While the fate of the LG Rollable is still undecided, OPPO’s own take on the rather exotic phone form factor is, at least officially, not headed to the market. Ironically, it is also the one that seems to actually be ready for production. At MWC Shanghai, OPPO naturally didn’t miss the opportunity to boast about its rollable OPPO X1 2021 concept phone, both for its hardware innovations and the experiences its extendable screen enables.
OPPO itself admits that an “extendable” screen like on a rollable phone is more difficult to make than a foldable phone. There are more things to consider in its design, like the ideal and safe curvature for the screen, the motors to extend and retract it, as well as the support structure for the non-rigid flexible display. Not by coincidence, those are precisely the three hardware innovations that OPPO made for the X1 2021 rollable concept phone.
The “Roll Motor” powertrain, for example, is what makes the smooth movement of the screen possible while the 6.8mm diameter of the central axis is promised to leave no creases. There’s also a structure of alternating metal strips that provide structural support so that the flexible screen doesn’t fall in whether it’s rolled in or out.
Despite the difficulties, OPPO does also believe that the rollable design opens up more possibilities for user experiences. Those are more on the software side, like being able to have more than one app visible on the screen or using the expanded portion of the screen for messages while the main screen runs a game.
While the OPPO X 2021 rollable phone concept definitely seems ready for use, the company may still be holding off because of one important factor. Interest in rollable phones doesn’t immediately equate to successful sales and, despite belief in its technology and design, OPPO might not yet see a profitable market for it.