Manufacturers reveal concept designs and working prototypes for a variety of reasons. It could be for bragging rights, being established as a pioneer, or proof that the company can indeed make such a product. Not all of these concepts get turned into actual commercial products but some of them surprisingly do. Unfortunately for those hoping OPPO would be the first in the market with a rollable phone, the company is simply saying no, at least not for the immediate future.
OPPO isn’t the only one that has envisioned a rollable phone. TCL recently showed off one, though mostly on a pedestal and at a distance while LG has had experience with rollable screens in larger sizes. What makes OPPO’s recently revealed concept phone is that it actually works, at least in demonstrations.
While it might be more ready than its nearest competitors, OPPO is taking a more cautious approach. Speaking with Android Authority, the company explains that commercialization requires market research and business justification. In other words, it still has to wait and see whether there’s enough demand or even a need for such a device. In contrast, Samsung and Microsoft are pretty much trying to artificially create that need rather than wait.
Curiously, OPPO makes no hint that the device isn’t technically ready. It does confirm, though, that the OPPO X1 Rollable Concept does make use of a plastic substrate on top of the screen, pretty much like foldable phones but also employs a “hard cover”, perhaps something almost like UTG (Ultra-Thin Glass).
OPPO admittedly has a point in waiting it out before launching a rollable phone, which might be the exact opposite strategy LG will take. The latter’s own Project B rollable will reportedly be ready by March 2021. Then again, this is also the same company that launched the swivable LG WING that no one really envisioned much less asked for.