Upon its release back in April earlier this year, LG’s flagship device, the G5, wowed the mobile industry and consumers alike with its clever use of a modular design that allows the handset to have its removable battery swapped out from its bottom part, and attach various cool accessories like a camera grip or an audio converter to switch from digital to analog. In other words, its modular nature gave the LG G5 a versatility never before seen in a major smartphone release.
But fast forwarding to October, it turned out that the LG G5 never really took off with the masses, or at least not as much as LG had hoped. And it looks like the South Korean tech giant is considering changing its approach to the design of its future flagship devices. Indeed, according to a report published by South Korean news website ETNews, it is quite possible that for next year’s successor to the G5, presumably the G6, LG will go for a more standard design, instead of one that is modular.
To be clear about all of this, LG has not confirmed any of this. If there is any truth to this report, then it would look like the South Korean mobile manufacturer will be inconsistent with its earlier statements. Last month, there were reports that the company will continue using the modular design on models following the G5 flagship device, even though the 2015 Android phone never quite generated mind blowing sales.
Moreover, if LG decides to abandon the modular concept for next generation G handsets, it would have an impact on developers and users who have already conditioned their minds to a full modular mode when it comes to mobile use. When the G5 was launched, LG had set up a community page and then conducted a conference in the city of San Francisco in order to push for more innovation in terms of hardware and software all geared for a modular ecosystem. And there are consumers who have already purchased accessories to be used with devices with modular design -- if LG ditches the modular design in upcoming models, the accessories of these users would be rendered basically useless in the future.
Phone makers often have to make a decision between choosing what works (if it ain’t broke, why fix it?) and trying something new. In an ultra competitive smartphone market, any decision could either lead to success or disaster. LG might be at that crossroads now.
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