LG phone expands with bolt-on modules

Media captionLG’s phone has swappable tools that capacitate additional features

LG has announced a modular Android smartphone that can advantage additional functions around appendage parts.

Components are plugged in by pulling off a bottom of a G5 phone and swapping it for an choice unit.

Google is famous to be operative on a modular phone of a own, though a judgment is distant from mainstream.

One consultant pronounced a thought would assistance LG mount out from a rivals, though combined that it was too shortly to know either it would spin around a firm’s fortunes.

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The G5 has a 5.3in (13.5cm) arrangement and removable battery

The organisation also announced new practical existence pack and a remote control drudge during a Mobile World Congress press discussion in Barcelona.

In January, LG reported that a smartphone shipments had depressed by 2% in 2015 notwithstanding a marketplace as a whole flourishing by about 10%.

Plug-in parts

LG suggested dual discretionary modules – that it calls “friends” – alongside a new mobile handset.

One is a 32-bit digital to analogue converter (DAC) done by a audio dilettante Bang Olufsen, that it says creates a phone able of personification sounds during a aloft fortitude – definition song should be some-more minute when listened around good peculiarity headphones or speakers.

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One of a initial modules is called a LG Hi-fi Plus with BO Play

The other procedure is a camera controller that a association says should make it easier for owners to take cinema regulating usually one hand. It facilities a dial for zooming and a symbol to take photos among other controls, and also provides a 40% boost to battery life.

A orator for LG told a BBC a engineers were operative on serve modules, and it hoped other third-party manufacturers would also supplement to a ecosystem.

Switching between modules involves pulling out a phone’s battery and attaching it to a new part. Although this creates a movement some-more fiddly, it does have a advantage that a battery can be simply replaced, distinct in many other handsets.

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The LG Cam Plus procedure adds primer controls for a phone’s cameras and extends a battery life

Another surprising underline about a phone is that it comes with dual camera lenses on a back.

One is a normal lens, while a other creates 135-degree wide-angled shots that LG says offer a incomparable margin of perspective than a tellurian eye or any other smartphone.

This can be useful for capturing landscapes or organisation shots of people. However, a wide-angled photos usually have a fortitude of 8 megapixels – half that of those taken around a other lens.

The phone also has an “always-on display”, that uses partial of a shade to uncover a user a time and notifications though them carrying to arise it up. Despite a name, a arrangement does spin off when a handset detects it is in a pocket.

Virtual reality

LG has also followed Samsung in rising a possess practical existence kit.

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LG’s 360-degree camera works with other handsets, though a VR headset usually supports a G5 during this point

Unlike a domestic rival’s headset, LG’s 360 VR does not use a phone as a shade though rather facilities dual built-in displays of a possess – one for any eye.

The advantages are that a machine:

  • is smaller and lighter than Samsung’s Gear VR
  • can uncover aloft fortitude images, during 638 pixels per inch
  • allows a phone itself to be used as a touchscreen control

LG has nonetheless to announce a price, though has concurred that it will be some-more costly than Samsung’s.

The association also showed off a handheld camera that can constraint 360-degree videos, that can be watched on any VR headset or uploaded to Facebook and YouTube.

Unlike a headset, a camera will be concordant with all phones using Android 4.2 or aloft or Apple’s iOS system.

Image copyright
LG

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LG also denounced a robotic round that can be tranquil by a phone and used to spin off a TV

The final appendage denounced during MWC was a robotic round with a built-in infrared blaster.

This can be tranquil from distant by a smartphone, permitting a user to see and speak to people in their home and control IR-equipped appliances.

‘Potential for innovation’

LG was comparatively late to a smartphone market, usually rising a initial Android handset during a finish of 2009.

Media captionLG combined leather to a pattern of a G4 handset

It is now a world’s sixth best-selling smartphone brand, according to IDC.

However, a investigate firm’s information indicates that LG’s marketplace share forsaken from 4.6% to 4.2% over a march of 2015.

That suggests new attempts to make itself mount out – including charity leather-clad phones and models with winding screens – have unsuccessful to ring with as many buyers as hoped.

One association watcher, however, suggested that a G5’s standout underline had some-more promise.

“There’s really few examples of expandable modules in handsets – Handspring had a Springboard enlargement container [in 1999] for a PDAs, and of march some-more recently there’s Google’s Project Ara,” pronounced Ian Fogg from a IHS Technology consultancy.

Image copyright
Handspring/Google

Image caption

Handspring pioneered appendage modules, and Google’s Project Ara is still experimenting with a idea

“What’s distinguished is that a thought is opposite a categorical bearing of a market, that has been to confederate everything, even a battery, into a phone so zero is removable.

“But there’s a lot of potential. If we can make a phone where a hardware is versatile we open adult some-more opportunities for creation – not only for what we build, though potentially for what others build too.”


Follow all a BBC’s MWC coverage around a “Mobile World Congress 2016″ tab in a news app.

You can also keep lane of a record match Rory Cellan-Jones and a rest of a group covering a Barcelona eventuality via a dedicated Twitter list.

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