The LG V30S ThinQ isn't really a new phone, it's an interim step that gives us a big insight into where LG is looking - AI.
Announced at Mobile World Congress 2018, the initial response to the LG V30s ThinQ is one of mild confusion. While rivals Samsung are making a big splash with the Samsung Galaxy S9, LG's offering seems rather muted.
The V30s ThinQ, however, isn't a new phone. This isn't LG's "new" model for 2018: instead, LG's tweak of its existing phone challenges that notion of clockwork updates of devices, with LG instead choosing to boost the V30 and make a move towards AI.
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The V30s ThinQ is the first LG product to market that carries this new approach to AI; like Samsung's SmartThings objective, ThinQ will tie LG products together in the future, allowing them to communicate to form an interoperable smart home network.
The way that you interact with these products might then be Google Assistant or Alexa, and LG is open to the idea of choice, rather than reinventing the wheel.
Choice is what the V30s ThinQ also represents. This is a phone that's only a few months old and that's important to remember when looking at it as a "new" device. Importantly, what it does is give people a boosted version of the phone if they want more RAM or more storage. Should existing V30 owners upgrade? No, because it's not designed as a replacement device.
Turning to the AI element that makes its debut in this phone, the new AI camera is a first step in making the camera smarter. It will scan the scene in front of you and see what it recognises and select a shooting mode for you.
This isn't, however, going to be exclusive to the new version of the phone - it will come to the existing V30 via a software update, so all V30 customers stand to benefit.
We said that the V30s ThinQ challenges the notion of clockwork updates to devices. Many people expected to see a new G series device - the G7. Prior to MWC there were plenty of rumours until LG really set the record straight, saying that it would release a new phone when it had a new phone to release.
New phones are exciting, but there's little sense in releasing a new device for the sake of it. Samsung's Galaxy S8 is a year old, not much really changes in the new device; Sony's Xperia XZ1 was only 6 months old and has been radically transformed for the XZ2. LG is biding its time, rather than just sticking to cyclical expectation.
It plays back to an idea floated by Sundar Pichai - head of Google - when launching the Pixel 2. He said at the time that we were moving into a position where hardware wasn't the big changing factor, but software was, and AI especially. For LG, the V30s ThinQ is very much a manifestation of that reality.
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