Smartphones with foldable displays are still rare in 2020, but phones with screens that roll up are non-existent… for now. That could change next year.

According to Korean news site The Elec, LG plans to launch a smartphone with a rollable display in 2021. Code-named “Rainbow,” the phone is said to have a screen developed by Chinese display maker BOE.

BOE 12.3″ rollable display prototype

If that name sounds familiar, maybe that’s because BOE showed off a rollable display prototype last summer. That screen was a 12.3 inch OLED screen that could be rolled up to fit inside a smartphone-sized device, or unrolled to provide a much larger viewing area.

The Elec reports that LG has code-named the effort to bring a rollable phone to market “Project B,” and hopes that providing something truly innovative could help the company’s mobile division stem the losses it’s seen in recent years.

LG has reportedly begun producing a prototype of a phone using one of BOE’s displays and hopes to launch the phone in the first half of 2021.

via GizmoChina

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  1. Cool that phone companies are trying different things in what I feel has become a “boring” and “stagnant” market in terms of innovation.

    Although, I’m personally still behind by about a decade as I keep getting “small” phones with headset jacks. At least I’m looking for USB Type-C connectors for data/power. I’m eyeing that Jelly 2 phone right now.

  2. I see the appeal to foldable screens, but I still don’t like the idea. Rolling screens has an even more attractive appeal (they reduce the device’s collapsed size even smaller), but I dislike the idea of rolling screens even more than folding screens. I don’t trust the idea of adding more moving parts to smartphones. I’m not convinced that these devices will survive even 1 year of use.

    Right now, the Surface Duo has my money (as long as its not priced astronomically). 2 screens, and a hinge. You can’t impress me with technology that solves a problem that doesn’t exist, using parts that I don’t trust.

    1. I find this much more appealing than the ordinary folding phones we have seen so far.

      1) Won’t have (the same, pronounced) creases. At least in part because it won’t always bend in the exact same place, or in a very tight radius.

      2) I would expect the sliding mechanism underpinning the functionality to be more robust than a hinge.

      3) Offers much more flexibility in terms of dynamic sizing and formfactor.

      Any downside these will have (and they will be many and fiendish to overcome) are downsides that ordinary foldables will also have (e.g the soft, scratchy screens).

      But I am with you on the Surface Duo. Seems like a much more robust way to go about things. And in further iterations they could reduce the gap between the two screens to the point where it would be no less annoying than the crease on a Samsung Fold.