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Motorola brings its bendable, wearable concept phone to MWC 2024

Motorola Adaptive Display Concept bendable phone wrapped around a woman's wrist

Chunky, ridiculous and highly impractical, the Motorola Adaptive Display Concept is exactly the kind of thing I want from MWC

With folding phones relatively in hand, thanks to the Razr 40 and Razr 40 Ultra, Motorola has turned its eye to weirder, even less practical form factors, bringing the bendable Motorola Adaptive Display Concept phone to MWC 2024.

This slithering snake of a smartphone looks like any other handset at first – from the front, at least. There’s a tall, thin display with a regular-looking screen and a selfie camera tucked away up top. The difference between this and the rest of the Motorola phones out on the show floor is that this one can be worn on your wrist.

Motorola Adaptive Display Concept bendable phone wrapped around a display stand

Would you ever want to? In this form, probably not. It’s a full-size smartphone, after all, so it makes for a particularly bulky wearable, and putting it on isn’t as simple as just wrapping the thing around your wrist. There’s a secondary bracelet that you need to put on first, which the Motorola Adaptive Display Concept then latches onto via a magnetic strip at either end of the rear.

Once attached, it certainly seems to be a stable fit: I wasn’t able to get hands-on with the device, but the representative doing the demonstration mimed jogging and doing the Macarena – normal daily life tasks – and the phone/bracelet hybrid held fast.

For those times when you aren’t out running or doing dances from the 90s, the bendable phone has a couple of other form factors that I personally find to be much more useful. The first sees the lower quarter of the display bent backwards, creating a kickstand that supports the rest of the device, allowing you to take video calls or read emails without holding the phone.

Motorola Adaptive Display Concept bendable phone bent into a stand form, displaying a video call on the screen

There’s also a tent mode, similar to clamshell folding phones, and the demonstration of uses for this was so much more niche, but it was easily my favourite part: Connect Four. With one board on either side of the device, you can set the phone down on a table and play with a friend. Motorola was tight-lipped on the prospect of Battleship support, but that feels like the natural next step for this thing to really take off.

The brand also kept schtum about specifications, which again is perfectly reasonable for a concept. The focus is very much on the what, rather than the how.

We did get a couple of interesting tidbits, however; the display is a 6.9in pOLED panel, and the battery, rather than being one solid unit, comprises multiple segments, to better allow for the bending.

Motorola Adaptive Display Concept bendable phone bent into a tent form, display the homescreem

I wasn’t told exactly what material is on the back, but it looked halfway between a sweatband and mattress, which sounds like it would be comfortable, at least. The only other notable thing on the back is the lack of any kind of rear camera. If Motorola did move forward with this design, it would be interesting to see how it managed to incorporate extra cameras with the flexible rear.

As with most of the out-there concepts that turn up at these tech shows, however, we’ll probably never see the Motorola Adaptive Display Concept hitting shelves. Not in this form at least. But what could happen, and what I find much more interesting, is that Motorola could bring some of this technology to its next generation (or perhaps the one after that) of folding phones. With this kind of flexibility, it’s not inconceivable that we could see a 360-degree hinge on a flip phone sooner rather than later.

If you want to check out even more crazy futuristic technology from MWC 2024, Motorola’s parent company Lenovo also brought a wild card to the show in the form of the ThinkBook Transparent Display Laptop concept.

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