Motorola is taking advantage of MWC 2023 to showcase a prototype rollable smartphone that is as stunning as it is smart. We were able to take it upon ourselves to share our first impressions (but also our fears) with you.
Bluff. We were able to discover the most exciting product of MWC 2023: a rollable (or rollable?) smartphone. A very impressive concept that we were allowed to take up and that is signed by… Motorola.
A “Rizr” inspired by Razr
If we can read the mention “Rizr” on the back of the device, the latter has no official name. Motorola spokesmen simply speak of a “roll-up proof of conceptIn other words, it is a prototype. Despite this, it has already left a strong impression on us because it was already well thought out.
The expandable smartphone first comes as a device with a 5-inch display in 15:9 aspect ratio. A double press of the power button on the side and you’re done! The plate rolls out smoothly thanks to a motorized system and offers you a more classic 6.5-inch screen in 21:9.
The transition is smooth and really impresses. The ability to specify that the screen used is of the same kind as on a foldable Motorola Razr – it’s quite logical, you need a flexible panel in both cases. However, since it is a rollable smartphone, we find the same principle as on the Oppo X 2021 prototype.
In other words, the screen is stored in a special space – and more or less hidden – on the back of the smartphone. Please note that a small part remains visible at the back to display, among other things, the summary information of theAlways on display. Only if you want to take advantage of the 6.5-inch diagonal, this hidden part on the back is deployed on the front. Believe me, it does its best.
A convenient software experience
Moreover, Motorola did not stop at simple hardware. The brand has already thought about some applications around this format. I think of three examples: YouTube, Gmail and selfies.
Let’s start with YouTube. If you start a video on the application while holding your smartphone vertically, you will not notice anything special. However, once the device is tilted horizontally, it understands that the video should be full screen and automatically activates the extension of the panel. Go back to the home screen and the phone will retract itself. Smart.
On Gmail, the demonstration is also interesting. If you scroll through your inbox while the smartphone is in 5-inch format, it behaves normally. However, if you press the button to compose a new mail, the phone screen automatically rolls down to make room for the keyboard at the bottom. That’s smart again.
Finally, if you want to take a selfie, you can shoot yourself with the sensors on the back to enjoy better quality and you will then get a screen return on the part of the screen that will be saved on the back of the smartphone. to adopt the best posture.
However, if you do not want to return the smartphone, you can simply press the button to switch to the front camera.
But where is this hidden? Under the screen? Not quite. It only reveals itself when you activate the selfie mode: the screen rolls out very slightly, but this time down and there you can see the front camera. We find the same operation – with the screen that drops only a few millimeters – for calls.
Motorola rollable smartphone prototype at MWC 2023 // Source: Frandroid
In addition to the selfie camera, a thin speaker is indeed accommodated so that you can easily make calls with the compact shape of the smartphone.
The fears surrounding this rollable smartphone
Of course, certain fears remain around this prototype. Can the onboard motorized system hold up over time without being damaged? The brand does not communicate about this. Still on durability, we can be concerned to see that the top part of the smartphone, when rolled out, is particularly thin. It seems pretty easy to accidentally break it there.
Finally, let’s highlight an inconvenient detail: the noise generated by the smartphone when it rolls up or down. The decibels skyrocket. We would of course like a more discreet device.
All of these questions are probably already in the minds of the Motorola teams, which obviously doesn’t give an estimate of the release date for a possibly completed and marketable model.
NB. Frandroid was able to take control of this product as part of a special program organized by Motorola for certain technical media.
Our journalist Omar Belkaab is in Barcelona to cover MWC 2023 in its entirety, but he is there as part of a press tour organized by Honor.