LG Electronics intends to introduce its first foldable smartphone early next year at CES, according to known industry insider Evan Blass. LG has yet to confirm any details regarding the launch and specifications of its first foldable mobile device, but nevertheless, the OEM did previously confirm to AndroidHeadlines that it's been working on such a handset for several years now. LG also said that its goals aren't to be the first to introduce a foldable device to the market as the firm instead wants to deliver a smartphone that would be unique and meaningful.
CES 2019 will be the next major event where numerous smartphone manufacturers will showcase their latest products, and as expected LG will be one of the bigger tech giants to host a keynote in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Blass says he has no information regarding Samsung's plans for a foldable device, but according to previous reports, LG's closest rival might plan to unveil its first foldable smartphone as early as next month during Samsung Developer Conference before launching the device to the market early next year. The display arms of both Samsung and LG have been developing flexible displays for several years now, with each company attempting to make use of the technology in conjunction with the popular chocolate bar form factor. So far, Samsung's efforts led to the development of the popular Infinity Display curved around the edges, while LG's flexible display technology gave the mobile world the now-discontinued LG Flex smartphone series. Nevertheless, both OEMs seem to be locked in a race for developing new panels for foldable devices, and according to a previous report from KIPO, LG has the upper hand over Samsung in regards to how many flexible display patents it currently holds.
LG might not become the first OEM to launch a foldable smartphone, but LG Display is one of the largest OLED panel manufacturers in the world, and introducing a foldable device at the next CES would surely put LG Display on the radar as a major panel supplier for other OEMs who might want to adopt the new form factor. As to what LG smartphone will actually look like, only time will tell given that the OEM acquired patents for a wide variety of designs, including double and triple-folding units. The company also worked on ways to implement the foldable/flexible display technology into rollable form factors for larger tablet-like devices, but these might come to the consumer market at a later date, if at all.