LG unveils smartphone with dual camera, virtual-reality set

A woman uses the LG 360 VR glasses during the LG unpacked 2016 event on the eve of this week’s Mobile World Congress wireless show, in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Feb. 21. 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — LG is unveiling a smartphone with two lenses and jumping into the nascent world of virtual reality.

The main camera on LG’s upcoming G5 smartphone will have both a regular lens for standard shots and a wider-angle lens so you can capture more of what’s in front of you without having to step back.

It will also adopt a modular approach to design, so you’ll be able to pop out the phone’s bottom and swap in new hardware features. Early options include a camera grip with physical buttons to take shots and control video recording.

Sunday’s announcements at the Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona, Spain, come as worldwide smartphone growth has slowed.

Frank Lee, a spokesman with LG’s U.S. mobile business, said phone launches no longer generate the excitement they used to, so “it’s our responsibility to bring some energy.”

Beyond improving just the phone, LG is turning to a whole collection of products that work with it.

LG will have its own VR headset — a lighter version of Samsung’s Gear VR, which came out last fall.

LG designed the LG 360 VR headset to work with an LG smartphone that’s attached by a cable. With Samsung’s VR device, the smartphone is inserted at eye level and becomes the headset’s display, increasing the weight on the head. LG’s version still uses the smartphone to process the images, but instead of displaying them on the phone screen, images get sent to separate, lighter displays in the headset’s eyepieces.

LG is also making a 360-degree camera and a spherical robot camera that resembles the BB-8 droid in the new “Star Wars” movie.

Prices and release dates have yet to be announced, though the LG phone is expected in the U.S. in April.

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