LG has come a long way in the past couple years. It has moved onto the top shelf of the Android world because it builds good stuff and is trying to focus on the user experience. That means things like flexible phones and buttons on the back, but it also means what's on the screen and how it works.
We like a lot of the changes LG has made (and will continue to work on) and there aren't a lot of wrong turns being made. LG needs to keep doing what it's doing, for the most part.
1. Keep working on the interface
A few years ago, I remember talking with Phil about some LG phone. I forget the model, but I do remember we both had the same conclusion — it was a really nice phone with really crappy software. Fast forward a little bit to the LG G2 launch, and Andrew and I had the same conversation.
The G4 was a big change, and things certainly got better with LG's UI and applications. But LG still needs to do more here.
When you offer so many features and options, it's hard to make things simple. It's also hard to design everything so that it looks and acts like it belongs. LG is getting there, but there is still more work to do.
There's nothing wrong with the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach. There are always users who love the feature that you hate. The hard part is making it all work together. LG needs to keep working at it, and keep making it better every year.
2. Out-premium everyone else
I have an LG V10 sitting here in front of me while I write this. I'm vocal about my dislike of the cluttered software, but there are a few things done so much better than everything else that make me use it anyway — the headphone audio and the camera are the the bomb.
You have very good hardware driving it all, and software to make it fantastic. Keep doing this. Keep telling everyone who will listen that you are doing this.
In 2016, the name LG should be synonymous with audio and camera quality. I know you can do it, because it's sitting here in front of me.
3. Look a little harder at what you're building
All electronic thingies have bugs, and there will always be devices that slip through the cracks and have problems. When you make millions of something, that's gonna happen.
But a few things from LG remind us that some serious bugs can slip through testing and end up in the hands of people who aren't equipped to deal with them, and don't want to.
Now that issues with Wifi and the touchscreen have been (mostly) addressed, I would say the G4 is the best bang-for-your-buck high-end Android phone. I wouldn't have said that before they fixed things. And don't get me started on the Urbane 2 LTE ...
4. Resist any temptation to take away the removable battery and SD card slot
I know you're a company who specializes in amazingly dense but flexible batteries. I love that, and I'm fine with a higher capacity fixed battery. But a quick look at the Internet shows that a lot of people aren't.
Your highest-end devices have a back that pops off, a battery that comes out and an SD card slot. If you take that away, Internet pitchforks and torches come out.
Word of mouth is a big deal in the world of tech. Right now, you're the nerd darling. Nerds are the people who recommend products to people who aren't nerds.
I don't care about swapping the battery or removable storage on my phone. But neither hurts my experience. Keep them both.
5. Refine your budget offerings
If you want to make feature-phone replacements, keep doing it. But you need to make a model that fills the gap between the very bottom and the very top. Give us a capable device with at least 16GB of storage, a decent camera, and enough "oomph" to run apps from Google Play.
The old Optimus One was a little beast. It out-performed its price tag, and you sold a whole hell of a lot of them. I used mine until I wore the plastic off the buttons. If you made an Optimus Two using the same thought process, I will send you money. I think the LG Zero is a step in the right direction, just don't stop stepping.
Don't let companies like ASUS and Motorola take a market you can compete in. Power-user-Android-nerds want cheap phones, too.
What do you think LG needs to work on in 2016 and beyond? LG is one of those companies that reads and listens to user feedback. Feed them.