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LG rollable smartphone: Everything we know so far (Updated Feb. 22)
Update: February 22, 2021 (7:10 AM ET): A new report stemming from Korea has plunged the LG rollable project’s launch in doubt. Read on for more!
Original article: LG made a big splash in 2020 when it officially unveiled the Wing smartphone. The phone looks like a normal device upfront, but slide the main screen to the side and you’ve got a smaller screen underneath.
The LG Wing design is clearly unique in the modern smartphone space, but the company confirmed that it’s only the first device in its new Explorer Project line of standout phones. Fortunately, between leaks and official teases, we’ve got a good idea of what to expect next.
All signs are pointing to an LG rollable phone, and we’ve rounded up all the major leaks, info drops, and rumors below to get a better idea of what to expect. Be sure to bookmark this page, as we’ll be updating it regularly!
LG rollable phone name and release date
LG Rollable has won Android Authority‘s CES 2021 Top Picks Award for Best Mobile Innovation. Check out all the awards here.
As of right now, it appears even LG itself is referring to the device as Rollable. It might be that the final name of the phone will be LG Rollable. This might seem far-fetched, but the leaked codename for the LG Wing was — you guessed it — Wing. So it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the device will launch as Rollable.
LetsGoDigital uncovered a potential name on November 4, noting that LG has applied for the name of Rollable. The filing notes that this is related to the mobile space rather than the TV arena or anything else. That just lends more evidence to the phone’s name being Rollable.
The outlet also discovered another possible name on November 5, as the manufacturer applied for the name of LG Slide. That suggests LG has settled on a couple of names, but this isn’t a guarantee just yet.
As for a release date, The Elec first noted an “early 2021” launch before later adding that it’s expected in March 2021. Since LG showed off the phone pretty prominently at CES 2021, that seems like a reasonable launch window to us.
However, not long after CES, rumors started swirling that LG was looking to sell off some or all of its mobile division. That puts the whole Explorer Project in limbo. As such, it might be a while before we see this phone — if we ever see it at all.
Yonhap News reported on February 21 that the LG rollable project has been put on hold. There are no concrete plans to launch the device at present.
LG rollable phone design
Early on, LetsGoDigital also uncovered a patent filing for an LG rollable smartphone with an extendable display on both the left and right sides. It’s also worth noting that retracting the displays results in a phone that offers something akin to a 16:9 screen rather than today’s 18:9, 20:9, and even 21:9 screen ratios. You can view an image below, courtesy of the outlet.
LG itself teased the rollable phone at the end of its Wing launch event, showing what appears to be a screen retracting into and extending out of a smartphone. You can still view this animation in the video by skipping to the 1:05:35 mark. And you can view a screenshot of the device below.
At CES 2021, LG gave us the best look yet at the rollable smartphone. In the video above, you can see the rollable pretty much in full. It appears that the image on the phone’s display is superimposed and not actually displayed on the phone itself. However, you can clearly see the phone roll into itself, which is pretty neat regardless.
Finally, a patent unearthed recently by My Smart Price shows a rollable phone with a secondary display on the back. This would allow for easy selfies and video calls using the rear camera module. We’ve seen this design concept before on other phones, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that LG would use it here.
LG rollable phone specs and features
We haven’t heard anything about the LG rollable phone’s feature-set yet, bar the extending screen teased by the company before. It’s also unclear whether the new phone will offer Gorilla Glass or if the design means that they’ll need to forego this protective option.
As for horsepower, the LG Wing and Velvet both used upper mid-range silicon in the Snapdragon 765G processor. So we wouldn’t be surprised if the new phone adopts Snapdragon 700 series power again, as it could likely allow for a cheaper price tag. Then again, it’s also possible that we could see the Snapdragon 888 processor in here if the Korean brand is aiming way above $1,000.
A radical design like this doesn’t fill us with hope for a big battery, as the inside of the phone needs to accommodate the extending screen and associated mechanisms. Nevertheless, LG surprised us with the Wing and its 4,000mAh battery. Sure, that isn’t the largest size, but it’s definitely adequate and perhaps unexpected in light of the phone’s unique design.
Pricing and availability
Once again, pricing is an unknown quantity right now. But we can look to the LG Wing for an idea of what to expect from future Explorer Project devices. The swivel phone is available for roughly ~$1,000, so we’re guessing that the LG rollable device will start at a similar price point in the best-case scenario. But the rollable seems like a more ambitious, technically challenging project, so we wouldn’t be surprised if we’re looking at similar pricing to current foldables instead.
The Elec previously noted a March 2021 launch window, which means we’ll likely see the phone coming out either in that same month or in April. That assumes, of course, that LG’s mobile division survives 2021.
If it does launch, the US and Korea will likely get the LG rollable phone first, as they were part of the first wave to get the Wing.
That’s all we know so far about the LG rollable phone! We’ll be regularly updating this article as the latest rumors and tidbits emerge.