LG is opening up the G5's modular 'Friends' to developers

Like to tinker? You can make your own hardware for the G5 with its HDK, or use the SDK to tap into any of LG's Friends.

lg g5 removable battery

The removable battery is pretty easy to swap in and out in the new G5.

Credit: Matt Straus

The world of Android is consistently propelled by its able and willing developers, which is why LG is calling on coders and tinkers to help make new modules for its latest flagship, the G5.

LG announced on Tuesday that it’s opening up the modular functionality of the LG G5 to third-party developers, in addition to the software development kit for a couple of its Friends—namely, the LG 360 Cam and 360 VR. The company will also launch a new marketplace to help developers monetize the G5’s new companion devices.

“The potential of the industry changing LG G5 and the concept of Friends are limitless,” said Dr. Ramchan Woo, Vice President of Smartphone Product Planning at LG. “We believe that by giving developers the same tools that inspired us from LG G5’s inception, we’re going to see innovations ranging from toys to medical tools to things we haven’t even thought of ourselves.”

The story behind the story: Making modules for the G5 is not as easy and transparent as it sounds. LG will have to vet each piece of hardware before it goes into production, which could make it a tough sell to developers. It’ll be easier to get tinkerers on board with the SDK, since all it requires is tapping into the existing abilities of the LG 360 Cam and 360 VR. But then again, what if no one buys those accessories?  Will developers still feel an incentive to develop to a subset of users that hardly exists?

Regardless, the company is hopeful it can inspire developers to see the G5 and its Friends as an opportunity for creativity, rather than just another set of devices. It’s even hosting a developer conference in downtown San Francisco this Friday, April 15. Registration is still open if you’re interested and living in the Bay Area. I’ll be there on Friday to scope out how LG’s conceding to developers to get on board with its new development kits.

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