In recent years we have seen a rapid evolution of smartphone displays, from curved to foldable, to dual "clamshell" screens, but Oppo has just unveiled something extraordinary: a concept smartphone with a rollable display that can it widens and shrinks in a very natural way.
The demo, presented for the Inno Day 2020 organized by the Chinese company, shows the prototype of the Oppo X 2021: a smartphone equipped with a cursor on the edge that allows the user to control the rotation of the OLED screen (the screen that behaves as if it were a roller shutter or a roll of paper). The display, following a guide rail, is made to slide by an electric motor inside the phone around 6,8mm diameter rollers.
The characteristics according to Oppo
“It is very difficult for us to define the precise screen size of this concept. In theory it is variable, ”says Oppo. The company defines it as a “continuously variable” OLED display because from the 6.7 inches of minimum diagonal extension it can be progressively adjusted up to 7.4 inches , thus making the phone more like a small tablet. The screen width varies between 2.8 inches and 4.2 inches (70mm and 107mm).
The display, in the words of Oppo, when it is expanded it obtains a “seamless effect”. From what emerges, in fact, from some videos, the viewable image scales progressively with the widening or shrinking of the screen. Oppo has applied for 122 patents for this project, 12 of which only concern the sliding mechanism.
There are still no details on the specs, release date or how much the price of this rollable OLED device might be. But given the average prices of other smartphones with OLED screens, it probably won't be cheap.
Levin Liu, vice president of OPPO and head of the OPPO Research Institute, stressed that the Oppo X 2021 is still in the planning stage, but hopes to bring this technology to market "at the right time".
The idea of a rollable display is nothing new. A 65 '' OLED TV of this kind (of which we show you a video below), produced by LG, entered the consumer market (only in the Korean one) about a month ago, but has a prohibitive cost: at the current exchange rate they need about 87,000 US dollars to take it home. Potential cost issues aside, using this technology inside a smartphone is much more complicated than it looks, especially when it comes to structural strength and durability.
The other announcements of the event
During the same event, the company also announced the Oppo AR Glass 2021, a new model of AR glasses. Thanks to their "split design" (which is based on a connection to a Snapdragon 865-based smartphone, such as the Oppo Find X2 Pro), these glasses are 75% lighter than the previous model presented last December, but they are however, equipped with a series of sensors both for local SLAM mapping in real time and for tracking gestures (up to 21 markers per hand). The “Birdbath” solution (a common and inexpensive implementation on AR glasses) is said to mimic the experience of a 90-inch television screen. The glasses will also support voice commands via Oppo's Breeno voice assistant. For now, the company is already working with programmers to deliver compelling AR applications.