Motorola thinks about the phone that unrolls from all sides

Foldable smartphones are the real novelty on the market in recent years: they are the only ones to have grown in terms of shipments in recent months, and they are also the ones that have diversified the offer, by now flattened by devices that are basically all the same, now distinguished only by the shape of the rear photo module. Among the protagonists of the foldable segment is Motorola, which, with its revamped Moto Razr series, has merged present and past with moderate success.

Not forgetting the concepts and patents demonstrating the commitment and will bring products with a novel form factor to the market. So here is Moto Rollable, capable of unfolding from 5 to 6.5 inches, and again, the smartphone smartwatch shown by Lenovo at Tech World ’23 that wraps around the wrist with its foldable screen. Among the patents, a very special one was approved just this week by the USPTO.

At the heart of this patent lies a novel dual-device housing assembly equipped with translating blade assemblies featuring flexible displays. The device comes with a controller that intelligently monitors the device’s position, using sensors to detect when it is unfolded. Triggered by a display positioning event, translation mechanisms are activated to extend two blade assemblies. These blades can emerge from opposite sides of the hinge or adjacent sides, dynamically enhancing the display area.

Motorola thinks about the phone that unrolls from all sides
Motorola thinks about the phone that unrolls from all sides

When to see it

‘Foldable communication device with two rollable displays’: this is the title of Motorola’s documentation. Basically, both halves of the display of the foldable smartphone can separately stretch both vertically and horizontally, thus extending the usable screen area. The smartphone has a controller that monitors the device’s position and uses integrated sensors to detect when it is open. Once activated, the mechanism extends both flexible panels, enlarging the display up to four times. On paper, the idea is intriguing, as we could have an extremely compact smartphone in our pocket that can be enlarged when needed.

What’s more, the user has the option of choosing the direction in which to extend the display – vertical only, horizontal only, or both. However, several doubts remain, from aesthetics to the smartphone’s functionality. This is obviously a patent and not a concrete product; what is certain is that Lenovo and Motorola are proving with their concepts and the increasing number of patents that they believe in this segment.

The unveiling of the Motorola Razr rollable smartphone concept took place in February 2023. Building on this trend, there’s speculation that the Motorola Razr Dual concept might make its debut at MWC this year. While rollable smartphones are yet to be launched widely, several tech giants are actively engaged in developing such innovative devices. Recent updates suggest that Samsung might introduce its first-generation rollable smartphone as soon as 2025, with projections indicating that the earliest availability of a rollable featuring two extendable displays could be in 2026.

Antonino Caffo has been involved in journalism, particularly technology, for fifteen years. He is interested in topics related to the world of IT security but also consumer electronics. Antonino writes for the most important Italian generalist and trade publications. You can see him, sometimes, on television explaining how technology works, which is not as trivial for everyone as it seems.