Foldable phones are en route, but you shouldn’t expect to see LG announce its own model anytime soon. It’s unlikely to make a global debut during CES 2019 next month.
In a tweet, mobile industry insider Evan Blass revealed the South Korean company might not be ready to unveil its flexible OLED panel. He didn’t tell a reason for the potential delay, but it could be that LG’s research and development group spotted an issue with the technology. Hardware manufacturers in the mobile industry aren’t too familiar with flexible OLED panels, and thus no company appears to be in a rush.
The likelihood of LG showing that foldable at CES has plummeted, I'm hearing.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) December 17, 2018
LG, however, could be rolling out the best foldable phone. It was granted a patent for a design that blurs the lines between modern smartphones and tablets. When folded, it looks like a smartphone with a wider display. The flexible OLED panel then unwraps from behind and creates a tablet-like experience.
Another patent from earlier this year didn’t offer up as much excitement. In that filing, LG showed a design using a large interior display and a small exterior display. Samsung, which announced the Infinity Flex Display in November, intends on doing this as well. Perhaps most foldable phones will look like this, and then they’ll transition to more futuristic designs.
Huawei should release a foldable phone in the first half of 2019, too. As for other companies, Xiaomi, Motorola, Oppo, and Vivo are set on the second half of next year. Foldable phones might turn out to be the industry’s latest trend.
LG needs something to generate interest in its mobile devices again. The most recent flagships felt like total misses, but there’s no doubt LG has the resources to gain momentum. It’ll just take a lot of effort from leadership to get the mobile division back on track. Luckily, LG’s new mobile chief has made several turnarounds with other units at the company.
If the foldable phone doesn’t appear at the trade show in Las Vegas next month, maybe LG will bring it to MWC 2019 in late February. LG could do a standalone event, too. As usual, we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out.
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