Smartphones have had the same glass slab form factor since years now, which is why some manufacturers like Samsung, LG, TCL, Huawei, Motorola and the likes are experimenting with new and unusual form factors like folding phones, flip phones, expandable smartphones, and what not. The latest one to join the queue is Chinese manufacturer Oppo. At its Inno Day 2020 keynote conference today, Oppo unveiled the Oppo X 2021 smartphone that has a rollable display which extends from one side. Oppo is calling the display on the Oppo X 2021 a ‘continosly variable OLED display,’ which extends with a simple swipe on the side of the smartphone, possible on the power button, as seen in promotional videos.
In its compact form, the Oppo X 2021 is a regular 6.7-inch smartphone. However, with just a simple swipe on the side button, the smartphone extends itself, along with the screen, revealing the full tablet-like 7.4-inch display. As seen from the promotional videos shared by Oppo, the Oppo X 2021 extends only from one side (right), and goes back to its 6.7-inch slab form on a swipe in the opposite direction. According to Engadget, who were given a live demo of the Oppo X 2021, the system menus and Twitter were able to switch between their phone interface and tablet interface to fill the screen.
Oppo says that the Oppo X 2021 is essentially a motorised scroll, with a large part of the OLED panel laminated onto a ‘Warp Track’ for improved strength, as it goes around a ‘Roll Motor’ in order to tuck itself into a hidden compartment. The phone consists of a 2-in-1 Plater body construction – two parts roll out simultaneously and evenly for better structural support. The company had filed 122 patents for this concept, 12 of which related to the scroll mechanism itself. The company, however, did not reveal anything in terms of the screen or the smartphone specifications. Oppo Vice President Levin Liu, during the Inno Day 2020 event, said that the Oppo X 2021 is still a concept, but the company hopes to bring this technology to consumers at the right time.
Now, while this seems like something that can very well be the next standard smartphone form factor, Oppo is not the first company to come up with such an idea. LG, which also has a rollable OLED TV in the market, is reported to be working on its Project B smartphone – the second smartphone in the company’s Explorer Project, which is also expected to introduce an extending screen technology. LG’s Project B, however, is reported to be expandable from both sides. Recently, Samsung’s Vice Chairman, in a strategy meet was also seen carrying an unusual smartphone, again expected to be Samsung’s attempt at an extending or rollable smartphone display. The Samsung rollable phone will reportedly be called the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold S.
At its Inno Day 2020 keynote event, Oppo also announced its Oppo AR Glass 2021, the company’s second attempt at creating an AR glass after its original model from December last year. The concept glasses unveiled by Oppo at the Inno Day event today are said to be 75 percent lighter than the previous ones and use a ‘split design’ that relies on a connection to a Snapdragon 865-powered smartphone (namely Oppo Find X2 Pro). The neew AR glasses house several sensors for both real-time SLAM local mapping and gesture tracking. The sensors include a stereo fisheye camera, a Time-of-Flight sensor, and an RGB camera.