LG Reportedly Ends Rollable Phone Development, Considers Entire Mobile Division Shutdown
LG was on track to launch a smartphone with a rollable display to compete against folding phones like Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 2, which swings open to offer users a larger touchscreen surface similar to a smaller tablet. However, it might not ever see the light of day—it is rumored LG has stopped development on its rollable smartphone, and is looking for a buyer to scoop up its mobile business too.
There is a bit to unpack here. Let's start with the phone itself, which is yet another innovative design from a company that has not shied away from unique form factors (check out our LG Wing review to see what we mean). The idea of a rollable display is not so you can roll it up like a newspaper and swat at flies (fly guts on a smartphone would be gross). Instead, it is to enable a larger viewing area.
It accomplishes this through a mechanized extension of the handset. LG teased a prototype at CES earlier this year, which is interesting to say the least. Have a look...
The short teaser clip shows a user holding the phone in landscape mode with the rollable screen fully deployed, offering up a tablet-like experience. It then shrinks into a 'normal' size phone as the display is mechanically rolled into the device. Pretty neat, right? Too bad it might never see a release, if the latest rumor proves true.
Citing a person who is supposedly familiar with the matter, DongA Ilbo reports LG probably is not going to launch its rollable phone. The disappointing news comes a month after it was reported that LG had halted development of at least three smartphones with unique displays, with the rollable handset being one of them.
It gets worse than that, for fans of LG's smartphones. The South Korean electronics maker is also rumored to be shopping around its mobile phone business. LG apparently already had discussions with both Volkswagen AG and Vietnam's Vingroup JSC about a sale, though neither one seems super interested at this moment in time.
While only a rumor at this point, a sale is certainly plausible. LG CEO Kwon Bong-seok made that clear in January when he said a sale is one of several possibilities.
"Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about time for LG to make a cold judgment and the best choice," Kwon Bong-seok said at the time. "The company is considering all possible measures, including sale, withdrawal and downsizing of the smartphone business."
Unfortunately for LG, it has just not been able to carve out a meaningful share of the smartphone market. Looking at the most recent market share figures by IDC, Samsung leads the way with 22.7 percent, followed Huawei at 14.6 percent, Xiaomi at 13.1 percent, Apple at 11.8 percent, Vivo at 8.9 percent, and all others accounting for the remaining 29 percent.