The LG Rollable is the first of a new form factor of expanding phones where flexible screens are used to make a device bigger, not by folding, but by unrolling and expanding.
If LG survives, they are expected to release the device at the end of 2021, having teased it at CES 2021.
A series of design patents have given us an idea of how the device will work, and the latest explains how LG will fit a front-facing camera on the handset.
The short answer is that LG will not. Instead, it appears LG expects users to take selfies using the rear camera, and to facilitate this the company is planning to add a small screen at the rear of the device.
The design patent which reveals this decision was published on the 12th of February at the CNIPA (China National Intellectual Property Administration).
The design patent also reveals that LG will be loading most external features, including buttons, speakers and microphones on the left hand edge of the handset, presumably to free space inside the device for the rollable screen.
Previous patents show a device with narrow screen edges and a rounded display that can be increased by about 40% when you pull the phone open, meaning it can also be used as a tablet. And in order for the sliding process to be smooth, LG is using a rail system which, however, is visible in the extended position. On the back of the device, you can see a triple camera setup.
Companies like Samsung, TCL are reportedly working on a similar concept, though we don’t know whether or not these will release this year. However, rumour has it that Samsung is going to release its rollable phone this year.
Meanwhile, what we just saw from LG is just a patent, which means there is no guarantee that we see LG turning this into a real product, especially given rumours that LG is planning to exit the phone market.