Dery cautiously elaborated on that point, saying that if Motorola was working on a foldable, the company's "intention would not be to put the display outside. When you know the scratching issues you would be facing, you will have something that is very rapidly not usable." It should come as little surprise that this happens to dovetail perfectly with the images found in the company's recent patent application.
That clamshell foldable only represents one avenue of interest for Motorola though. Dery confirmed that Motorola is also exploring the possibility of a dual-hinge device with a single screen that folds twice, leaving only a third of the display exposed when in phone mode.
To be fair, Motorola isn't the only company chasing this dual-folding concept, according to Dery, which he referred to as the "holy grail" of foldable design. "A couple of Chinese vendors" are also actively exploring the concept, he claimed, including "two very famous" companies that "are not necessarily making a lot of noise at MWC." (Motorola would not confirm the identities of these companies and declined to elaborate further.) As far as Dery is concerned, though, this sort of z-shaped design just isn't practical for Motorola's first foldable phone; there are too many technical hurdles to clear right now.
"We're looking into that too," he said. "But definitely that's not going to be our first shot."
That said, Motorola seems to be considering the z-hinge approach seriously enough to have pondered the questions that would come with such a design. The whole point of a dual-hinge foldable would be to take a big screen and make it as pocketable as possible, and that would typically suggest a tablet that could be folded down into a phone. Dery mentioned twice in our conversation that Motorola is not in the business of making tablets; that falls to Moto's parent company, Lenovo. He did say, however, that if the z-hinge design problems could be solved, it would be "interesting to see a small display" that could be folded down into something tiny.
Whether or not Motorola actually delivers one of these dual-hinge phones remains to be seen. Dery conceded that the company has explored lots of potential products over the years, some of which have been discarded entirely. Still, with Motorola's interest in foldables coming into clearer view, it's easy to see how the brand might earn itself some new fans and get some old ones excited all over again.