Concept render of LG's rollable smartphone by LetsGoDigital

LG has been innovating this year in terms of folding screen technology, revealing its Signature OLED TV R at CES 2019, its first rollable display. Now the company is developing the same technology for it upcoming smartphones. A recently filed patent describes how the technology would be applied.

Rollable displays are the obvious end goal of folding screens. Since Samsung showcased its Project Youm technology 6 years ago, the idea behind the companies folding screen development has been focused on rolling displays.

Current folding screen devices like Samsung’s own Galaxy Fold simply open and close like a piece of card. The obvious benefit is being able to open a large screen device without compromising on form factor as the device can fold into a smartphone-sized unit.

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However, the technology also has limitations, most obvious of which is a crease where the screen bends.

LG could be moving a step ahead of Samsung with its technology. In a patent, the South Korean company shows a rollable smartphone that has two flexible hinges. This will allow the device to fold in two different directions. Furthermore, the screen could wrap around the main body.

With no notches and a thin bezel, this could be an all screen device that is a smartphone when folded by a tablet when opened.

LG files the patent earlier this year and it was published by the Chinese Patent Office this month.

Questions

The first thing to mentions is that this is still not a folly rollable screen but is admittedly getting there. It seems there are still technology hurdles to clear before a screen can be rolled like a piece of paper and be rigid when opened.

Also worth noting is the fact LG has not specifically tackled how it will remove the fold creases from the screen. If the company cannot overcome this problem, the smartphone would have two notable bend marks instead of one.

Microsoft has announced a Surface event for October where a folding screen device may make an appearance. Redmond has been working on its own dual-screen tech for some time. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft has overcome any of the limitations seen in the Galaxy Fold.

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