• Motorola, a subsidiary of Lenovo, unveiled the latest version of its prototype bending smartphone at the Lenovo Tech World 2023.
  • The new prototype features a flexible display, wrist-wrapping capability, and comfort enhancements across various display modes.
  • There still remains a question mark on its realness as a future product and availability.

In the realm of flexible devices, Motorola has proudly paraded its rollable phone concepts in the past. The tech brand has now upped its game and come out with a smartphone that bends on the wrist. This new device is designed to showcase future phone possibilities allowed by a flexible screen. Motorola unveiled this prototype bending smartphone at the Lenovo Tech World 2023, featuring a flexible display, wrist-wrapping capability, and comfort enhancements.

Almost two hours into the keynote, Lexi Valasek with the Motorola Innovation Research team took the stage with the latest iteration of Motorpla’s bendy concept phone. Like the one it showed off at Tech World 2016, a couple of years after it was acquired by Lenovo. The new device is basically a large smartphone built around a flexible OLED display that can bend backwards to wrap around the wrist, cuff-style.

motorola bending phone prototype

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This unique “wrist” phone concept was initially introduced at the Tech World event in 2016 and has remained relatively low-profile since then. However, Motorola recently seized the chance to reintroduce the concept, offering a demonstration of its features at the event. This new device doesn’t have a name yet, so let’s call it the bendable phone. The company says the screen can be “bent and shaped into different forms” depending on what you want. Motorola states, “This adaptive display concept further extends the display and mechanical advancements found in our foldable and rollable devices across both smartphone and PC categories.”

The Cool Specs

This version does seem more advanced than the one we saw seven years ago. When laid flat, its FHD+ pOLED display 6.9-inch screen can be used just like a standard phone with a full Android experience. The 2016 model only went into snap-bracelet mode, while the 2023 model can do a couple more poses. When in the upright position, it offers a “more compact form of full Android” as the display size is now reduced to 4.6 inches. Motorola envisions people using the device for video calls in the upright position. Alternatively, the company says you can wrap the device around your wrist to mimic the experience of the Motorola Razr Plus’s cover screen, ensuring connectivity on the go.

motorola bending phone on wrist

Motorola’s new prototype has a friendly orange fabric backing, likely designed for enhanced comfort during extended usage. When Valasek snapped it onto her wrist at the Lenovo event, she did so over what looked like a watch but seemed to be a blank metal square held on with a watchband. It might be magnetic and seems to be there to prevent the phone cuff from flying off your wrist every time you move your arm. All this looks fascinating initially but then the questions start pouring in. “What happens if I rest my wrist on a table?” or “What happens if I move my arm too fast?” or “How would I take a call?” 

Uncertain Availability

Although Motorola’s bending concept certainly had the wow factor, it is essential to note that it remains a prototype, and not all prototypes progress to the production stage. Foldable smartphones, despite being around for approximately five years, have only recently gained popularity. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that wrist-wrappable bendy smartphones may not become a common sight for at least a few more years. It could pretty much be just an experiment.

motorola bending phone prototype mode

However, perhaps a flexible display makes more sense now than it did several years ago, as major phone companies such as Samsung, OnePlus, Oppo and Motorola prove they can successfully release polished foldable phone products. Even the retro flip phone appears to be staging a comeback into the mainstream. That being said, companies tend to go slowly and cautiously with radical new designs. Given some of the hurdles foldable phones are facing, such as durability and price, it might be a while before that happens — if it happens at all.