LG basically just shot for the moon with the new G5, but that's not all the company's been working on. There's a fascinating spate of accessories to go with the phone, though what's really weird is how LG is characterizing them. They're not just accessories -- oh, no. They're "friends."
It might sound kind of schlocky, but LG's sticking with this Friends branding to denote devices that extend what their phones are capable of without much in the way of setup headaches. And, in fairness, some of these devices are properly cool. First up is LG's own VR headset (and who didn't see this one coming?).
It's not stereoscopic, and therefore not quite as immersive as other headsets (Update: we were told at the press event that the headset wasn't stereoscopic, but LG has since confirmed that it is) but it is quite light. Seriously, it's just a shade over 4 ounces and foldable to boot, making it one of the more convenient ways to watch 360-degree video on the subway. It's all because you don't have to slot a phone straight into the front of the thing -- it connects to the G5 with a USB Type-C cable and sports its own 1.88-inch IPS screen with a pixel density of 639ppi. Everything available for Google Cardboard will work just fine on it, as well as everything you shoot on another Friend, the LG 360 Cam.
The 360 Cam uses two 13-megapixel camera sensors to capture video, though you'll be hamstrung a bit by the paltry 4GB of internal storage (unless you toss in a microSD card). Sound is just as crucial to immersion, so the Cam is kitted out with three microphones to create 5.1 surround sound to go with that sweet 2K video. Alas, the unit LG had on hand to play with didn't sync with my demo G5, but some test footage viewed on that VR headset came out nice and crisp. Of course, passing around a headset can be a little tedious — thankfully, you can upload the resulting footage to YouTube 360 and even Google's Street View to more easily share it with friends and far-flung loved ones.
Easily the weirdest of the initial Friends lineup is the Rolling Bot, a bowling-ball-size remote-controlled robot that likes to toot around the house and make BB-8-style squeals. No, seriously. Beyond the inherent cute factor, it'll capture 8-megapixel photos and video of your pets while you're toiling away at work. And if you get incredibly homesick, you stream that video via WiFi straight to your G5, just to make sure no one is breaking in and trying to steal your connected robo-orb. If you've got the right LG appliances, the Rolling Bot can control those, too, though the entire package is dependent on how robust your home connection is. While demoing the thing with LG — where it mostly just rolled all over the place — the Bot eventually refused to move, despite the handler's phone being right next to it. Hopefully, these issues get ironed out before launch, alongside the G5 in April (in certain markets, anyway).