We've seen rollable device concepts from companies like Oppo and TCL, and LG was even working on a commercial rollable smartphone until it quit making mobile devices last year. Now, Lenovo is showing off a laptop with a rollout display, while its mobile division Motorola has a roll-out smartphone — and they look like some of the more practical efforts yet.
The phone starts out at a very pocketable 4 inches high, but with the click of a button, the OLED panel extends to a normal-sized 6.5 inches. Another click retracts the phone back to its original form. It's usable at both sizes, and the content on the screen adapts to the size, including the home screen, videos and more, as shown below.
Lenovo also showed off a rollable laptop that starts with a typical landscape display and then rolls up to a square shape, making it better for documents or vertical TikTok style videos. Lenovo VP of design Brian Leonard explained in the video that it's part of Lenovo's research into novel form factors that started with the ThinkPad 360P laptop/tablet. "It can expand into a much larger screen real estate as the content dynamically adjusts to the screen, offering people an unprecedented way of hyper-tasking for productivity, browsing, and more," he explained.
Motorola already makes a folding device, the Razr, that's unfortunately only available in China, but rollable devices are even more complex. People seem to love them, though — for instance, LG's rollable OLED TV was a popular item at CES 2019. And in some ways, a rolling screen is more elegant than a folding one, as there's no hinge or crease to worry about. While it remains squarely in the concept realm for now, we'd love to see Lenovo take a shot at commercializing it.