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LG G5 comes with a ‘Playground of Friends’ to take on Apple’s iPhone

Toning down on the ambition level of Google’s Project Ara, LG made a modular phone that uses “Friends” to accomplish better photography, entertainment and music among other features.

tech Updated: Feb 21, 2016 20:29 IST
Sanshey Biswas
Sanshey Biswas
Hindustan Times
The specifications were the least exciting information about the LG G5. (YouTube)

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2016 is scheduled from 22-25 in Barcelona, Spain. The almost three-decade-old yearly event has become one of the prime dates for mobile companies to make their biggest announcements.

LG and Huawei decided to have their keynote at the same time a day before CES opens. LG livestreamed their keynote on YouTube to loop in everyone on the announcement of their latest flagship, LG G5.

According to reports, LG is still struggling to make its mobile business as big as it’d ideally like. However, home electronics and TVs are where most of the money is coming from. But,with the launch of LG G5, that might not be the situation for long. Taking the lead, Juno Cho (President and CEO of LG’s Mobiles division) shared that he felt the excitement for phone had died down and other accessories like drones, virtual reality and 360-degree photos were stealing the show. So, LG built a phone that could do all that and more.

Toning down on the ambition level of Google’s Project Ara, LG made a modular phone that uses “Friends” to accomplish better photography, entertainment and music among other features.

The LG G5 has a removable battery despite the metal uni-body. The bottom of the phone -- sporting the LG logo -- detaches and a battery slides out with it. At this point, you could just replace the battery or attach the LG CAM PLUS module that claims to give it abilities to take pictures as good as a DSLR camera.

The dual lenses on the G5 give it the ability to take 135 degrees pictures. Considering our vision is only 120 degrees, it must be quite a view. But LG didn’t stop there, the 360 Cam from LG is another “Friend” in the series of accessories and as the name suggests, takes 360-degree pictures. LG didn’t mention if the camera was capable of capturing 360 degree video too.

During the event, Google announced that all 360 photos shared and approved by Street View will be uploaded and saved in their highest definition. Does this mean no more selfies? Not if Kim Kardashian has a say in the matter.

LG take some shots at the clunky VR headsets available on the market for being a pain in the neck and looking a bit over the top. The 360 VR is LG’s addition to the nascent but booming market. The 360 VR weighs under 120 grams and provides 20% sharper images with the built-in screens. It connects with the G5 via the USB Type C port for drawing power and data. LG also claims that it won’t leave you teary eyed after usage.

For the audiophiles, LG brought in expertise from Bang & Olufsen to create the H3 earphones and Hi-Fi Plus module that make high definition audio playback possible.

LG is also working with Parrot, a drone maker, to turn the G5 into a controller that makes flying drones possible with just one hand. Calling it an adventurous theme park in the pocket, LG also had

But the add-on toys aren’t the only feature that caught our eye. One-third of G5’s screen is always on and shows information like time and notification while burning just 0.8% of the battery every hour. LG says we check our phones 150 times a day for notifications and time, and after testing the feature on LG V10, they added ito the G5 as well.

The phone will be available in silver, gold, pink and titan colours with expandable memory and Qualcomm’s best offering -- Snapdragon 820.

The ecosystem that LG is building for its G5 is likely to be hereditary and following versions of the flagship might also be modular. The ecosystem of modules and accessories being built by LG is called Playground and as you may have noticed, that is where LG is excelled by partnering with companies such as Google, Snapdragon, Parrot and Bang & Olufsen.

The friendliest “Friend” from “Playground” has to be Rolling Bot. The adorable Sphero competitor is essentially a ball with a camera that connects to your WiFi at home. You can control the bot remotely using the G5 and make sure the TVs, ACs are turned off (using the IR blaster on the bot) while keeping your pet from feeling lonely at home.

LG has promised that the phone will be launched in key market simultaneously along with the Playground of Friends but stayed mum on the price.

First Published: Feb 21, 2016 20:26 IST