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Oppo’s rollable smartphone concept shows the future isn’t only foldable

Oppo has shown off a concept smartphone with a rollable screen. The device, called the Oppo X 2021, was revealed during the company’s Inno Day 2020 event held in Shenzhen, China, and goes in a different direction to phones like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, by starting small and extending out into a larger screen.

The #OPPOX2021 is the latest achievement from OPPO’s constant exploration into mobile phone form factors. It is built with a rollable OLED display measuring 6.7 inches which expands to 7.4 inches. #OPPOINNODAY20

— OPPO (@oppo) November 17, 2020

The Oppo X 2021 starts out with a 6.7-inch OLED screen and using a motorized system, the flexible display rolls out into a larger 7.4-inches, a movement initialized by a gesture on the side of the phone. Interestingly, it’s not an all-or-nothing system, and the screen can be extended out as much or as little as you like. The phone’s body hides the screen, motor, and all the usual smartphone technology.

Oppo let local press get their hands on the phone, and many demonstrated the motor and the phone’s excited extending screen. A swipe on the side of the phone sets the motor in motion, and although it takes a few moments for the screen to stretch out, it’s smooth and quite mesmerizing. From the back of the phone, the seam between the two parts of the phone is angled, which gives the X 2021 a cool modern look.

OPPO X 2021

— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) November 17, 2020

Exciting as it may be, the Oppo X 2021 is still a concept, and there’s no release schedule for the phone. It’s not the first of its kind we’ve seen either, with TCL Communications showing off a similar rollable phone concept in March. Oppo often shows off early concepts, and during its 2019 Inno Day event it revealed a prototype under-screen camera for smartphones. This has not found its way onto mainstream smartphones even a year after this, which gives you an idea of how far away the Oppo X 2021 phone may be from release.

For now, if you want a smartphone that starts out small and becomes bigger, you can choose the foldable Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, or the Huawei Mate XS. Rumors spread for years that Oppo itself would release a foldable smartphone, and although a concept was shown off in 2019, the device has never been officially announced. It’s not clear whether the Oppo X 2021 rollable phone will become something you can buy, despite the name teasing us into thinking it may arrive next year.

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Andy Boxall
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
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