The LG “Magic Slot”…It’s Not What You Think

You’d think that marketing companies would spend a little more time doing their homework. I’m reminded of Alphabet/Google recently naming their subscription YouTube service as none other than “YouTube Red”. A very simple play on the words there and you end up with “RedTube”, which is one of the oldest and most popular free porn sites on the Web. Not that I have a problem with RedTube, but somehow I don’t think parents would want their kids confusing YouTube with that service. This sort of thing happens all the time, with even the biggest of companies.

One such large company is LG, and I think they recently made quite the naming flub. The LG G5, which is a smartphone that people are excited about (and considering that the G4 had an amazing camera, and is the last flagship phone to have a MicroSD card slot AND a removable battery, it’s understandable excitement if the G5 keeps the same), is going to have a rather rare and unique feature: It’s called the “Magic Slot”.

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The purpose of this Magic Slot is to similar to the Google-acquisition known as Project Ara, which is a smartphone that allows you to switch out features and parts to have a heavily customized phone. Are you interested in having more battery life, but aren’t interested in a having a rear camera? Take off the camera and insert a secondary battery. That’s how Project Ara works. As far as the Magic Slot for the G5, if you want to put in a more powerful speaker, or a more powerful flash bulb for your photos? Just put them into the Magic Slot. And that’s how it will work, as far as we know. And I think customizable hardware for smartphones is a great thing. I support this direction for mobile devices, and obviously LG (and Google) see it as a serious future for the industry. I want to be able to add more storage space, and if the Magic Slot allowed for a secondary battery…oh man, it might be worth grabbing a G5 for that, especially if the Magic Slot is hot-swappable so that you can switch out add-ons without having to turn off the phone.

To many, LG’s G series is the last great flagship smartphone, and if they can pull off the unfortunately named Magic Slot technology, they may make it the last flagship worth buying. $600-$800 phones are otherwise meaningless today when you can get octa-core equipped smartphones for only $100. In the Android space, it’s a race to the bottom, and if you want consumers to pay a premium for something, it better have a feature that the world has yet to hold in its hands, and Magic Slot is certainly that when it comes to smartphones. And I think at a time when the rumors are high that Apple is removing features like the headphone jack, Android phone manufacturers would be wise to pull off what PC manufacturers did to Apple in the 80s and 90s: Make their systems user-configurable with more ports and features (as compared to Apple which was closing off their systems from user-configurability in the 80’s).

As far as what specifications are known for the LG G5 coming this year are as follows:

  • 5.3-inch 1440p display
  • A secondary screen on the front (much like LG’s V10)
  • Two rear-facing camera that allows for 135-degree captures, and a front facing camera
  • A fingerprint sensor
  • Supposedly an iris scanner
  • 2800mAh battery (which is smaller than the G4’s)
  • Snapdragon 820 octa-core processor
  • 3GB of RAM

Not bad, though I wish it didn’t have the fingerprint sensor or iris scanner since biometrics in any shape or form are pispoor for security. But anything this phone may be missing can just “fill the Magic Slot” and the phone should be feature complete for anyone, all thanks to the Magic Slot. But, boy, that name decision…

Of course there’s the chance that this marketing mistake of the “Magic Slot” could in itself be an advertising stunt. While everyone is comparing it to the Hitachi “Magic Wand”, or people are cracking jokes about the putting your hands on the “Magic Slot”…LG is laughing all the way to the bank with the free advertising for an idea that I actually think is a good one.

While as it stands I wouldn’t recommend purchasing the LG G5, even for the initial reason that what even power users actually do with a smartphone can be easily served by phones that (just guessing) cost 1/3 the price. The Magic Slot may be intriguing, and I love the idea, but its viability will depend on what accessories LG makes for the Magic Slot, or if the Magic Slot is proprietary, and hopefully not, that way it can take anything from anyone…err…company. But while the LG G4 could be a Dark Android Project-styled device, it is unclear if the G5 can be.

And what a ridiculous name for the technology.

Carpe lucem!

 

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