Forget foldable phones; the next big trend could be gadgets that bend.
Lenovo, currently holding its ninth Tech World event in Austin, Texas, showed off its new collaboration with subsidiary Motorola: a smartphone that wraps around your wrist like a watchband.
Admittedly, it is quite fascinating to see the technology in action. Lenovo calls its device the ‘Adaptive Display Concept’, which consists of a poLED screen with Full HD Plus resolution (2,228 x 1,080 pixels) that ‘can be bent and formed into different shapes to suit the user’s needs to fulfil. There’s no external hinge either, as the prototype is a single-screen Android phone. The company explains that bending it in half turns the 6.9-inch into a 4.6-inch wide one. It can stand upright on the curved portion, in an arc, or wrap around a wrist, as mentioned previously.
Unfortunately, that’s all we know about the hardware itself. The Adaptive Display Concept did appear on stage Tech world 2023 where the presenter showed off his flexibility by placing him over her arm. But other than this demonstration, both Lenovo and Motorola are remaining tight-lipped.
Upcoming AI projects
In addition to the prototype, Lenovo and Motorola also unveiled some of the generative AI models they are currently developing. These will reportedly give people the opportunity to add a personal touch to their gadgets.
For example, one model allows users to “upload or take a photo of their outfit and then create… unique AI-generated” backgrounds to match their clothes. With the Adaptive Display Concept you create your own background by placing it on a table and taking photos with hand gestures.
In addition to the wallpaper tool, the two are working together to develop a “personal assistant for… PCs and smartphones” called MotoAI. The announcement post claims that it will be able to learn a person’s patterns and preferences so that it can provide a “dynamic” experience.
Motorola’s Doc Scanner will then receive an upgrade that minimizes wrinkles and ensures sharp documents. Finally, there is AI Text Summarization which, as the name suggests, can summarize long documents or emails into a concise block of text. To us, its function sounds similar to Chrome’s SGE while browsing tool.
Analysis: Now is the right time
This isn’t the first time both brands have dabbled in bendable hardware. All the way back in 2016, Lenovo debuted its Cplus smartphone. It had the ability to be folded in half, although it did have a noticeable “creaking” effect. Obviously that device never saw the light of day; probably because of his reported vulnerability. But perhaps the company managed to figure out the technology thanks to its collaboration partner.
Earlier this year, Motorola demonstrated the rollable Rizr concept smartphone, with a screen that rolls over the bottom edge. They have proven that this form factor is possible. Perhaps the two brands will pool their resources and knowledge together in what we like to call the final form of foldable products.
Lenovo may have been too far ahead of its time with the Cplus. But now could be the right time to develop bendable mobile devices. This could give the pair an edge over rivals like the Galaxy Z Fold5 or the OnePlus Open, which offer foldable screens that don’t quite match the apparent flexibility of this concept.
It will be fascinating to see what Lenovo and Motorola come up with next. We’d love to see a multi-hinged device like the Adaptive Display Concept hit store shelves.
Check out TechRadar’s list of the best foldable phones for 2023.