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Companies Preparing for Foldable and Rollable Smartphones
Next-generation Smartphones
Companies Preparing for Foldable and Rollable Smartphones
  • By Kim Eun-jin
  • December 31, 2018, 10:57
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With foldable smartphones expected to debut in the first half of next year, global smartphone and display manufacturers are developing rollable smartphones. 

While Samsung Electronics and Huawei are planning to launch foldable phones in the first half of next year, terminal makers are pouring out patents on next-generation smartphones, such as foldable and rollable phones.

According to industry and foreign sources on Dec. 30, LG Electronics has recently acquired a patent for a rollable smartphone design from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The rollable display is designed so that the screen can be rolled up, which makes it convenient for users to store or carry them around.

According to the released image, the two cylindrical bars contain a flexible display. When both sides of the bar are pulled, the screen unfolds like a scroll and can be used as a smartphone in the unfolded state. In last July, LG filed a patent for the rollable smartphone design equipped with a pen-shaped rollable display.

LG Electronics has already revealed a rollable TV at CES last year and recognized for its technology. Therefore, it is expected that rollable smart phones will be commercialized within a few years.

"Rollable display technology has been around for a few years, but the problem was how to handle components, such as batteries and printed circuit boards (PCBs). Once this problem is resolved, the product can be launched soon," an industry observer said.

Samsung Electronics also filed a patent for a rollable display terminal equipped with a fingerprint sensor.

While Samsung and Huawei are active in commercialization of foldable phones, other manufacturers, such as LG Electronics, Apple, and Sony, are also applying for relevant patents.

Apple has recently filed a patent to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the foldable phone that can fold out the smartphone screen both inside and out. Samsung’s soon to be launched foldable phone is folded in, while the world’s first foldable phone released by Chinese company Royole is folded out.

Sony has also filed a patent for the foldable smart phone that can control the transparency of the display to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

LG Electronics also filed several patents related to the foldable phone to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and last month, the company registered a trademark right for the foldable phone, including the LG Flexi and LG Foldi.