The first wave of folding phone announcements is nigh, with Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi and others expected to show devices this month. But the one company I’d expect to join them — LG — says it’ll be sitting this one out.
Though LG is the same company that’s been wowing us with rollable TVs, it just told reporters that it’s “too early” to produce a folding phone.
Here’s what LG Electronics mobile and TV boss Brian Kwon said during a press conference in Seoul, as reported by The Korea Times:
“During the Consumer Electronics Show in January, LG introduced a rollable TV. This is an advanced technology one step ahead of foldable technology. We have reviewed releasing the foldable smartphone when launching 5G smartphone but decided not to produce it,” Kwon said.
”The market demand for smartphones is expected to be at around 1 million but LG’s main issue in smartphone business is to regain its market position. Considering this situation, it is too early for LG to launch a foldable smartphone. In terms of technology, we are fully ready to respond depending on consumers’ reactions (to foldable smartphones).”
It’s definitely early days for foldables
It’s not quite clear from those translated statements whether LG has yet to even develop a folding phone, or just isn’t ready to launch one because the demand may not be there, but the latter seems plausible. It’s pretty clear that bendy gadgets are still in the early stages, with little consensus on the best form factor — TCL is reportedly trying five different designs! — and lots of unanswered questions about how practical they’ll be in the real world.
“What I can say is that we’ve been looking at this form factor for many years,” an LG spokesman tells The Verge.
While we’ve seen LG submit patent applications for foldables for a number of years now, the company may indeed need to focus on its traditional smartphones first, where it won’t just be selling devices to early adopters. LG appointed Kwon to be head of its struggling mobile division just last November, in an attempt to turn the business around.
Speaking of LG’s traditional smartphones, the company has two new flagships coming up fast. The Korea Times says LG has now officially confirmed that the 5G-enabled V50 ThinQ and LG G8 ThinQ will each be announced at the company’s press conference at Mobile World Congress later this month, with the V50 shipping between March and April.