First we saw them fold, now they’re starting to roll. In its newest effort to shake up the smartphone market, LG will release a rollable smartphone later this year.
The Korean company teased the new design during its press conference at the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Monday. The LG Rollable appeared briefly in the video, although the executives didn’t disclose any information about the device. Now LG has confirmed the phone will, well, roll out in 2021, making it the first such device to hit the market.
“Our management wanted to show that it is a real product, as there were many rumors around the rollable phone,” an LG spokesperson said in a statement to Nikkei. “As it is released at CES 2021, I can tell that it will be launched this year.”
The LG Rollable has what the company describes as a “unique resizable screen.” As its moniker implies, the display rolls out to turn the smartphone into a larger tablet-like device with a bigger screen. This mechanism, which furls and unfurls on demand, appears to work the same way as rollable OLED televisions do albeit on a much smaller scale.
LG has not yet released specs regarding tech or display size, though Nikkei reports that LG is partnering with China’s BOE Technology Group on the rollable screen technology.
It appears LG will not be rolling alone, either. TCL also debuted two rollable phone concepts on Monday, one of which unfurled from both ends like a treasure map, according to CNET. Oppo also teased a concept with an expandable OLED screen last year. However, these devices look to be a ways off from actual production.
LG was once considered a major player in the smartphone market but has taken a back seat to companies like Samsung and Huawei. In a bid to renew interest in its mobile lineup, LG has eschewed its historically conservative designs in favor of more experimental products developed via its “Explorer Project.” This initiative, which aims to “breathe new life into what makes a smartphone,” was also responsible for the LG Wing, which boasts a second, hidden screen, that debuted last fall and also spearheaded the new design.