Both Samsung and LG announced their new flagship phones for the year, and lo and behold, there’s actually something interesting to discuss. First, let’s get the new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge out of the way: even though they look very similar to the S6 and S6 Edge, Samsung has brought back a few things that many here will like: water resistance, and a microSD card slot. In addition, Samsung has revolutionised the smartphone industry by making the S7 and S7 edge slightly thicker to fit a much, much bigger battery and to reduce the camera hump.
The new LG G5 is more interesting. The phone is, of course, kitted with all the latest processors and RAM and whatever, but at the bottom of the device, there’s a slot that you can use to snap on all kinds of additional hardware.
Two of these new accessories plug directly into the LG G5’s bottom. A small key on the side of the phone pops open its lower section, which can be pulled out along with the battery, then the battery is fitted into the next module and that straps back into the phone. The whole process sounds finicky, but there’s nothing flimsy about the way LG has constructed either the phone, its battery, or the extras, so everything can be done quickly and forcefully. And yes, it really does feel like loading a fresh clip into your gun.
If this reminds you of Handspring’s Springboard, you’re not alone. As with virtually everything in mobile today – everything can be traced right back to Palm.
In any event, as much as I personally always like these kinds of experiments, the problem is that generally, nobody ever builds anything worthwhile for it. These expansion slots always tend to kind of fizzle out, with few actually, really good accessories to ever be released. Which, in turn, raises the question of why you would invest in it in the first pace.
That being said, let’s give it a year or so and see what LG and possible third parties are going to do with this. I like the G5 overall, and the expansion slot is a fun and gutsy move (the fact that it is tells you a lot about the state of the industry, sadly).
As always, be careful with these phones if you care about running the latest Android: flagships or no, updates for these things will be messy.