LG’s Next “Explorer Project” Device Will Be a Rollable Smartphone

By Bill Toulas / September 17, 2020

LG’s experimentation won’t end with the “Wing”, the somewhat awkward device they released a couple of days ago. According to credible reports, the South Koreans will soon present a rollable smartphone, which will be the second product of their special “Explorer Project”.

For now, all that we’ve seen of this mystery device is a short clip showcasing one side of the phone extending, the screen lighting up, and a “Hold Your Breath” message ending the teaser. This came at the end of the official announcement of the LG Wing, confirming the rumours about its existence.

Those of you who have been following tech news must remember that LG presented a foldable OLED TV back in January 2019, calling it the “Signature R”. This was an actual product launch in the market, and not a prototype, so the firm has proven they can do this. However, putting a foldable display on a TV and doing something similar on a handheld device is not by any means the same thing. Still, several elements make us believe this is doable.

TCL has presented several concept designs back in March, a rollable display “phablet”. Sharp had also presented a rollable OLED panel back in November 2019, so there’s a technological breakthrough that enables TV manufacturers to make these screens work reliably. Whether or not this can be passed to a smartphone and with what kind of compromises or at what cost, we’ll have to wait and see.

The “Wing” is an interesting concept, but it failed to capture people’s interest. Its usability appears unwieldy, no matter how hard LG tries to convince us otherwise. Sure, there’s an audience for everything, but the Wing is just weird and quite far from what we’re used to. A rollable screen device, on the other side, could be a wholly different story. It would be like having all the benefits of the foldable without many of the disadvantages, i.e., creases.

Whatever LG ends up to present and no matter what level of interest will be shown from the consumers, the firm is innovating without fear, and this is amazing on its own. LG isn’t going through its best times in terms of selling smartphones, but this isn’t stopping the company from exploring truly new ways to interact with devices whose design has almost totally stagnated. Maybe a new form factor will spawn out of this process, or maybe nothing will happen. LG is doing it, and they deserve our applause.

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