LG’s friends, and the rise of the everyware platform

Facebook Messenger isn’t just turbo-texting. It’s a platform.

Android isn’t an operating system. It’s a platform.

Even Barbie can’t just be a doll anymore. Yes, she’s a platform, too (according to the New York Times). *

Why is everyone rushing to platforms?

Because if you own the platform, you shape the user experience, you rake in the royalties and, most importantly, you see the user data.

And, as everyone knows, data is the new oil.

There are two different types of platform: Android is a software platform that lives on your phone, and Barbie is a hardware platform that lives mostly at home.

So, what has LG learned from Barbie?

That’s the question that LG’s latest phone, the G5, answers.

You see, the G5 isn’t a phone. It’s a platform.

There’s a clue in its verbal identity – it has ‘Friends’.

The G5’s friends have less hair than Barbie’s. There’s ‘Cam’, who helps you take better photos; there’s ‘Tone’ (short for Tony), who makes your music pop; and there’s ‘Roly’, a spherobot who helps look after your home and exercise your pets while you’re away.**

LG Mobile’s planning chief, Dr. Ramchan Woo, also gave the G5 its own mission statement: ‘The mission of the G5 is to wake up your play instinct.’***

In our expert opinion, the G5’s verbal identity is refreshing, and it reflects the innovative strategy behind it.

But is this strategy different from the snow-white elephant in the room? Didn’t Apple already do this?

The difference is that Apple own the software (with iOS) and they own the hardware (with the iPad and iPhone), but LG have taken this a step further, by owning the accessories.

It makes you wonder why Apple don’t do this. Sure, they make a range of Magic Accessories for Macs, and there’s the half-hearted battery case for the 6s, but everything else is third-party. And Homekit might be their ecosystem, but the products hardly seem connected to the rest of Apple. It’s odd, for a company founded on the belief that they do things better than anyone else and in Steve Jobs’ words, a company that wanted to own the end to end experience.

Perhaps the profit margins don’t interest them, but LG’s friends aren’t going to be cheap – and it gives them a great route into the growing ‘smart home’ market.

So what kind of platform is this, that’s more closed than an ecosystem, and that marries software, hardware and the IoT?

It’s ‘everyware’. And we’ll see a lot more of it in the next 10 years.


We’re a brand strategy agency who specialise in language. Recently, we’ve helped launch new products for tech startups, global brewers, and boutique cosmetic companies. If you want our help to clarify, define and articulate your brand’s strategy, email Chris.





http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/business/30unbox.html?_r=2&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha26 ]

**Okay, so I made up the names, but they’re based pretty closely on LG’s names.

*** It’s not a great mission statement, but it’s better than no mission at all. Crucially, unlike some other companies, Dr. Woo has realised that ‘If I’m here to just tell you about the numbers, you will not be excited.’