LG has long experimented with flexible displays, with years of research starting to bear fruit in the company's super-light, super-bendy (and super-expensive) OLED TV displays. It now looks as though the company may be ready to begin trickling that tech down into some interesting portable devices.
A 2016 patent, uncovered by LetsGoDigital describes a device with a flexible, extendable display. Filed with the World Intellectual Property Organisation and published last week, it shows a device that can be pulled at the sides, extending the screen depending on the application. This appears to leave an exposed edge to the extended part of the screen, with a metal frame circling the display when back in its 'neutral' position.
The patent shows a number of different applications for the device, including an extended keyboard, and more screen real estate for when dealing with emails, versus the at-a-glance portability of its smaller portrait position.
Other mod cons
The device, as described in the patent, would include many of the features you'd expect to find in your average smartphone too, from a wireless module to a camera and mic, right down to a removable battery.
However, as ever, a patent is now sure-fire sign of a product in the works, but merely a company protecting its ideas from the competition.
But, as the smartphone market has matured, and flexible screen technologies improved, the potential for a real device like this has grown. It's increasingly difficult for phone buyers to get excited by yet another metal-and-glass slate phone. An idea like this brought to fruition could reap rewards for LG, whose smartphone business – while turning out solid devices – has never quite reached the heights it hoped for.
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