LG Friends are exactly why you should think twice before adopting early


In news that should have shocked very few people, all signs point to LG discontinuing its “Friends” line of accessories for the LG G5. This is disappointing on many levels – it would seem LG’s modular experiment is dead, leaving Moto as the last phone standing in that particular contest. It also brings an end to the line of accessories that had the cutest name – teehee “Friends” – that was both fun and really hard to take seriously. But more importantly, it brings to a stop the hope that LG G5 owners might have had for the future. Take a look at your phone right now. That’s the same phone you’ll have a year from now.

But honestly, is that really that much of a problem? Rejoining the other 99% of the smartphone toting population? Maybe it’s not the worst thing, but it’s certainly not what some LG G5 owners paid for. They were intrigued by the possibility of modular phones, even if it cost them a reboot every time. But this article isn‘t really about LG G5 owners. It’s about those brave souls that traverse the rough waters ahead of the masses; the scouts before the invading army. Early adopters provide us all a great service and it’s them who should be remembered and thanked.

Trying things out

After all, LG was going out on a limb with the G5. Modular smartphones are an attractive concept, but they’re also a lifestyle that needs to be adopted fully, with no room for compromise. You can buy a modular phone and just not swap components, but then, what’s the point? The tech community has been clamoring for a modular phone – ok, maybe “clamoring” is a bit much – but the demand has been there. LG was one of the first to step up and try to meet that demand. In turn LG G5 buyers were the first to try out the concept when it came to light. Neither, I suspect, really got what they bargained for.

On LG’s side, there was much confusion of what friends would be available where and when friends would come out and how much they would cost. Then there was the cost itself – pouring more money into a device that already cost hundreds of dollars. It had to cost that much, because that’s how much components cost, but whether or not it was feasible to ask consumers to pay that much was, perhaps, a bit questionable. Plus, the final implementation of the design was flawed, requiring a reboot every time you switched components. It was never a good idea, from the get go.

Put your money where your mouth is

On the consumer side, early adopters were placing their money and trust into an ecosystem that, as it turns out, didn’t last. This is, at best, very unfortunate. Which brings us to the nature of early adoption. Our own Juan Carlos Bagnell has often called for a third generation of product before you can trust an OEM to fully understand and support that ecosystem. But without early adopters, most projects like this are DOA before the announcement. So, early adopters are taking a major risk that their money will be well spent. But as long as an adopter understands that going in – and most do – then don’t cry for them, Argentina.

Technology is a wonderful field because it seems like, no matter the idea – someone is going to be on board. Kickstarter and Indiegogo are rife with those stories – some of which turn into success stories. It takes a lot of faith to put your money where your mouth is and pony up for a new idea. But for every great idea that succeeds, there are a dozen or more who fail, and a few mixed in there who seemed to have a great idea, but it turned out the idea was garbage. The odds are not in an early adopter’s favor most of the time. The LG G5 only proves that large OEMs are not immune to those odds.

Sound off

Do you have any early adopter horror stories, or success stories to share? Have you ever played the role of early adopter? Did your project succeed? If not, are you upset by its failure? Did you know the risks going in? Sound off below in the comments with your anecdotes, stories, or advice. Then get back to reading – the next project is out there, just waiting for you.

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About The Author
Adam Doud
Adam joined the tech world after watching Jon Rubenstein demo the most epic phone ever at CES 2009. He is webOS enthusiast, Windows Phone fan, and Android skeptic. He loves the outdoors, is an avid Geocacher, Cubs/Blackhawks fan, and family man living in Sweet Home Chicago, where he STILL hosts monthly webOS meetups (Don’t call it a comeback!). He can be found tweeting all things tech as @DeadTechnology, or chi-town sports at @oneminutecubs. Read more about Adam Doud!