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LG brings interchangeable 'Friends' modules to flagship G5 smartphone

Matt Hamblen | Feb. 22, 2016
Concept was born two years ago when LG saw smartphone growth slowing

Other G5 accessories LG announced include an LG 360 Cam, a spherical camera to capture 360-degree still shots and VR (Virtual Reality) content, as well the LG 360 VR, a stylish, light-weight virtual reality headset that Woo described as "not nerdy." The accessories are not modules that slide into the phone; they work via Bluetooth.

The emphasis on smartphone as a device for play started at LG at least two years ago, said Kenneth Hong, an LG global director of communications, when LG began realizing that sales growth was slowing and that buyers needed more incentives to upgrade.

"We knew this plateau in smartphone popularity was coming and the growth would someday come to a screeching halt," Hong said. "We knew if it was just a matter of more megapixels in a display, it wouldn't matter much. We're coming on 10 years since the first iPhone and that's a pretty long time. We knew we would have to change the conversation and that the discussion had to go beyond hardware.

"Talking technology and specs is a fool's game," he added, stressing that LG wants to emphasize usability, flexibility and convenience.

In fact, the G5 does offer conventional hardware improvements, like a faster Snapdragon 820 processor. There's also the "always-on" feature, which announced earlier.

Woo said that the emphasis on play with the G5 could help the company move into the top five-ranked smartphone makers in the world. The company now has about 5% of the market, but wants to double that, Hong said.


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