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LG says it can make foldable phones too, but it won’t release any this year

Published Feb 18th, 2019 10:58AM EST
LG Foldable Phone vs. Galaxy F
Image: Twitter

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A rumor from a trusted source said a few months ago that LG would launch a foldable smartphone at CES 2019. The event came and went, but LG did not unveil its first ever handset with a foldable screen. It turns out that LG won’t make any foldable smartphone this year, although the company insists that it has the ability to make them if it wants to.

Unlike some of its rivals working on foldable smartphones, including Huawei and Xiaomi, LG has a display business that can actually develop foldable screens for smartphones and other gadgets.

Like Samsung, which has been teasing foldable phones for years and already confirmed that a foldable Galaxy phone will hit stores this year, LG would have the ability to manufacture its own foldable OLED screens for phones. That could be a massive advantage for the company. Not to me mention that a distant rumor said LG is working with Apple on developing foldable screens for iPhones.

However, LG thinks the foldable phone market isn’t lucrative enough, and that’s an understandable stance for a company that posted 15 straight quarters of losses — overall, the company’s mobile business lost $286 million due to sluggish sales and increased marketing costs, according to The Korea Herald.

“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,” LG’s president and head of the mobile communications division Kwon Bong-seok told The Herald while suggesting LG has the tech to respond to the competition.

He continued, “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).”

Kwon also told reporters that the company will unveil two flagship phones at Mobile World Congress later this week. That includes the LG G8 ThinQ, whose signature features were already announced, and the next V-series handset believed to be the V50 ThinQ 5G phone we saw in leaks last week.

“The latest V-series smartphone, which will be released between March and April, will be run on 5G and the G-series smartphone will become a premium LTE smartphone brand,” the exec said.

Samsung is expected to at least tease the Galaxy F foldable handset during its Unpacked event on Wednesday. A few days later, Huawei is expected to unveil its foldable handset, which will be a 5G device. Beyond that, several other smartphone makers including Xiaomi, Vivo, and TCL, might launch their first foldable handsets this year.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.