LG Foldi, Flex And Duplex Trademarks Point To Folding Smartphone Future

For a period of time, smartphone makers competed with each other by releasing increasingly bigger handsets. More recently, the focus has shifted to full-front displays, and how to implement (or avoid) the notch that Apple popularized with its iPhone X. Looking ahead, folding phones might be the next frontier, and LG is planning to participate.

LG Flex 2
LG Flex 2

To what extent, we don't know yet. Back in early October, LG Mobile CEO Hwang Jeong-hwan confirmed that the company is working to deliver a folding smartphone to the public, joining companies like Samsung and Huawei, which are both attempting to capitalize on what they hope will be a new trend. LG's mobile boss said his company is in no rush to be first, but there is evidence to suggest that a longer-term play is being considered, or at least a multi-product strategy.

That evidence consists of a trademark application noticed by LetsGoDigital. Just a few days ago, LG applied for three brand trademarks with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)—Flex, Foldi, and Duplex.

All three are listed as Class 9, a classification that includes smartphones. The trademarks could also apply only to the display technologies, but in such instances, the trademark application typically distinguishes such things. That wasn't the case this time.

That's really all we have to go on at the moment, though we can speculate what the names mean. Foldi, for example, seems like a clear indication of a folding phone. Likewise, Duplex could indicate a dual purpose device, one that functions as a phone when folded, and a tablet when unfolded. That is the exact approach Samsung is taking with its own folding smartphone, which it recently teased.

As for Flex, it's hard to tell what LG is thinking. LG already released a couple of Flex models in the past, neither of which are folding phones.