Forget the foldable phone — it looks like 2021 could be the year of the rollable phone. And LG could be leading the way with the LG Rollable.
The much-anticipated device made its debut at CES 2021 in a very brief teaser announcement. While LG didn’t have a lot to say about its upcoming phone, it did show the device’s screen can expanded to a tablet size without the folding screen — and crease — that have marked other devices like the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Galaxy Z Flip 5G.
There’s still a lot we don’t know about the LG Rollable now that we’ve actually laid eyes on it, and it’s still too early in the game to make any guesses as to whether this device will do what Samsung’s foldables have yet to do — convince more people to buy phones with an unconventional design. Still, there are enough rumors out there about the LG Rollable to fill in some details as we wait for LG to bring its new device to the market.
Here’s all that we’ve been able to gather about the LG Rollable.
LG Rollable phone release date
LG said at CES that the LG Rollable would ship this year, but didn’t provide a concrete date for when to expect it. For that we have to turn to internet leakers.
Back in December, leaker @cozyplanes suggested we might see the phone revealed in March 2021, though they acknowledged the release might actually be delayed until June. A report in The Elec also backed up a March release.
LG Rollable phone price
Innovation tends to cost you in this market. The current going rate for folding phones is quite high, and typically ranging from $1,300 to $2,000, with the Galaxy Z Fold 2 setting the upper limit. The LG Rollable could even more expensive, if early rumors are to be believed.
That December tweet from @cozyplanes suggested the LG Rollable could cost around $2,359. That's around $350 more than the Galaxy Z Fold 2, which already costs an eye-watering $1,999. LG didn’t offer any price range during its incredibly brief tease during CES 2021, either.
Currently, manufacturers Oppo and TCL are also working on their own rollable smartphones, and Samsung could have something similar with the rumored Galaxy Scroll. None of those devices have a rumored price attached that might give us some expectation as to the LG Rollable’s cost.
LG Rollable phone features
Despite several third-party leaks, we've actually learned the most from LG about the Rollable. In the phone's short but sweet reveal teaser, we got a quick look at what the phone looks like when it rolls out to change its size. You hold the LG Rollable in landscape orientation, with its top sliding upward to size up to what appears to be a tablet-sized device.
From our quick glance at LG’s CES keynote, there doesn’t look like the phone has a front-facing camera — at least not one that’s immediately visible.
It isn't immediately obvious how the Rollable will expand and retract, but a previous LG patent (first spotted by LetsGoDigital) indicated that there were two sides with moving parts that extended. According to the teaser video, that may not be the case. Again, this might not be the final view of how the Rollable actually works when it does arrive.
In terms of size, the LG Rollable is assumed to offer two different sizes: a 6.8-inch default display, and a 7.4-inch display when fully extended, or "rolled' out." Again, returning to LetsGoDigital, reports indicate that the phone will feature a 2428 x 1600 resolution while at 7.4 inches. When sized down to 6.8 inches, it will reportedly be 2428 x 1080.
LG hasn’t offered any sort of official spec sheet or feature list beyond what we’ve seen so far, so aside from the phone’s name and the fact that it does extend into a larger screen, we’re working off of supposition at the moment. We’re not sure which processor the phone might use, especially since Qualcomm now offers multiple 5G-enabled options across its various chipset lines.
I.P. Park, LG's chief technology officer, told CES attendees that the rollable phone was in the spirit of LG products like the LG Signature OLED R, a TV with a screen that rolls into place. The idea, Park continued, is that flexible designs "give us the freedom to rethink what we're doing" with phones and to come up with new experiences that benefit from the LG Rollable's unique design.
LG Rollable phone outlook
It's too early to project how the LG Rollable will perform once it debuts. It's also unclear at this point how it might stack up to Samsung's duo of foldable devices, especially with Samsung vowing to release more foldables this year. We’ll certainly need to know what kind of components are powering the phone and what kind of cameras LG plans to feature. Battery life will also be a concern, as there’s more screen than ever to keep powered up.
We expect to hear more about the LG Rollable in the coming weeks, particularly if that launch date is around March as rumored.