Motorola’s new foldable phone concept doubles as a sci-fi smartwatch

Motorola's foldable phone concept, in the tent position.
Credit: Lenovo/Motorola

Motorola's foldable phone concept, in the tent position.
Credit: Lenovo/Motorola

Earlier this week, Motorola showed off a new foldable phone concept that can transform into a sci-fi fashion accessory: a fully functional smartwatch. In collaboration with parent company Lenovo, Motorola is seeking to revolutionise the way we interact with our smartphones.

Revealed at Lenovo Tech World 2023 on October 24, the phone was revealed to attendees by Motorola’s Innovation Research Lead, Lexi Valasek. Referred to as an "adaptive display", the concept phone was designed to highlight the future possible uses of flexible phone screens.

At the heart of Motorola's concept design is a 6.9-inch full HD+ display. This display is unique as it automatically alters to a 4.6-inch display when folded: a similar size to the current Motorola Razr foldable device.

Additionally, the concept features a unique fabric backing and a magnetised wrist strap. As a result, the device is able to be manipulated into a range of formations, such as being wrapped around a wrist as a futuristic smartwatch.

Motorola's foldable phone concept on a person's wrist
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Credit: Lenovo/Motorola

Another standout feature of Motorola's foldable phone concept is its proposed onboard generative AI. This AI would have the capacity to assess your outfit, before generating a complementary wallpaper background pattern to seamlessly blend with your attire.

Despite its innovative features, Motorola made it clear that this concept foldable phone is designed to provide hands-free convenience rather than replace more durable, fitness-focused sports watches.

Running the Android mobile OS, the foldable concept phone also demonstrated its ability to bend into a tent-like shape, possibly hinting at the device's mobile gaming potential.

The device, with its flashy design and AI-driven features, appears to be more of a vehicle for Motorola to show off its recent advancements in AI technology; mobile document scanning and privacy-enhancing display technology were also showcased as capabilities of the concept phone. Both of these technologies were built off of recent developments in machine learning AI software.

While the concept marks a significant leap from Motorola's previous foldable prototype in 2016, critics remain skeptical about the market readiness and desire for such a hyper-flexible smartphone.

Nevertheless, Motorola’s commitment to AI was made evident in a statement regarding the concept: "The modern smartphone experience is going through a transformative shift, with AI at the center. [Motorola is] showcasing innovations that redefine the possibilities of flexible hardware and also introduce exciting new AI features".

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