LG Elec joins the race in rollable phone upon gaining U.S. patent

2018.12.31 13:17:25 | 2018.12.31 13:19:36

[Photo by 91mobiles]이미지 확대

[Photo by 91mobiles]

LG Electronics Inc. has registered a rollable smartphone design patent in the United States, joining its rivals in the race of seeking breakthrough handheld hardware amid stagnancy in the global smartphone market.

According to industry sources on Sunday, the South Korean tech giant was recently granted a patent for a rollable smartphone prototype from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

This latest rollable smartphone design has a rollable display inside a spindle. The other side of the display is attached to a cylindrical handle, which can be used to pull the display out from the spindle. This is a more radical approach enabling a device in greater compact size for a dramatic transformation into a large display when unrolled.

LG struggling in the mobile phone front has been eager to seek out new innovations.

In July, LG Electronics unveiled a patented pen-shaped smartphone where a display is rolled in and out. It also revealed a TV with a rollable display at CES earlier this year and has plans to launch it as the LG ROLED during the 2019 show. Industry watchers believe a rollable smartphone will go commercial in a few years.

LG Electronics’ rollable smartphone concept is expected to further intensify competition in the global smartphone industry at a time when the wave of folding smartphones is looming on the horizon.

Samsung Electronics foldable phone.이미지 확대

Samsung Electronics foldable phone.

Samsung Electronics too is working on a rollable phone. Dongjin Koh, President and CEO of Samsung’s IT & Mobile Communications Division, said at Samsung Developer Conference (SDC) in San Francisco last month that foldable phones would not be able to fully replace the existing smartphone form factor. “Rollable and stretchable displays will have a far-reaching impact on related technologies and therefore we are studying them,” he added.

Global manufacturers are in full swing to compete in the burgeoning foldable phone market. Apple recently filed a patent for its foldable phone design with the USPTO.

Samsung Electronics plans to release a foldable phone within next year. Chinese company Loyole recently unveiled the world’s first prototype that folds outward. Sony also filed a patent for a foldable smartphone that can control the display transparency with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and LG Electronics has filed multiple patents for its foldable phones in the U.S.

By Lee Sun-hee and Minu Kim

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]