LG Unveils New Flagship G5 Phone


Nobody is going to complain about smartphones that get zippier and that manage to squeeze out longer battery life each and every year. We surely appreciate phones with improved cameras, too.

And yet you often hear that we’ve hit a roadblock in the space, that phones are lacking true innovation.

Based on first impressions, I don’t necessarily consider LG’s new flagship G5 phone a major breakthrough, though I like what I see, and as with any new handset, I plan to put it through the test to come up with any kind of meaningful verdict. But at least the Korean company is taking a fresh approach, with a phone that carries a “modular” type design. LG unveiled the device here at Mobile World Congress. The thin metal uni-body Android (Marshmallow) device is slated to reach the U.S. in April.

So what exactly is a modular phone? In LG’s case, by pinching a button you can remove a bottom piece of the phone and slide out the battery. That alone is a feature worth applauding because premium metal phones with removable batteries are rare.

Moreover, you can slide in optional modular components, starting what the South Korean company calls an LG Cam Plus camera module. It helps you grip the phone like an actual camera, and has its own dedicated power, shutter, record and zoom buttons. It also supplies extra battery power.

A second module is called LG Hi-Fi Plus with B&O PLAY, and it promises to deliver high-fidelity audio playback. You can use it as a module inside the G5 or connect it to any smartphone or PC, LG says. Bang & Olufsen is teaming with LG on the product.

LG hasn’t announced pricing for any of the modules yet. I’ll be interested to see what developers might do with their own modules in the future, since LG clearly has an ecosystem in mind here.

It’s also worth remembering that Google, through something called Project Ara, has also played up the idea of modular hardware. That effort, which takes a somewhat different approach, has been delayed however.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Edward C. Baig