Each year LG launches a new flagship phone as part of the “G” series, and every year the company seems to approach the smartphone market from a slightly different angle. Last year the LG G4 stood out from the crowd thanks to a slightly curved display, a powerful camera, and a unique design language. This year at Mobile World Congress, the company took the veil off the LG G5, and once again the new model seems to follow a different recipe than its predecessor. The LG G5 features a dual-camera setup, it’s wrapped in metal, and for the first time in the company’s history, the new flagship adopts a modular design. Although not many details have been unveiled at MWC in regards to future expansion modules, LG revealed that it will support third party manufacturers willing to create modules for the new flagship. Today the company announced an upcoming developer conference which will revolve around the idea of creating such third party modules, also known as “Friends”.
When the LG G5 was unveiled at Mobile World Congress last month, the Korean tech giant also presented a couple of modules – or “Friends” as LG calls them – which can be attached to the flagship and enrich the user experience. First, there was the CAM Plus module which includes a battery and offers a wider range of physical controls for the camera, and a Hi-Fi Plus module which takes the form of a 32-bit DAC created by Bang & Olufsen. However, LG’s plans are to create an open ecosystem which will allow third party manufacturers to build modules / LG Friends for the latest flagship. This was confirmed during MWC but no other details have emerged since.
The good news is that according to a recent press release, LG will host a developer conference in San Francisco next month with the purpose of showing developers the ins and outs of building LG Friends modules. At the same time, the company will also release hardware and software development kits for third-party developers willing to invest in LG’s vision of modular smartphones. Hopefully, these modules will expand the flagship’s lifespan, and perhaps even inspire other smartphone makers to create similar modular solutions in the future. Whatever the case may be, it remains to be seen how many third-party developers will be on board with LG’s idea, and what types of interesting modules they can come up with following LG’s guidelines.