[NEWS IN FOCUS] Foldable smartphones are so 2019. How about a rollable?
The arms race in smartphones continues as LG Electronics files patents for phones in which the screen folds like a scroll. It also filed patents for screens that fold a number of times on themselves.
If realized, these concepts could help the company's struggling mobile phones division fight back against Samsung Electronics and Huawei Technologies.
Multiple foreign and domestic media outlets reported that LG Electronics is working with Beijing's BOE Technology to produce a rollable phone next year and started building a prototype at its plant in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi.
The company declined to confirm the report.
Last month, LG Electronics registered RollVision as a trademark, but the company insists that's neither here nor there as the name could be used for any product, such as the already confirmed rollable TV.
The company has registered a number of other patents since 2018 that suggest some kind of quantum leap is in the offing.
In a patent record revealed last year by LetsGoDigital, which specializes in electronic devices, LG featured a tablet-sized screen large enough to be folded over twice.
According to the design, users will pull on the right side of the device to transform the small screen into a tablet-sized display.
LG Electronics filed for the design patent with Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPRIS) in October last year, followed by an ‘expandable phone’ patent filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) last year.
The design sketch, also revealed by LetsGoDigital, shows a bendable display that opens up like an ancient scroll by pulling from both sides.
Remarks by Kwon Bong-seok, the CEO of LG Electronics, earlier this year only add to these expectations.
“It would be nonsensical if a company capable of making rollable TVs won’t jump into foldable phones,” he said during the 2020 CES electronics show in Las Vegas. “[LG Electronics] will come up with a product that could disrupt the premium smartphone market.”
As he noted, LG already revealed its rollable TV and plans to bring it to the market this year. The planned release is a 65-inch rollable Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED) television, the OLED 65RX, which was to be introduced in 2019 but encountered delays.
The panel can be rolled up and down from the case so that the television set looks more like a long, rectangular table once the screen is completely retracted.
BY PARK EUN-JEE [email@example.com]