Are We Finally Going to See a Rollable Phone in 2021?

LG Rollable Phone CES 2021
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Last year, TCL teased tech people with a rollable mobile phone which got them excited. Compared to the foldable phone that closes like a clamshell or a book, TCL’s model grows bigger. The dummy that they showed expands the size of the phone from a 6.75-inch phone to a 7.8-inch phablet.

In the recently concluded CES 2021, LG and TCL both featured a rollable phone. LG revealed their LG Rollable, while TCL gave a close look that their rollable phone they are developing. The good news is that they will launch a phone with a flexible display within the year. However, TCL would not confirm if the phone they will release is rollable or foldable.

Foldable or rollable?

On the side of LG, pundits believe that it is going to be a foldable phone because it is already a saleable item, what with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2. Likewise, TCL also had a foldable phone concept last year.

TCL might release a rollable phone because they have already shown a rollable device that expands the display. The company called their concept the AMOLED Rollable Display. In the video they showed at the CES 2021, the phone’s display extends upwards, increasing the screen from 6.7 inches (17.02 cm) to 7.8 inches (19.81 cm) at the touch of a button.

The phone is believed to be about 10 mm thick, making it similar to most smartphones already in the market. Given this, it will have an advantage over the foldable phone which is thicker when folded.

TCL’s rollable phone, based on the video, will have a mirror-like back. From everything that’s been shown, the interface will adapt as the size increases. At this point, it is not yet clear whether the videos and apps change size seamlessly, or if the appearance of the interface and the way you interact with it will change.

The fate of the LG Rollable phone

The excitement over LG’s possible rollable phone launch this year was doused with cold water. Days after the CES, rumors circulated the LG will be selling its mobile phone business due to poor sales over several years. The company has not confirmed the rumor but said that it is open to all possibilities. Local industry sources on the other hand are saying that LG may abandon the rollable phone project so as not to repeat the disappointment over the LG Wing. The company’s mobile phone business is suffering from low revenues for its high-end phones.

TCL rollable phone
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A huge possibility of a rollable phone from TCL

Overall, tech experts are still optimistic that a rollable phone from TCL will become a reality, as the company also showed a Printed Flexible OLED Scrolling Display. Apparently, the item seemed like a piece of paper. It is 0.18 mm thick. It can be unrolled from its narrow tube-like shape to open out into a 17-inch screen. We might be able to get more updates during the MWC 2021.

Since the technology is already there, it is highly likely that we are going to see the launch of a rollable phone this year. Such a release might be the impetus to revive the declining sales of mobile phones overall. The market has matured and many users are holding on to their smartphones longer, first due to the price, and second because they found a phone model with features that satisfy them.