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Motorola’s Rollable Phone Concept Points to a Wild Future

The strange rolling phone transforms when a button is pressed.

Motorola made a great impression in 2020 with its clamshell-folding Razor, and at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, it has elevated the flexible display to new heights. A display that wraps around the phone’s bottom is a feature of the Motorola roll able phone concept. Then, that rolled-up screen may either roll away and serve as a convenient second screen or automatically extend outward to form a larger display.

Even though it’s merely a proof of concept, the phone I got my hands on actually functions. The phone unfolds when a side button is double-pressed, with the display stretching past the top edge to produce a larger 16:9 display. If you double-press once more, it will slowly slip back in.

Certain apps will initiate the transformation automatically. For example, if you’re watching a YouTube video and tilt your phone horizontally, the YouTube app will automatically flip the orientation and the display will also extend outward, giving you a larger viewing area to help you become more immersed in your chosen content.

In my demonstration, I also witnessed how, when scrolling through your emails, the phone would remain in its smaller mode, but that by hitting “Compose,” the screen will expand and make more area for the keyboard.

The screen can serve as a second display when it is folded down to its smallest size and wraps around the back of the phone. It can be used to check the weather, new notifications, and other data. When the camera is activated, the rear display transforms into a selfie viewfinder.

It’s a neat idea, and I actually found it interesting to watch the phone change in my hand. The endurance of the display when it stretches worries me, though. As it protrudes over the top of the phone, it is really thin, and it feels like it could very easily sustain damage. But those are precisely the kinds of issues that will be resolved during the concept stage.

If and when this phone does go on sale, Motorola is keeping mum about the price we might have to pay. Even if it features several cameras, the business hasn’t provided any details about their specifications or any other important aspects of the phone itself. Check out our list of the top foldable phones available right now if you’re interested in flexible phone screens for the time being.