Just a day before the big Inno Day 2020 conference, Oppo, dropping a bombshell, teased a new concept smartphone that will be shown off at the event. As per the company’s very conservative and new poster, it will be a stretchable display phone, which Oppo has been working on for a while behind the scenes. Oppo’s poster says, “USHER IN A NEW ERA OF SCREEN” . This along with a slight peak at a part of the display, leaves no doubt in the mind that the “CONCEPT PHONE” is indeed a stretchable or extendable display phone.
What is a stretchable display? How it works?
A stretchable display is just basically another word for a bendable display.
In essence, any such extendable/rollable form factor is possible mainly because of the bending display which is also present in foldables. The creative part is to make use of that bending characteristic to its full potential. And an effective rollable/stretchable mechanism does that. In some cases, it is made possible by a roller that wraps/unwraps the display to a position where it is hidden/visible to the user. In this process, the phone can be morphed into a tablet and vice versa without any unsightly crease, unlike foldables.
Here’s there TCL concept I’m actually most fascinated by: The rollable display 👀 pic.twitter.com/DTtiCVANpE
— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) March 5, 2020
The very first mock-ups of this entirely new morphing design came to limelight when TCL, another Chinese company, showed off its slide-out screen concept in March this year. And that very first appearance of the design was enough to convince many of its superiority as compared to a foldable. Because, let’s face it, despite its new hip design, foldable phones are bulky, hard and costly to produce, and still don’t offer a crease-free viewing experience. The extendable display? It has none of these cons, and yet, all of the pros of a foldable, if done right.
Once smartphone OEMs gain the technical knowhow to manufacture this product at scale, we can envision a not-very-distant future where everyone carries a 5-inch powerful pocketable computer that can morph into a big 10-inch tablet at the flick of a button.
Oppo’s Extendable Display Smartphone
No smartphone maker has yet demoed even a working prototype of such a form factor and that is what makes Oppo’s concept phone so very interesting. It’s not really been a secret that Oppo jas had its eyes on this prize. We’ve seen patent proofs of this design being reported not very far back. However, the design teased here might be of a tablet form factor instead of the traditional candy bar smartphone design, or perhaps both. That would also make sense as it would relatively add to the utility of the phone as opposed to the candy bar design. But if Oppo has been working on this design, we can rest assured other big Chinese majors won’t be too far behind on its trail. Another smartphone maker that has shown promised in the same area is LG. The company’s reported B Project is a work in the same direction and the company wants to show off its progress early next year.
Also, being just a concept phone, it could take time before this hits the market. But when it does, it could pose problems for Samsung’s expensive foldable Galaxy Z Fold series that is currently the novel product.
Oppo has a lot of other cool stuff including AR Glasses and possibly even a foldable to be shown off at the Inno Day 2020 that will kick off tomorrow in China.