Lenovo shows off a bendable smartphone
Samsung, ZTE and others racing to be the first to release a handset with a flexible display
We’ve been hearing about bendable phones for years, but it appears that we’re finally close to seeing them emerge.
Lenovo shared a video on Weibo showing a narrow but long handset that can bend almost in half. The caption says: “We are just so terribly good. It’s time to show off. We’ll see you in October.”
The way the phone bends over, and the appearance of an activity widget when it’s bent, suggests that it might be a wearable.
It’s also worth noting that there appear to be a few dark spots along the edges of the screen, most prominently on the right side next to the blue Contacts icon. It’s unknown whether this is intentional or whether it’s just wear and tear on the prototype.
Lenovo will reportedly unveil new devices in October. But the company has a track record of overhyping products. It teased that its Z5 smartphone would have an edge-to-edge display -- but many were disappointed when it shipped with an iPhone X-style notch.
While plenty of smartphone makers race to build a handset with a flexible screen, on Weibo many questioned the utility of a foldable screen. In response to Lenovo’s video, a netizen wrote, “I wonder what is the practical use of this device?”
Another netizen joked that he won’t be able to stop bending it all day. ”I won’t be able to focus on work anymore!!!”
Still, whether people want it or not, flexible screens are coming.
Samsung told CNBC last month that it’d bring a flexible phone to consumers by the end of this year. Although the company didn’t give specifics on how the foldable screen will work, the CEO of its smartphone unit said “it’s time to deliver” and the development process of this device had been “nearly concluded”.
(It’s apparently been a long process: Those comments came seven years after Samsung first revealed that it’s working on a flexible phone.)
ZTE’s sub-brand Nubia also unveiled a smartwatch-looking prototype that features a flexible screen earlier this month… which was slammed by netizens for “looking like a menstrual pad”).
And Chinese company Royole, which claims to produce the world’s thinnest rollable screen, also showcased a bendable phone in Hong Kong in July.