LG releases the world’s first modular smartphone for consumers

LG’s G5 could be a game changer for the company.




A model holds a curved G Flex smartphone by LG Electronics during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona February 24, 2014. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino

The annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, saw LG Electronics show off its first modular smartphone featuring a wide angle lens and a B&O sound system. In a modular smartphone, individual components can be replaced and upgraded independently.

In LG’s G5, a B&O sound system can be added just by sliding in a module into the phone case. Similarly, by sliding in another module, the smartphone can suddenly have a 135-degree wide-angle lens, which then can be operated like a conventional camera.

Interestingly, a controller for operating a drone or a virtual reality headset can also be added.

Of late, smartphone manufacturers are struggling to eclipse one another’s offers with products featuring better cameras, higher resolution screens and faster processors at lower prices.

In the previous quarter, of all the smartphone manufacturers in the world, only two, Samsung and Huawei, saw an increase in sales. Even Apple, saw their sales taking a hit of 4.4%, as per market research firm Gartner.

“Unless LG succeeds with the G5, VR camera and smart accessories, on LG’s old trajectory IHS forecasted LG’s smartphone shipments would decline 3 percent in 2016,” said Ian Fogg, an analyst with IHS Technology.

As per Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight, the G5 could potentially place LG back as a player in the smartphone market.

“In a sea of smartphone sameness, retailers need some differentiated features to talk about,” said Wood.