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Motorola’s bendable smartphone could also serve as a smartwatch

After the past few years, people have started to wonder if we’ve reached the peak of smartwatches. How much more can they really change? Once they can track every health metric imaginable, support third-party apps, offer new animated watch face designs with characters like Snoopy, and even include AI, what else is there to add?

Even the top-of-the-line smartwatches seem to be getting more and more similar with each new release. There are some usability issues that need to be fixed, like improving battery life and making heart-rate sensors more accurate, but the basic design of smartwatches hasn’t really changed much in years.

Motorola unveiled its new bendable concept phone-wearable hybrid, the Motorola Adaptive Display, at MWC 2024. A Motorola representative showed off a full-sized flexible smartphone, complete with a camera, that looked like something out of a sci-fi movie. The rep held it near a mannequin wearing a colorful dress, and the on-board generative AI came up with a color scheme to match the outfit in about 10 seconds.

Since it’s just a concept phone, Motorola hasn’t released any specs or details about the device itself beyond the basic demonstration they showed at the booth.

Despite its wild appearance, it’s actually pretty smart. Flexible phone screens have been around for a bit, but the battery has always been a challenge since it needs to be a solid block. Motorola has solved this by using multiple slim batteries placed horizontally across the back of the Adaptive Display, which act as anchor points for the rest of the phone to bend around.

This means you can twist the phone, standing it upright in a flexed position like a reverse Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, or in a different structural position like an arch. But if you want to wear it, a strong magnet can attach the phone to a wristband at key anchor points. This way, you can match your outfit and take calls like Buzz Lightyear with ease.

The great thing about concepts is that they let tech designers be creative and try new things. Many folks have defended the Apple Vision Pro, despite its bulky frame, high price, and external battery, because it’s a first-gen device. We should give concepts like this the same benefit of the doubt: even if it looks goofy now, we can see the potential.