Although it's becoming clearer and clearer that foldable phones are bound to make waves this year and beyond, one company makes it clear that it won't be jumping aboard the foldable phone bandwagon just yet.
Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, plus a number of other phone manufacturers have made foldable phone announcements in recent months, some of them due to debut devices later this month. However, LG is sitting this one out.
LG Not Releasing A Foldable Phone
It's a bit surprising, to say the least, especially since LG seems very well capable of producing foldable phones. Heck, it showed off a rollable OLED TV just last month. Not to mention being granted a patent last year for a phone that can turn into a tablet in an instant.
The engineering is there, that much is clear. So, what gives? Well, According to Brian Kwon, LG's mobile and TV head, it's all about demand for smartphones in general. Here's Kwon's statement, as The Korea Times reports:
"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," said Kwon. "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)."
The State Of Foldable Phones
It's not quite clear from Kwon's statement whether or not LG has actually tried developing a foldable phone concept or is simply not ready to launch one because it doesn't see significant demand. While unfortunate, it's a measured decision. After all, foldable devices are still somewhat gimmicky at this stage. Beyond the "wow" factor, no one has actually made a strong case about the functions and conveniences of a foldable design.
There are still lots of unanswered questions, chief of which is how a foldable phone would be practical in terms of real-world usage. Strength and durability are two other big uncertainties. How quickly would a foldable display degrade over repeated use? How fragile would it be?
LG has been looking at the foldable form factor for many years, according to a spokesperson.
Focusing on traditional smartphones is a smart move on LG's part — that is if they turn out to be a mere gimmick. Suppose the inverse is true and foldable phones are the future, then LG risks being irrelevant, much like when other companies insisted on QWERTY handsets when the iPhone was released and even doubted Apple's success in the smartphone space.