Modularity is a polarizing concept in the smartphone industry. Most consumers are interested in it because of the novelty and some projected benefits. Most manufacturers are not interested because it destroys their upgrade cycles. Google tried to create a modular smartphone with Project Ara and then shut it down without any real product.
So, for the geeks amongst us, the LG G5 was breath of fresh air! It deviated from the almost universal thin, curved, chamfered rectangular aesthetic of today’s smartphones and gave us something new. Something that felt like a Gameboy with extra cartridges. The promise of versatility and easy upgrades to a smartphone backed by a major OEM was tantalizing!
Alas, curiosity doesn’t translate to sales. While people were interested in the G5, as it turns out, not many of them purchased one. Most reviewers had not-so-nice things to say about its build and refinement. That the add-on modules, called ‘Friends’ weren’t budget-friendly might’ve also been a reason for consumers shying away from it. And then, Motorola came out with a sleeker, sexier and simpler version of a modular smartphone in the Moto Z. So, the G5 sank into the murky depths of our conscious as the year progressed.
Almost a year later, LG has something to say about the successor to the G5, the creatively-named G6. Speaking to The Wall Street Journal at CES 2017, LG’s Chief Technologist, Skott Ahn, confirmed that the LG G6 is coming “in the very near future” but will move away from the modular capabilities of its predecessor. For the G6, LG wants to focus on aesthetics and functionality as consumers aren’t interested in modularity.
We expect LG to announce the G6 at the Mobile World Congress in February, like the G5.
What will LG’s focus on form and function mean for the G6? And how much will it cost us? We will have to wait a month or two to know more.