Rollable Motorola phone, and a rollable Lenovo laptop prototypes can be seen at the MWC trade show in Barcelona.
The phone is a thick brick with a 5-in display in a squat 15:9 aspect ratio that can in fact roll up to reveal a full 6.5in screen in a more traditional 22:9 form.
When fully extended the extra screen hangs off the top of the revealing on the rear its unofficial name: the Rizr, both a play on the Razr foldable and a nod to the company’s line of T3 slider phones in the noughties.
Meanwhile, when the phone is ‘closed’ the spare screen wraps around the rear, giving you an extra mini display. Motorola showed this off running an always-on display, a viewfinder for the camera, and fun animations and widgets.
It does work. Users can manually roll and unroll the screen with a button tap but it’s smart enough to figure things out for itself. Watch a video in landscape mode, and it’ll automatically expand to give you the full widescreen view. Opening an email in portrait mode, and as the keyboard pops up so will the rest of the panel. It’ll roll down a fraction whenever you need to access the selfie camera or the earpiece for phone calls, as both are hidden out of sight, just behind the top of the panel.
The same tech is found in the Lenovo rollable laptop. This is a ThinkBook chassis where the 12.7-inch display can expand upwards to a full 15.3-inch panel. When unextended, the flexible OLED panel slides underneath the keyboard, and right now it’s such early days that the pixels don’t even turn off when it does so – though that’s one of the changes the company would introduce for any future retail model. It’s not a touchscreen but that would be a logical extension of a future product.