Samsung has been marketing their foldable smartphones as the future of smartphone technology but it seems the future might not just folds but also rolls.
It's no secret that Oppo has been one of the most exciting companies to follow for a couple of years. From launching the motorized Oppo Find X to periscope zoom cameras to crazy fast charging solutions. The company knows how to get people excited about technology. And now they are back with another cool concept, the rollable smartphone. Known as the Oppo X 2021 and is the first working rollable concept phone we've seen from a mainstream smartphone company. TCL showcased one earlier this year but I don't think that counts since it was a dummy unit.
Anyway, this phone has a rollable mechanized display that extends with just a touch or a swipe. It looks like any other smartphone with a 6.7-inch curved-edge display at first glance. But a simple swipe on the side will expand the display to 7.4-inches for that tablet experience. This mechanism has two dual rolling motors that extend or retract the display with equally-distributed force on both halves of the phone. When extended, the display is supported by metal layers under the panel which ensures that the display isn't very susceptible to damages.
The biggest advantage of rollable smartphones over foldables is that there won't be any crease on the display something current foldables are still trying to overcome. Another advantage is that there is no need for a second display or a second front camera like on the Z Fold. And on top of that rollable smartphones can be way thinner than foldable phones.
This Oppo phone is just 9mm thick about the same as the Galaxy S20 Ultra. The current best foldable the Z Fold 2 measures 16mm thick when folded so that's a big plus for rollable phones.
Also, the Motor on this phone allows users to unroll the display as much as they want, which means you don't have to either fully extend the display or use it at its native size. You can find your sweet spot and won’t have to worry about settling for 6.4-inches or 7.4-inches.
Since it doesn't have a fixed display it presents new opportunities for developers and users. Oppo gives the example of clicking a video link which then results in the screen adjusting for the aspect ratio on its own. The possibilities are endless.
By the way, It's important to remember that this is just a concept and there are actually no release plans yet. But I'm almost certain LG is going to beat Oppo to market. LG has already teased the same rollable phone at their event a month ago and they are planning to launch a commercial handset as soon as March in about 4 months. That's the phone you can actually buy, unlike this one.
Samsung is also rumored to launch a rollable smartphone next year and their Chairman was recently seen holding a rollable Samsung prototype which certainly indicates that companies are seeing a huge potential in rollable smartphones and like I've said they might even beat foldables as the next big thing. Of course, that depends on how practical these motors are and what is the lifecycle of this mechanism.
But this is certainly exciting. It feels like we're back in the 2000s when companies used to come up with crazy ideas for their phones but this is totally a whole new level and excited to see what they bring us to the table.
Let me know what do you think about this down in the comments.