Unlike other rollable phones such as the LG Rollable, Motorola’s prototype comes with a vertically extendable screen, making the phone taller at the touch of a button.
Designed as an alternative to phones with horizontally foldable screens like the Samsung Galaxy Flip and Motorola’s own RAZR model, Motorola’s first rollable screen phone would have several important advantages, such as the absence of unwanted “creases” in the folding area and the ability to self-adjust to the type of content displayed. For example, the length of the screen can be adjusted to perfectly frame the video being watched on YouTube, getting rid of unwanted black bands when viewing in maximised mode. At the same time, there’s no need for a secondary screen or other screen folding/folding hassles. Instead, the conventionally designed smartphone can become compact at the touch of a button.
Coming to the drawbacks, Motorola’s prototype has a rather long transition time when adjusting the screen, which can’t be said about foldable phones, whose screen can be accessed with a simple open/close gesture. Another aspect that seems to give trouble to engineers toying with the concept of rollable phones is the fragility of the rolling mechanism, which is particularly vulnerable to dust ingress and any deformations that could jam the high-precision mechanism. At the same time, rolling screens can also suffer from visible deformations in the adjustable portion, manifested as a ‘whirling’ effect across the entire rolling portion.
Although Motorola doesn’t offer a side view, viewed from the front the rollable screen appears to offer the full experience of a compact 4-inch screen smartphone, with a simple press of a button switching to 21:9 aspect ratio and 6.5-inch diagonal.
Still, we can’t help but wonder how much room for the battery is left in the case of a 4-inch screen phone in compact mode, which must also accommodate the mechanism for rolling it. We’ll probably be able to admire Motorola’s concept for rolling phones in more detail at CES 2023 at the latest.