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LG Rollable phone makes a CES appearance, and we're intrigued

Move over foldables, the rollables era may be upon us.

The LG Rollable is a concept teased at CES 2021. 

Screenshot by Allyza Umali/CNET
This story is part of CES, where our editors will bring you the latest news and the hottest gadgets of the entirely virtual CES 2021.

Update, 10:56 p.m. PT: It's official: The LG Rollable is a real smartphone and it's coming out this year.


Kicking off CES on Monday with a bang, Korean tech giant LG teased its rollable phone during its early-morning press conference. LG's rolling phone was first shown off with the LG Wing in September, but thanks to a video we now have a clear front-on view of what the company has been working on behind the scenes, and we know its name: the LG Rollable.

Previously all we'd seen of LG's rollable was a dimly lit side-on view of what looked like a standard-sized phone that slid out into a slim tablet. But in this latest clip, the phone is shown in all its glory, with the display smoothly scrolling out to reveal an expanded screen -- like a small-scale version of its rollable TVs. Presumably, the screen will be able to expand and contract based on your needs, whether it's a mobile device on the go or a larger tablet for when you can sit down and focus on the content. 

Two teasers were shown for the phone, one at the beginning of the press conference and one at the end. It was only in the final clip that we learned the device's official name. Unfortunately the phone wasn't explicitly mentioned during the event, so there's still plenty we don't know about it -- including when we might be able to learn more about this enigma of a device.

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The name announcement we've been waiting for.

Screenshot/Katie Collins

LG has never shied away from experimenting with unusual phone concepts and pushing them out into the mainstream. Back in 2013 when big phones were still referred to as "phablets," the company unveiled a giant phone with a curved display called the G Flex. Eight years on, screen technology has evolved significantly from rigid curves to fully flexible rolls.

That's not to say LG is the first company to reveal to the world that it's experimenting with rollable screen technology. TCL and Oppo have also teased their efforts at harnessing the tech -- and we're sure these three won't be alone. In the coming months, we're excited to see which other companies are experimenting with rollables, and whether they can make them compelling enough for us to adopt in favor of more conventional phone designs.

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