Presenting Motorola's rollable concept phone: is this the future?

Presenting Motorola's rollable concept phone: is this the future?
Fun fact — foldable phones actually increased in terms of sales last year, contrary to the rest of the smartphone market. But are folding screens truly the best approach when it comes to the future of our favorite pocket companions? Some of you might already be aware, but there is another way to tackle this conundrum. Yes, we are talking about rollable displays, and Motorola just gave us a sneak peak at their own vision of this form factor.

Motorola's rollable phone concept

We are used to seeing mostly the same from phone manufacturers — such are the times after all — but every once in a while a glimpse into the future appears to us and reignites the ember. Such an example is Motorola's rollable phone concept that we got to check out today.

It can be seen as an alternative device to Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip, or Oppo's N Flip series. The difference here is that you have constant access to the screen and its contents. The default size is 5 inches, which might not sound enough, but to us it seemed plenty for most everyday tasks. Want more screen real estate? No worries, the display can extend itself to 6.5 inches!

Why does it roll vertically instead of horizontally? According to what Motorola told us, the reasoning behind this decision is practicality and familiarity. The tablet-like approach is arguably more niche in comparison. By extending the display vertically, you get more space for social media applications while having a more compact phone in your pocket at the same time. Plus, you can always use it as a regular phone by turning the device horizontally to enjoy video content.

What makes it special, though, is that it can intuitively react to specific use cases. For example, if you start a YouTube video in a horizontal orientation the phone will automatically recognize that and extend its display to match the aspect ratio for the content being played.

Similarly, in the Gmail app, Motorola's rollable concept phone extents itself to provide more space for the keyboard and text. Of course, you also have the option to roll it back to its default position by double-tapping the dedicated side key, with the software adjusting itself according to the screen size.

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The other neat feature related to this rollable display was to use part of it as a helpful secondary screen while taking photos with the rear cameras. This is possible when the screen is in its default position, a.k.a. not extended. Check out an example below:

The implication's of a rollable display

Now, Motorola's concept phone had a custom case on it for protection purposes (duh). We were not allowed to remove it, but it goes without saying that this would be a necessary accessory. Why? Well, because this prototype was constructed using the same plastic display tech found on the Motorola Razr, which is very vulnerable to damage. There were already visible indentations on the units that were presented. That said, it is important to keep in mind that we are talking about a concept phone here.

There was also the worry that holding the phone would intrude with the rolling mechanism, but be it because of the case or the design, we didn't find any trouble on that front.

So is this a genuine vision of the future?

The truth is, it is hard to say whether we will see rollable phones overtake the increasing craze for their foldable alternatives. There are plenty of reasons to keep an eye on such concepts, though, as they make a lot of sense in many ways. At the same time, we cannot exclude the setbacks, so it is a matter of time before we find out which form factor will be selected via natural selection.

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