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Home / Features / Motorola’s bendy phone is real and I think it shows the future of displays

Motorola’s bendy phone is real and I think it shows the future of displays

Motorola's last bendy concept phone is fun, but won't hit the shelves. What's really exciting is the display tech behind it

Motorola Bendable Concept Smartphone on Wrist

If you’re anything like me, you have a love/hate relationship with concept smartphones. On the one hand, they’re cool – showing off cutting edge tech is always exciting. But on the other, I’m often thinking “what’s the point?” and left scratching my head when they never see the light of day. But Motorola’s latest concept is a little different, and (do I dare say it?) I think I’m a fan.

Back in October, Motorola showed us a concept of a fully flexible phone that can even bend around your wrist. This bendy phone is real, and it’s making an appearance at the MWC tech show in Barcelona. Now, let’s put this actual device aside for a second – it’s probably never going to be something you can buy. The display tech behind it is what’s really exciting, and it shows us the future of displays.

What is Motorola’s concept phone?

There’s not much that we actually know about the concept device – it is just a concept, after all. What we do know is that it’s a 6.9-inch smartphone with a plastic pOLED display. The back is made from multiple different segments, each with its own hinge – think Snake from the old game. It’s covered in a bright orange fabric that keeps everything together as you bend it. And… that’s about it.

In demos, Motorola has shown the phone being slapped around your wrist. We know there’s a magnet inside that can keep the phone held in whatever configuration you can conjure up. It’s unclear what’s on the inside, but that doesn’t much matter for a concept.

Thanks to the segments at the back and the bendable Adaptive Display, this concept is rather chunky. It’s a thicker device than normal flagships, so would irk to carry in your pocket. Never mind wrap it around your wrist.

So, what’s the exciting bit?

The exciting bit here is the display tech that makes Motorola’s concept work. Here, the Adaptive Display uses different segments to move freely. The actual device is just as flexible as the display, and that’s the kicker.

If Motorola can shrink down the display tech to something much thinner, it could be used for an all-screen smartwatch. Or how about a flexible display you could roll up like a huge bit of paper? Remember the old rollable TV concepts? This is how we could see them actually arrive in our living rooms. Forget this bendy phone for a second, and just focus on the display. And that’s the exciting bit for our future gadgets.

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Connor is a writer for Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website. He has been writing for around seven years now, with writing across the web and in print too. Connor has experience on most major platforms, though does hold a place in his heart for macOS, iOS/iPadOS, electric vehicles, and smartphone tech. Just like everyone else around here, he’s a fan of gadgets of all sorts! Aside from writing, Connor is involved in the startup scene. This exciting involvement puts him at the front of new and exciting tech, always on the lookout for innovating products.

Areas of expertise

Mobile, macOS, EVs, smart home

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