LG Rollable could be dead — here’s why

LG Rollable
(Image credit: LG)

Perhaps second only to the upcoming OLED evo G1 TV, the LG Rollable was possibly the most exciting thing to appear in LG’s CES presentation – even if it only popped up in a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ moment. But now it appears that the expandable phone may never be a commercially available product.

Sources have told the Korea Herald that with the company considering its future in the smartphone world, the LG Rollable handset could be something that just gets abandoned. 

The report says that the LG is “open to every possibility” with the rollable smartphone, but one of the possibilities include it being killed off. The company is said to be stung by the commercial failure of the LG Wing handset, another smartphone with an unorthodox form factor. It struggled to get much commercial interest, selling just 100,000 units, according to the report. 

Given the LG Rollable would likely be at the pricey end of the market, the company is understandably wary that it might struggle to sell in numbers that would make the endeavor worthwhile – even if it attracts positive reviews.

That said, the interest the rollable technology has generated could be useful to LG If it looks to sell Its mobile business. “Industry insiders” told the Korea Herald that the phone could be used to achieve a higher price from a prospective buyer. The question is whether the business would command a higher price with the phone out in the world as a proven concept, or still as a prototype with its commercial potential under wraps.

The news that LG may exit the smartphone market emerged last week, as CEO Kwon Bong-seok sent a message to all employees on Wednesday indicating change was afoot, but assuring staff there would be no job losses. The smartphone division has been posting operating losses for 23 consecutive quarters, with a loss of $4.5 billion over the last five years, so it’s hard to argue with the overall need for change. 

Even if LG doesn’t release the rollable phone, the technology will live on in some form. The company uses similar technology in its high-end rollable OLED TV, for starters. And while no phones have the form factor yet, TCL has plans in that area for anyone who was dead set on the design for their next handset. 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.