​LG to continue modular design for phones after G5

At the heels of the launch of the modular G5 smartphone, LG's mobile chief believes the company can reach the global top three in a few years by continuing the G5 design concept for future phones.

Image: LG

LG took a big risk in launching the world's first modular G5 smartphone at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, and, from the initial reaction, it seems to have paid off.

LG's mobile chief Juno Cho believes the firm will be within the top three within a few years and promised to create a 'fandom' for the company by creating a unique identity and continuing the 5G design concept for future phones.

"If the LG brand finds its place among consumers for its unique identity, within a couple of years, I believe we can become the global third," said Cho at a press conference with Korean journalists at the global tradeshow.

"The duopoly [of Apple and Samsung] has gone on for a long time now in the premium smartphone market but we will establish LG's own identity and create a fandom," said Cho. "Instead of focusing on how many devices to sell, we want to establish ourselves as a meaningful alternative for consumers and become the global third."

South Korea's second-largest electronics maker showed off the G5 on Sunday, a day ahead of the MWC, along with eight compatible devices branded LG Friends. Users can pull out the "magic slot" from the bottom of the G5 and attach the different accessories.

The president promised to lower costs so that the modular model will not be too expensive for consumers. "Because of new components that go in the G5 and LG Friends, there is cause for price to increase but we will control the cost so that we can offer a competitive price. We have to supply Friends, so we are reviewing ways to offer benefits to consumers who purchase bundling offers.

"We want to unveil some part of Friends through third parties. We will apply our modular design for our next model as well as open up to outside developers, so that we can fundamentally evolve the ecosystem," he said.

"We did not plan the modular design from the start. We were mulling over how to offer exchangeable battery, but continuing on that line of thought made us think that modular was possible," said Cho. "It was a difficult decision. But I said, 'Let's do this'. We want to offer consumers fun.

"We want to go a different road than Samsung or Chinese companies."

Kim Hong-joo, vice president of product design at LG's mobile division, also at the conference, said telcos in the US have shown positive reception to the G5. LG will also expand in Europe this year, a market it has been traditionally weak at in smartphones, he added.

LG's 360 VR headset was also unveiled at the tradeshow, the tech giant's first entry into the virtual reality market. The headset weighs 118 grams -- considerably lighter than Samsung's Gear VR.

"The things we need to solve are the weight [of the headsets] and the dizziness caused by using them. The headsets must be under 100 grams -- between 60 to 70 grams I think will be right -- for mass adoption," Cho added.