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LG is experimenting with rollable smartphones

LG just introduced the first rollable television. The company could use the same tech to make rollable smartphones a reality.LG just introduced the first rollable television. The company could use the same tech to make rollable smartphones a reality.Image: Getty Images2016%252f09%252f16%252f8f%252fhttpsd2mhye01h4nj2n.cloudfront.netmediazgkymde1lza3.c1888.jpg%252f90x90By Karissa Bell2019-01-11 22:33:52 UTC

LG, the company behind the mind-bendingly cool rollable television, is looking to bring the same flexible display tech to smartphones, according to one of the company's top executives.

The CTO of the Korean electronics company confirmed in an interview with Tom's Guide that the company is experimenting with rollable and foldable phones.

"We are exploring many different form factors for phones, including foldable and rollable," LG CTO IP Park said. 

"Because display technology has grown so much that it can make it into very flexible form factors. And with 5G, if the market requires much bigger screens, we'll need to fold it or roll it. So we'll explore."

LG isn't the first company to look at new form factors for phones. Samsung recently showed off a prototype for a foldable phone, which should make its debut in the first half of this year. Chinese company Royole also showed off a foldable phone, the FlexPai, but it's currently only available in China.

While not necessarily surprising, LG's entry into the space is good news for anyone excited about making foldable phones a reality. The company has been experimenting with flexible displays for years, culminating with the reveal of the LG Signature OLED TV R, a 65-inch TV that rolls up when not in use. 

That trick, which you can see in action in the video above, is possible thanks to some clever engineering. Instead of mounting the flexible OLED panel onto a piece of glass like a traditional TV, LG has mounted the display on a flexible substance that allows it to roll. The set can roll and unroll up to 50,000 times without breaking, according to the company.

Royole's foldable phone, the FlexPai

Royole's foldable phone, the FlexPai

Image: karissa bell / mashable

The thought of LG applying that same concept to smartphones is particularly intriguing, as such a phone could actually be rollable as opposed to the fold-up devices Royole and Samsung have shown off. 

While it's not clear whether that type of rollable tech is even viable in a smartphone form factor, it's yet another sign that foldable and rollable phones are more than just a passing fad. 

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