An expected image of a rollable phone from LG Electronics

An actual rollable smartphone has been unveiled for the first time. But the company was not LG Electronics that developed the world’s first rollable display. Chinese smartphone maker Oppo was one step ahead in releasing the industry’s first rollable phone.

Oppo introduced its rollable smartphone named Oppo X 2021 through the Inno Day 2020 Conference on Nov. 17 (local time). It is a concept phone before commercialization. However, Oppo allowed participants to try out the product and showed off its technical prowess by releasing an operation video on YouTube.

The Oppo X 2021 has a 6.7-inch screen that can be expanded to 7.4 inches. If you press a button located on the right side or slightly scan the screen down, the display spreads out. A ‘roll motor’ with a diameter of 6.8 mm automatically unfolds the display. If you look at the operation video, you can hardly see the wrinkles on the display when it is fully spread.

LG Electronics released a teaser video about its rollable phone at the end of its LG Wing event in September. The video features a silhouette of a rollable phone with a black screen. Its display spreads to the right side like the Opo X 2021. The display panel for both OPPO and LG’s rollable phones are known to be from BOE of China.

Some predict that LG Electronics’ rollable phones will expand to both left and right unlike Oppo’s. In fact, LG Electronics has applied for various patents related to rollable phones.

Smartphone industry insiders believe that Oppo made a surprise announcement of its rollable phone with the aim of grabbing the “world’s first” title. Oppo intended to show off its innovative image and technological prowess by introducing the prototype first when LG Electronics’ rollable phone was about to be released. Although Chinese companies such as Xiaomi and TCL have been rushing to introduce their concept product images even before commercializing foldable phones, no such products have been actually released. “Details of the Oppo X 2021 and its launch schedule are not known,” said Gizmo China, an IT media outlet in China.

Although LG Electronics is in a position that it is difficult to officially confirm the release of a rollable phone, its preparations for release are well underway. Industry watchers are forecasting that the LG rollable phone will make its debut at the Mobile World Congress to be held in February of 2021. In this regard, LG Electronics finished applying for a patent for technologies related to rollable phones to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in 2018 and applied for a patent on an expandable phone to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2019. On Nov. 2, LG applied to the Korean Intellectual Property Office for the registration of an LG rollable phone trademark.


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