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Rollables are the new foldables Image Credits: LG Smartphone sales are bad — and have been for a couple of years now. Certainly this ongoing pandemic hasn’t helped. All the talk about how 5G and new form factors were going to cause a kind of bounce-back all fell by the wayside, as people put a pause on unnecessary luxuries. Samsung is the only company that’s seen some success with the foldable form factor, and that whole thing got off to a…rough start. There were plenty of technical issues at first, leading to a less than auspicious first impression. These days, price continues to be a major hurdle — especially during a time when paying $1,000 and up on a phone is a major red flag for many. In the world of phone form factors, two is, at the very least, the start of a trend. And on day one of CES both LG and TCL have offered their take on yet another form factor designed to offer more screen real estate in pocketable devices. Image Credits: TCL LG’s product is — for the moment — the more notable of the two, largely because the company plans to actually release the thing. In an interview published this morning, spokesperson Ken Hong told Nikkei, “As it is released at CES 2021, I can tell that it will be launched this year.” And, indeed, LG’s a company not afraid to take chances with a wacky form factor. There are a number of examples of the phenomenon in recent years, most notably the swiveling screen on the LG Wing. Still, the product didn’t amount to much more than a brief tease during a press conference (an excuse to transition between scenes, really), so you’d be forgiven for assuming that the tech still has a long way to go. TCL, meanwhile, noted up front that the product is still firmly in the concept phase, but managed to give us a better look. I suppose it’s easier to parade concept than an unfinished real-world product. Details are still slim, but the company says the device is capable of expanding from 6.7 to 7.8 inches. One imagines — or, at least, hopes — that the industry has learned from the issues stemming from the first batch of foldables. Sometimes the race to bring technology to market results in delivering something half-baked, an issue that came back to bite companies like Samsung and Motorola. Lab testing is one thing — the real world is a different thing entirely. Source: Rollables are the new foldables
mood posted a topic in Mobile NewsConcept foldable phones: check out these folding and rolling smartphones Could any of these get released? TCL rollable phone (Image credit: TechRadar) The foldable phones market isn't a very busy one, but we see plenty of folding and rolling smartphones unveiled by companies that never see the light of day. These are called 'concept' phones, handsets companies design to show off new tech with no intent to sell the phones themselves. Instead, they're an idea of what we could see in the future. Lots of these concept designs are for rollable or foldable smartphones, and to give you a glimpse of what's out there, we've collected the major ones you should know about. These are devices that for the most part probably won't ever get full releases, not global ones at least, but tease future projects. We're not mentioning any rumored foldable phones, or ones we've seen in patents filed by companies - there are loads of those from nearly every tech company, and many seem either fake or ludicrously impractical. Instead, we're only listing phones that companies have actively revealed to us. Some of these we've got hands-on with, others we've just seen via live stream or official teases. So read on for all the significant foldable phone concepts. Oppo X Nendo (Image credit: Oppo) The Oppo X Nendo was a collaboration between smartphone company Oppo and design brand Nendo, and it's... something? We found it hard to describe in our initial coverage, likening it most to a car key, and in the time since we still haven't thought of any good adjectives. The Oppo X Nendo folds on three hinges, so you can turn it from short and stubby, to long and thin, and with some stages in between. It seems 'the point' of this folding mechanism, if we can call it that, is that you can partially open the phone to leave a little preview window open. This lets you check notifications, or change music, without fully opening the device. This is one of the most novel foldable phones we've seen, a real joy for people that like weird tech, though it's definitely a case of 'form over function', with the curious design being the Oppo X Nendo's main selling point. We don't imagine this will ever go on sale, though we could be wrong. Check out our initial coverage of the Oppo X Nendo. TCL's two foldable phones (Image credit: TechRadar) At various tech conferences TCL has shown off a range of concept phones, including two foldables that you can see above. One has a single hinge, and folds in half like a book, and the other has two, and folds in a Z shape. The important part of the TCL foldable concept is the price - both of these were designed to be 'affordable foldable phones', to counter the high-price rivals. Sure, they won't go on sale, but they're proof that bending phones don't need to cost a lot. If we see a TLC foldable phone that actually can be bought, it could be a big deal for this very reason, so we're crossing our fingers for such a device. Here's our preview of the TCL foldable phone. Oppo X 2021 (Image credit: Oppo) The Oppo X 2021 is Oppo's rollable phone, which stretches from a 6.7-inch smartphone to a 7.4-inch... slightly larger smartphone. It was unveiled as part of Oppo's Inno Day 2020, which the company uses to show off its new tech, and it's going on sale in China, but nowhere else. That the Oppo X 2021 is going on sale anywhere shows the company is confident in its rollable tech, so it's possible we'll see a future version (Oppo X 2022?) get a wider release. For now, though, the phone stands as proof that rollable smartphones could end up as popular as foldable ones. Check out our initial coverage of the Oppo X 2021. Xiaomi foldable phone (Image credit: Xiaomi) A Xiaomi folding phone has been teased in several brief videos. They show a device with two folding hinges, rather than a single central fold. We heard a lot about this device in 2019, though things went silent after that. Don't get too excited just yet though, as this is little more than a concept device for now. As while Lin Bin, the co-founder of Xiaomi, has posted on social media that the "Xiaomi double folding mobile phone is coming," he also said "if you like it, we will consider making a mass production machine in the future." This might not be the only foldable from Xiaomi though, as the company has also patented a device that looks more like the Galaxy Z Flip or Motorola Razr. Check out our coverage of Xiaomi's foldable phone teaser. TCL rollable phone (Image credit: Future) As well as showing off several foldable phones, TCL has a rollable one, in which the screen extends if you pull out a segment. This takes the display size from 6.75 inches to 7.8, making for a pretty big extension. The TCL rollable was a very early concept device when we tested it - the screen was literally just a piece of plastic - but since we got hands-on with the device in early 2020, TCL has confirmed it's still working on the thing. Maybe soon we'll see a version with a real screen. Check out our initial impressions of the TCL rollable smartphone. Royole Flexpai 2 (Image credit: Royole) The Royole Flexpai 2 is, of all the foldable phones on this list, the one that's most likely to go on sale. Long ago in the year 2018, the Royole Flexpai was unveiled, and it was technically the first ever commercially-available foldable phone, though it wasn't easy to find. Royole has confirmed that device's successor, and after its September 2020 launch in China we're expecting global availability sometime soon. The Flexpai 2 has a 7.8-inch screen that folds down to a 5.5-inch one, plus four rear cameras with a 64MP main one, a Snapdragon 865 chipset, and 5G connectivity. Given that Royole has had time, and a previous product, we'd hope this would be a masterful take on the foldable phone formula, or at least one that's durable and hardy. What you need to know about the Royole Flexpai 2. Energizer Power Max 8100S Image Credit: TechRadar In early 2019 Energizer - yes, the battery company, as it also makes smartphones and feature phones - showed off its own foldable phone at MWC 2019. This is the Energizer Power Max 8100S, and it has a smartphone-sized screen when folded and a tablet-sized one when unfolded. It was shown off behind glass and we didn't get to touch it, so for all we know it could have been paper mache. According to Energizer, folds aside, the highlight of this phone is likely its 10,000mAh battery, but it also has a 48MP main camera, a 12MP secondary lens and a 24MP selfie camera, plus a Snapdragon 855 chipset and 8GB of RAM. We haven't heard about the Energizer Power Max 8100S since its early-2019 reveal, so don't expect it to ever go on sale. Check out our initial impressions of the Energizer Power Max 8100S. Source: Concept foldable phones: check out these folding and rolling smartphones
LG teases its Rollable phone again LG gives its expandable phone a name LG’s Rollable phone. LG is once again teasing its rollable phone. While we’ve seen brief hints in the past, at CES today, LG provided the best look at the device so far. Named LG Rollable, the device has what the company calls a “unique resizable screen” that transforms from a phone into a small tablet. The screen slides in and out of place to extend its surface area. It’s merely a concept right now, as part of LG’s “Explorer Project” experiments, and we still don’t know exactly what technology LG is using or the size of the expandable display. LG has previously used its Explorer Project to introduce its LG Wing smartphone, with a wild rotating design and two OLED displays. LG Rollable is the name for the expandable device. Image: LG It’s still not clear whether LG’s Rollable phone will ever make it to market, but the company has now branded this experiment so it seems more likely we’ll see an LG Rollable in the future. Other companies are also investigating rollable phone displays. TCL showed off a number of future phone concepts last year, and Oppo also demonstrated a concept device with an expandable OLED display. Phone manufacturers have yet to move beyond the concept and experiment phase with their rollable phones, though. Source: LG teases its Rollable phone again
LG denies the Rollable phone has been put on hold LG’s CES oddity may still be coming in 2021 LG Electronics has told The Verge that the company’s phone with a resizable screen, the LG Rollable, has not been put on hold. “I can firmly deny that any such decision on future mobile products has been finalized,” says an LG spokesperson. The denial comes in response to a report from Yonhap News that LG had reportedly told parts suppliers that the Rollable had been put on hold and that they could request a refund for their development efforts. Denying that a final decision has been made is not quite the same thing as reassuring everyone that the Rollable is still coming in 2021, but it could reflect the general uncertainty that comes with designing, manufacturing, and shipping complicated electronics during a global pandemic. And it could also be that the Yonhap News report is somewhere near the truth. LG also firmly denied a report in January that it was planning to exit the smartphone business, and Korean outlet TheElec wound up deleting that report, only to see LG turn around later and admit that it was indeed considering an exit from smartphones, even if the decision hadn’t been finalized yet. If LG did decide to put the Rollable on hold, it could be to change release dates or to re-engineer some part of its design. Not every change in manufacturing schedule necessarily means cancellation. It would probably come as a surprise to LG employees if it did get canceled, though: TheElec’s now-deleted story originally suggested that smartphone business or no, Project I (LG’s codename for the Rollable) would continue, XDA Developers wrote. LG has had a hard time competing with other smartphone makers like Samsung or Huawei, and its smartphone business has lost approximately $4.5 billion over the last five years. But it has seemed committed to making sure the LG Wing isn’t the last “unique” phone design it releases. The Rollable’s future is uncertain, but the story definitely isn’t over yet. LG denies the Rollable phone has been put on hold