We were sufficiently impressed with what LG is doing with its new G5 flagship smartphone to give it one of our MWC 2016 awards. We’re not as enamored of LG’s decision to call its various G5 peripherals and accessories “Friends,” but in any case, you can snag yourself the phone and many of its pals from U.S. carriers starting in “early April.”
Outlets include the bigs — AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile — as well as U.S. Cellular, Best Buy, Best Buy Mobile Stores and B&H.
LG was vague on the exact dates of the G5’s availability, and it was further unclear on when exactly the Friends will be available. In a press release, the company said, “Select companion devices and sales channels will also be available starting in April.”
The companion devices include the LG 360 VR headset (our “eyes-on” coverage here), a device that seems to fall somewhere between the Gear VR and Google Cardboard devices in terms of quality; the LG 360 Cam; the LG Rolling Bot, which is about as off-the-wall an accessory as we’ve seen; a camera attachment called the LG Cam Plus that gives you several hardware controls; a second battery and charging cradle; and the Harmon Kardon-tuned LG Tone Platinum Bluetooth earbuds.
We had a chance to fiddle with some of the above when we visited LG at Mobile World Congress. In our brief time, we weren’t exactly blown away by the quality, but LG is definitely on to something here: It knows that a smartphone is no longer just a smartphone. To stand out in the market, consumers need more incentive, and the G5’s clever modularity plus LG’s see-what-stick-to-the-wall accessories show that LG understands that.