LG might lose its ‘Friends’



LG V20 and LG G5 side by side

If the latest reports are to be trusted, LG isn’t going to push the modular design of the G5 on its flagship smartphone next year. That’s bad news for anyone invested in the system, and the company itself, of course. Actually, the whole plan may have failed as soon as it was drawn up.

The Electronic Times broke the news that the Korean company is cancelling its plans of a modularized design on its next flagship device, presumably called the LG G6, after a string of misfortunes following the release of the G5.

Let’s list down what we know: It met with disappointing sales just when LG badly needed an instant money maker; executives in charge of the G5’s development were removed a few months later; and users who bought into the idea of the phone’s modularity didn’t even bother to purchase any “Friends.”

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The third fact is the biggest hit on the G5. According to the report, LG didn’t see the expected results because add-on components weren’t really wanted. For users, there was never any compelling reason to add expensive accessories to a smartphone that already matched every other top-end handset spec-for-spec.

And that’s the thing about smartphones these days; consumers want a gadget that works to its full potential out of the box, with the latest operating system and without any added complications.

Modular ecosystems have always been a tricky affair. Doing too much flushes it down the drain before even launching, and executing a smart yet untested plan yields poor long-term gains, like in the case of the LG G5.

The irony with the G5’s Friends is that they aren’t exactly friendly to interact with. Popping the phone’s chin and snapping out a part involves turning the entire device off and wearing out the metal frame over time. We demonstrated the process in our unboxing video:

Modularity done right goes all the way back to 1998. It’s easy to forget, but the Nokia 5110 had a removable battery that acted as the rear cover, and could be exchanged for units that provided vibration functionality or additional energy capacity. The feature phone sold exceedingly well, which eventually led to the release of the even more successful Nokia 3210 and 3310.

Lenovo-owned Moto did its homework before launching the semi-modular Z series. The Moto Z, Z Force, and Z Play have a similar concept to the old Nokia, wherein the attachments could be inserted on the back without removing something first or powering the phone off.

While the modules are still quite expensive, they’re very user-friendly and work on up to three handsets at the moment, which is three times what LG is offering. In addition, Moto promises a long-term commitment to the platform, and that’s what early adopters want to hear.

LG V20 and LG G5 with removable batteries

LG V20 and LG G5 with their removable batteries

Despite the rumors, LG’s decision to ditch its ambitious plans isn’t much of a surprise, especially if you followed the progress of the V20.

As soon as the follow-up to last year’s surprise hit, the V10, was announced without any modularity to speak of, LG’s Friends were already assumed to be dead.

What’s strange is how the V20’s slogan mimics that of the G5’s marketing campaign: “Life’s good when you play more.” It makes a lot of sense when you think about the G5’s ability to play more with its Friends, but it’s strange to see the same line attached to the V20.

With only a removable battery to toy around with, it feels like someone forgot to update the marketing materials — or maybe, Friends compatibility was originally planned for the V20, before all the bad news came in.

We talked about how this development is a big blow for the tech giant’s image, and that backtracking on features has never ended well for smartphone brands. Commitment to a proven program resonates with consumers, even more than delivering next-level innovation, as shown by the incredible fortitude of Apple’s iPhone brand.

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It’s clear that LG is still worried about losing trust from both its fans and hardware partners. By giving up on a big-time strategy less than a year in, not only will the company sacrifice a lot of hype for its next major announcement, but also scrap lots of useless components designed for the G5’s system and its future iterations, leading to tons of electronic waste.

To LG’s fortunes, the V20’s primary rival is out of the running for phone of the year. So while Samsung’s smaller flagship is carrying the brand until early 2017, the larger and far newer LG phablet is a top pick for anyone looking for a smartphone beyond 5.5 inches in display size. It helps that fellow competitors HTC and Sony aren’t bringing their A-games this year.

Looking back, you have to applaud LG for trying something new for each of its flagship. From the high-powered Optimus G and series-defining G2, to the bendable G Flex and rugged V10, no other smartphone manufacturer has ever taken more risks than the Korean brand.

ET’s report ends with the possibility of the upcoming G6 coming with features “not seen before in previous LG smartphones.” Banking on recent history, we have no reason to doubt LG’s ability to materialize its imagination.

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Editors' Choice

Best of 2019: Our choices for the best games

Remasters, remakes, realism, and returns



It’s safe to say that the year 2019 was the year of comebacks and realism in video games. The age of technology truly dawned upon many of our longtime favorites, even those from our childhood.

As we wrap up the year, let us recognize the games that truly made their mark. These are our picks for the best games of 2019!

Apex Legends

As Fortnite: Battle Royale made its claim as the best free-to-play battle royale game, EA and Respawn Entertainment dropped the bomb. In one bold sweep, Apex Legends stood out from the rest of the competition. Incorporating battle royale gameplay with hero classes, no fall damage, and vast terrains. What made this game even more unique was its relatively strict adherence to team-based matchmaking.

Other features players lauded over for this game included customization options for heroes and weapons. Also, every new in-game season brought with it new heroes, new maps, and its version of limited-time modes (LTMs). Overall, Apex Legends stacked up as a formidable player for competitive battle royale games this year.

Devil May Cry 5

There’s always a way to make action games real fun, then there’s Devil May Cry 5 fun. This game gives you full freedom over your approach towards combat with a full range of attacks. This, on top of simple level design across the story, superb character design, and an interesting storyline makes it a great game.

Where Devil May Cry 5 mostly shines through involves the storyline and its combat mechanic. While going through a half-day story behind the motives of the characters, you learn more about their movesets. In understanding how their combat styles work, creativity and freedom kick in — enriching the story in your own way.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

The studio that brought you Dark Souls gave you another controller-smashing addition to the franchise. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice features the painstaking, heart-stopping action you need, with the difficulty to show for it. Apart from exploring the wonderful scenery of ancient Japan, it details the fable of the Shinobi.

Despite the obvious and infuriating difficulty spike, gameplay is rich filled with fighting. Not only that, but several features such as faster means of traversal, stealth, blocking during combat shine bright. It’s a must-have for anyone looking to challenge themselves in the most extreme way possible.

Mortal Kombat 11

The Mortal Kombat series has come a long way from its 2D arcade days of the 90s. The classic gore-style fighting game introduced refreshed gameplay and fighting tactics fit for combo-savvy gamers. All while staying true to its basic combat form of punching, kicking, and blocking — and finishing your opponent in the most horrifying way possible.

The gore around the latest iteration of the franchise has not changed. Brutality is put under the spotlight with several added features to compensate. In essence, Mortal Kombat 11 serves the public once more with all the brutal fatalities and crushing blows. And who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned “fatality” to cap off a stress-filled day?

Days Gone

Surviving a zombie-infested wasteland in the United States with very few humans is one scary sight. Days Gone completely furthers that, and adds a little bit of factions and territories in between. This game is one true reflection of how one simple plague can turn one entire region of a country into an abandoned wasteland.

Combat and stealth become your best friend, along with Deacon’s trusty motorcycle. Zombie encounters vary depending on size and scale, all of which pose their own challenges. With a wide selection of weapons and vehicle upgrades, surviving the world of Days Gone seems all too easy.

Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled

On its 20th anniversary, Crash Team Racing made a glorious comeback. Apart from enhanced graphics and designs from the polygonal original, Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled ushered in several new and repackaged features. Also, the once-believed PlayStation exclusive branched out to two more platforms, increasing the player pool in the process.

Since its release, major characters across Activision’s biggest remasters within the last three years have been included in this game. New features, including new maps and customization options served as a great way to reintroduce a beloved racing game to the new generation. This, on top of numerous nominations puts this remake among the top racing games for 2019.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

All while technically an expansion of Monster Hunter: World, Iceborne drops such big a hammer that it borders the line of being a full-fledged successor. The game brings a new story, more monsters in the overworld, improved gameplay — that makes it the ideal suggestion for first-timers. 

Other major improvements for longtime fans include new gear, fast-paced upgradability, and new fight mechanics. It’s as if Capcom went haywire putting so many improvements, but it all paid off. All these improvements contribute to a richer storyline and wider world to explore even for new players. 

Borderlands 3

On the basis of pure hype, Borderlands 3 did its due diligence with all of its fans. For months in 2019, tease after tease rolled out, garnering the attention of the franchise’s rabid fanbase. When the game finally came out, it certainly made the long wait truly worth it.

The fast pace shooter game delivered its brand of insane action while improving key aspects of its gameplay. Not only that, you even get the classic art design and the insane amount of weapons at your disposal. It’s a joy to play through the game in its full glory, that you will be willing to start from scratch over and over again.

Untitled Goose Game

Face it, when this game first came out, it seemed like mere child’s play. The Untitled Goose Game had one very simple mechanic: you’re a goose hellbent on annoying the human race for your enjoyment. However, it’s the comedy behind the madness that allowed this game to truly flourish — most especially, its meme quality.

The game takes you through mere mundane tasks, but actually presents a difficulty curve to them. When you feel frustrated towards the game, the goose can release those feelings for you through honking. It presents a cathartic escape from everyday life, even if the premise seems so childish. So much so, that people all over the world made memes from the game.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

For years, the Call of Duty franchise produced significantly better versions of their games. With this latest iteration of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward decided to revisit the drawing board. The end result was some excellent weapon action and customization, questionable map design, and steady gameplay across all game modes.

Online multiplayer still became the star of the show for 2019’s Modern Warfare. Weapon customization, alongside hefty gameplay with your friends keeps things real interesting. Despite map design that hampers team strategies most of the time, a fun mix of combat and teamwork can go a long way.

Death Stranding

Although a recent release, Death Stranding had proven to cross the boundaries of apocalyptic reality and socio-political discourse. Kojima Productions’ latest masterpiece tackles the concept of nationhood for a country divided and wiped out instantly. Apart from the deep storyline, the gameplay is just as realistic as you imagine it to be.

You go through an eternity of trials in an attempt to unite the country once more. For the most part, you are traversing through dangerous lands whichever way to look or turn. And yet, it finds a way to calm you down when a baby in a capsule stresses you out. For a relatively late 2019 release, it’s certainly a title worth putting up there with the best.

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Stay Cozy: 5 best places to visit during winter

Channel your inner Queen Elsa or Jack Frost!



Photo by Jason Briscoe

Winter is here. From December to March, the Northern Hemisphere faces the coldest time of the year. For some people, winter is hellish. It’s brutally cold, bulky outfits make it hard to move; landscapes feel robbed of colors, and the sun barely shows itself.

However, some people enjoy the freezing season — especially those who live in tropical countries wanting to experience snow at least once in their lifetime. It’s also a time where people get closer and warmer. If you’re looking for a place to enjoy winter, here are the top places to go.

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki is Finland’s capital. Many people visit the country to embark on a Nordic tour and see the northern lights. Little do they know, there’s a chance to see the famed northern lights in the country’s capital, especially in February and March from 9 PM until 1 AM.

Aside from spending long nights outdoors, Helsinki is a beautiful place to go sightseeing during winter. Make sure to visit Helsinki Cathedral, Helsinki Museum, Helsinki Central Library and walk around Sibelius Park and Esplanade Park. If you’re in for some coffee, visit Fazer Café and Café Regatta.

Don’t forget to visit a sauna — one of the top things to do in the city — to get a real feel of Helsinki. Drop by the Allas Sea Pool.

Where to stay: Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel

Radisson Blu Plaza is a historical hotel near Helsinki Central Station with a Finnish-designed interior making you feel like you’re in a set from an early 1900’s movie! Book here.

Quebec, Canada

People flock to Quebec to visit Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Who wouldn’t want to? Old Quebec is a remnant of history; a piece of life from centuries ago, immortalized through design and architecture. However, Quebec has its charms that make people explore more of its secrets and wonders.

When in town, make sure to walk along Terrasse Dufferin and bask in a spectacular view of Saint-Lawrence river. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also visit Plaines d’Abraham and do some skiing and skating. Don’t forget to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate from La Maison Smith.

Lastly, Quebec has events you shouldn’t miss if you’re in town for winter. There’s a German Christmas Market in December and Carnaval de Québec in February.

Where to stay: L’appartement GLOBETROTTER

L’appartement is a spacious and bright BnB with a private roof terrace, located in Saint-Roch district. Stay here.

Sapporo, Japan

Sapporo is popular as it is one of the snowiest cities in the world. It’s also a vibrant city — even in winter — as it presents a lot of activities for every tourist. Go ahead and embrace your inner child: play in the snow, adme ice sculptures, and ride snowmobiles, especially during the Sapporo Snow Festival.

If you love beer, you probably know Sapporo as a beer brand — another reason to visit the city. Sapporo has been brewing beers since the late 1800s and people come to the Sapporo Beer Museum for beer tasting. Beer fan or not, Sapporo in winter is a beautiful place to visit in groups. Who’s in for long nights drinking beer with your friends and/or with fellow travelers?

Don’t forget to book an onsen for a warm and relaxed trip!

Where to stay: Sapporo Station BnB

Sapporo Station BnB is a charming, tatami-styled, budget-friendly BnB located next to a subway station. Stay here.

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul is a wonderful destination during winter. There are a lot of things to do both indoors and outdoors that it’s impossible not to love this city even in cold.

For those willing to brave the cold, stroll around Gyeongbokgung Palace, ice skate at Seoul Plaza and Yeoui Ice Park, eat winter street food like tteokbokki (rice cakes with spicy red chili paste), hotteok (Korean pancakes with nuts and honey), and gyeran bbang (steamed bread with egg), and of course, experience snow everywhere!

For indoor dwellers, visit quirky and themed cafés or warm up with some hot cup of tea from teahouses in Insadong.

Where to stay: Hanok Guesthouse Mon Oncle a Seoul

A Hanok is a traditional Korean house popular among tourists. Hanok Guesthouse Mon Oncle a Seoul is well-loved by travelers due to its great location and remarkable sunset views. Book here.

New York City, United States of America

Popular all-year-round, New York unravels a different personality and charm during winter. It’s a winter wonderland for most people, hosting larger-than-life celebrations and making everything big and loud.

When you’re in the city for Christmas, make sure to rock on some coats and scarves while ice-skating with a date or someone special in Rockefeller Center or at Wollman Rink. Take a stroll along Hudson’s Warren Street and through Central Park.

Other than that, New York hosts a lot of tradition and events during winter like the New Year’s Eve ball drop, Lunar New Year parade, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, New York Fashion Week, and NYC Broadway Week.

Where to stay: Walker Hotels Tribeca

Walker Hotels Tribeca is an artistic and aesthetically-pleasing hotel situated at a great location that will help you get anywhere around New York. Book here.

Stay Cozy is a series on GadgetMatch.com where we feature travel destinations with guides on things to do, sights to see and a highlight on the places we can book in advance to show that technology makes planning your trips easier.

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Samsung: ‘We’re more secure than any other brand’

Your data is safe



The digital age ushered an era where cybersecurity issues pose a threat to our personal safety and big risks in businesses and the economy. As if the world isn’t cruel, violent, and scary enough, we’re all forced to stay on our toes and double up our guard.

Several data breaches and news about tech companies spying on us has been alarming to say the least. “Is our data still safe?” is the common question among concerned individuals.

Recently, the CxO Innovation Summit 2019 — a data and security conference held by VST-ECS Philippines — was mounted in Boracay. GadgetMatch had an exclusive interview with executives from Samsung Global and Samsung Philippines.

Samsung’s series of unfortunate events

In a press conference, Samsung discussed its attempts to protect its consumers’ data. Samsung recently faced a series of unfortunate mishaps concerning security and privacy, causing concerns among its loyal customers.

Samsung Mobile B2B Asia’s Corporate VP and Chief Revenue Officer David Kim stated how Samsung isn’t the only one that suffered from malicious attacks. He reiterated how the company uses Knox as a security measure along with its authentication factor. Kim explained, “You can only control the hardware, software, and who access the phones.”

The executive added, “There are also Wi-Fi and networks. If someone can sneak in your network, they can sneak in your email.”

Samsung believes they’re more secure than any other brand. Kim confidently claimed to GadgetMatch, “We don’t have a perfect security rating, but we are well received. That’s why the White House is comfortable with us.”

Amidst the issues surrounding the company, Samsung also took pride in how they’re one of the few companies that organically make their hardware components and develop their software.

Knox makes the difference

Samsung’s Product Manager Anton Andres supported the claims, stating how Samsung’s Knox sets them apart. “The main difference is the Knox platform. It has two components: Platform security and the solutions we offer in the market like Knox Manage and Knox Configure.”

The young executive demonstrated, “Knox Platform is embedded on a smartphone. At first, it was just a security platform that automatically encrypts and decrypts information every time you boot up the device.”

Andres further explained how the Knox Platform has multi-layers of security. “First is the hardware chip. If a device — like a Samsung Galaxy S8 — was compromised and reset, Knox automatically blows the fuse.”

“If you have corporate or personal info, your data is automatically wiped, preventing any data leakage and security risks.”

Be careful of what you download

Similar to Huawei’s warnings, Andres warned about downloading third-party apps and keyboards. Though it may customize your keyboard to your liking, it can compromise your security. Andres believes the challenge is the keyboard loggers, which sends your credentials to third-party servers every time you put your credentials.

“If you access your mobile banking credentials on a third-party keyboard, they can phish your information,” Andres said. “With Samsung Knox, we identify specific applications and URLs. Once identified, Knox automatically hides your information to prevent potential threats.”

Currently, Samsung is constantly updating the Knox Platform and its security solutions. Recently, the Samsung Galaxy A50s highlighted Knox. The Korean company is also looking for more ways to make Knox easily understandable for everyday consumers. Presently, the Knox Platform is limited to Samsung devices while Knox Solutions are compatible with Android, Windows, and iOS.

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