LG’s telling developers how to make Friends, because more modular phones may be coming

Jeff Van Camp/Digital Trends
The LG G5 is an intriguing phone due to its modular design, where the base can be removed and new, feature-enhancing modules clicked into place. LG knows success will depend on the range of modules that are available, and the ease with which people can not only buy them, but also for developers and other companies to make them. It has held an introductory conference in South Korea to introduce other companies to the concept of modules, at which more about its plans were revealed.

LG talked a lot about a ‘playground’ when the G5 launched, but didn’t really expand on what that meant. According to a report in ET News, this is the name it’ll give to the entire G5 module ecosystem, and it’s hinted that we’ll be seeing more smartphones that work with the modules in the future. Quoting LG CTO An Sueng-kwon, it says the ecosystem needs “to be planned from a long term prospective. The LG Playground won’t just be an event for the G5, but it will also be for products that will be developed in the future.”

Evidence other modular LG phones are coming? Maybe, but before this, the playground will need to be filled with amazing toys.

In April, LG intends to release both software and hardware developer kits for the G5’s modules and accompanying apps. These apps will have to be compatible with LG’s Friends app that comes pre-installed on the G5, and simplifies the connection and operation process for modules. The intention is to make swapping modules on the G5 easy, so they can be enjoyed by everyone.

Modules will be sold through an online store, LGFriends.com, which will apparently operate like an app store, with third-party module sellers splitting revenue with LG. A competition to gather ideas about future modules will also take place in April, says the report. The South Korean-held developer event is just the first, and it’s said LG will hold another in San Francisco in April, ready to encourage international development of modules.

The LG G5 is still waiting for its official release date, and the only two modules announced are the Cam Plus and the Hi-Fi Plus, the former adding an extra battery and hardware camera controls, and the latter a Bang & Olufsen DAC for enhanced audio performance. It would be a significant bonus to see other modules announced when the phone hits stores.

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