3 reasons I like Motorola's rollable phone – and 1 why I don't

Forget folding phones: Motorola wants your phone to rock and roll

Motorola rollable phone concept
(Image credit: Motorola)

Motorola's parent company Lenovo is having a bit of a party today: its Tech World 2022 event is showing off its forthcoming products and vision for the future. And part of that vision is a phone that doesn't fold, but rolls. Simply press a button and the screen unrolls to become bigger; do it again and it rolls back down again.

What's interesting about this concept is that it seems more realistic than some of the more pie-in-the-sky phone concepts we've seen in recent years. Motorola isn't doing really wild stuff here: the screen unrolls from 5 inches to 6.5 inches and back again, effectively taking it from the size of an iPhone 13 mini to an iPhone 14 Pro Max and back again.

Motorola rollable phone

(Image credit: Motorola)

Motorola's rolling phone won't be rolling out any time soon

Unfortunately Moto has no plans to roll out the rollyphone, a name I've just made up, any time soon. And that's frustrating for sure. The tech just isn't ready for mass production yet, although when it is it could be a really big deal. That's because rollable displays don't have to deal with the same issue that affects every folding display in even the best folding phones: the fold. That's proved to be an engineering challenge for the likes of Samsung, because you don't want a great big crease down the middle of your screen. With an unrolling display, there isn't one.

What Motorola's shown here is very different from the folding phones we've seen so far. They are effectively phones that unfold into tablets, and that means they're fairly thick devices when they're folded over: the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is a good example of that chunkiness. Motorola's rolling phone looks much slimmer because there's less phone to cram into the case, and that to my eyes makes it a much more attractive option.

I know rollable displays sometimes feel like the jetpacks and flying cars of the phone world, always just one promised step away from becoming real, but I do think we'll see this tech make its way into mainstream devices relatively soon.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).