LG Electronics has opened the new LG G5, inviting developers to learn about the modular design smartphone and companion devices as an invitation to develop within the LG5 ecosystem. At LG’s fourth annual LG Developer Event, hosted on Friday, April 15 in San Francisco, attendees learned some data points about new software development kit and hardware development kit, as well as from partner companies showcasing a range of hardware, platforms and/or ideas.
The Friday evening event was emceed by Mario Tapia, president of Mobile Monday Silicon Valley and mobile industry pundit, and included “keynote presentations from LG executives involved in LG G5’s product development, SDK and HDK partners, technical demonstrations and breakout sessions. Developers will also learn how to create their own camera control apps for the new LG 360 CAM and LG 360 VR viewer and also learn more about Google’s Open Spherical Camera API,” according to a press release in advance of the event.
Additional event speakers also covered the Alcacruz VR content development and distribution platform and Parrot drone control (hint: the smartphone).
The Future of VR
With gamers and new technology specifically in mind, arguably the most thought-provoking talk at the event would be the intensive virtual reality predictions talk authored by LG’s chief research and virtual reality evangelist Albert Park. Park focused on only the fast-moving recent past of VR, from 2013 to 2016, beginning with the shipping of the Oculus DK1 model a few years ago to current-day VR hardware launches.
What’s more interesting is where Park gazes into the crystal ball for VR and augmented reality, to as far as forward as 10 years from now (2026). While he presented an exhaustive set of slides covering field of view predictions, input predictions and display resolution predictions, his summary slides cover the arc where he projects virtual reality to head to in the near science fiction-future.
For 2016, Park sees it as the start of the early adoption of virtual reality, starting with gamers and adult content providers. The early adopters become an early majority in 2018, as developers expand content into education, research and treatment. On the experience side, developers are predicted to add eye-tracking atop touch and traditional hand-based control mechanisms, with higher resolution experiences on PC/console.
The third generation (2021) of VR will add cinematic, social and productivity content in its early majority status, according to Park, as the content reaches higher fidelity on all platforms and includes facial; and hand tracking to forms of user input. The fourth generation of VR, in the hazy and futuristic world, of 2026, will see the late adopters of the majority take on the technology, as full immersion and incredibly high resolutions are achieved. AR, Park predicts, will take off in this generation of VR, too. Not the HoloLens version or the phone digital projection versions of it either, but something closer to the translucent holographic projections atop reality imagined in the 2002 science fiction thriller “Minority Report.”
Not everyone agreed with all the predictions, but you have to admire the boldness of anyone willing to predict the long-term technical and market changes in a relatively new tech sector like modern VR.
Summary of the Event
Overall, my best guess was that about 200 to 250 attended the event at the sprawling Village venue along the bustling Market Street in San Francisco, which is impressive given the changes to the event this year.
In the past, LG’s developer event was tethered to the Android developer-centric Google I/O conference in San Francisco (now moved south to Mountain View). This year, it was held about a month earlier, closer to the LG5 phone launch, and apart from any conference, and yet did not seem to lose any interest from attendees.
Part of the reason why the event was well-attended, even on a Friday night and even with an upfront charge to attend, had to be in part because of the expected developer hardware giveaway at the end of the evening, which is part of the tradition of this particular developer event. The press release accurately tipped LG’s hand of a “sweet, picture-perfect surprise,” the LG 360 Camera accessory.
Since “LG Friends” was a key focus of this event, you may want to keep an eye on the soon-to-be-launched marketplace for LG G5 companion hardware, www.LGFriends.com.
For more news from, and for developers with an eye on LG platforms, visit developer.lge.com. This is also the site to watch when watching out for future events. Given the apparent evangelical success of this event to developers and other interested folks in San Francisco, there’s no reason not to expect another LG developer event in 2017.