Motorola shows off a rollable smartphone with a screen that can extend vertically

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Motorola has unveiled a “rollable” smartphone at Mobile World Congress.
Ryan Browne | CNBC

BARCELONA — Motorola is showing off a concept smartphone that rolls out as a user slides it up.

The phone, which is being featured at the Mobile World Congress tech conference in Barcelona, has a flexible five-inch display that extends to 6.5 inches when pushed upward.

The idea is to allow for better productivity and multitasking, while also easily fitting inside your pocket.

To be sure, the phone isn’t something you’ll be able to buy any time soon. The phone is at an early concept stage, and there’s no telling how much it will cost.

Motorola is no longer the major mobile industry player it once was — the company shipped 51 million units in 2021, according to Statista data.

The design at least shows innovation in a market that has struggled to come up with new features to get consumers excited.

Companies are hoping to change that with new form factors, such as folding displays.

“It underlines the explosion of innovation underway using flexible display technology with a slew of concept products experimenting with a huge variety of form factors,” Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight, told CNBC.

The device is coming at a time of pain for smartphone makers.

Last year, the industry saw sales decline 11.3% as consumers tightened their belts, exacerbating an ongoing trend of people holding onto their phones for longer as upgrades from major players become incremental.

Lenovo, which owns Motorola, also unveiled a rollable laptop at the conference this week. Like the phone, the laptop slowly rises vertically so that you can see more of a web page or have multiple apps open on one screen.

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