipping display, but this technology seems like years away to be implemented in consumer products.

So there are still areas that can be improved, and we can’t really say that the innovation is over, because innovation can be right around the corner. The modular phone is not a new technology, but it’s the first time LG is actually doing it in its mobile phones. Until MWC 2016 is over we won’t know whether LG’s competitors went in the same direction or not. I think that this would be LG’s unique feature at the end of the day.

What LG did with its G5 modular phone is to allow 3rd party manufacturers to create modules that can connect to the phone either externally (wirelessly) or internally to the battery socket. I am not impressed with all the external devices because they should work with any Android device unless they have designed exclusively to the G5. In that case, I can’t see those modules survive because the target market would be relatively small. It’s better for mobile accessory developers to develop accessories that are compatible with many Android devices, instead of aiming its products to the G5 and future LG high-end phones.

The modules that connect to the G5 phone itself like the LG CAM Plus is a different story. This implementation has several advantages, but the most important thing is that they are complementing the product and act as a atomized unit and they are portable (at least they should be),because they should fit the battery slot. It’s interesting to know how far LG allows the module manufacturers to go with it. Will we just see an extended battery with a few buttons or is there way to come up with something more interesting and innovative to make your phone more useful and enjoyable to use on a daily basis?

In time we’ll get to see whether this technology has stuck or it was just a nice gimmick that will be gone in the next Gx iteration.



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