The Korea Herald


Future of LG’s rollable smartphone up in the air

By Shim Woo-hyun

Published : Jan. 22, 2021 - 15:31

    • Link copied

An image captured from LG Electronics' teaser for its rollable smartphone model (LG Electronics) An image captured from LG Electronics' teaser for its rollable smartphone model (LG Electronics)

The future of LG Electronics’ next generation smartphone model with a rollable OLED display hangs in the air as the tech giant seeks to sell its money-losing mobile business unit.

The company said Friday that it was still developing the Rollable, but added that detailed plans for its launch had not been decided, and that the company was “open to every possibility.”

During this year’s CES, LG teased the model with a 10-second clip, grabbing global media attention as the next form factor innovation in smartphones. Industry insiders here had predicted a launch later this year.

The anticipation, however, was recently replaced by doubts, as LG this week admitted it was considering an exit from the mobile phone business.

Some local industry sources say the company may choose to abort the project altogether, not to repeat the failure of Wing, a 5G swivel phone with two displays.

Despite being billed as the smartphone of the future, the model fared poorly, selling less than 100,000 units snice its launch in September last year.

Wing’s failure added woes to LG’s smartphone business.

Operating losses from the segment were estimated at 800 billion won last year. The accumulated operating loss since 2015 was expected to reach around 5 trillion won.

Even if the Rollable fares better than the Wing, it won’t be able to deliver a dramatic turnaround for LG, as it is a high-end model, with a likely retail price of over 2 million won, some industry insiders said. LG, however, could use it as leverage to get a higher price for its smartphone business from potential buyers, they said. 

By Shim Woo-hyun (