How a rollable phone could change the mobile device game in the Philippines
Written By: Kenneth M. del Rosario
Standing out from the crowded roster of mobile devices that are released practically every week is no easy task. Some opt for the highest specs imaginable, while others experiment with new colors. Others still rely on brand ambassadors to catch the attention of the market.
While those measures work to some degree most of the time, it could only take a gadget so far.
But one surefire way to grab hold of the attention and excite the market is a mobile device that deviates from the norm, specifically, one that plays with the hardware’s usual form factor.
To this end, the OPPO X 2021 is a cut above the rest. It’s a handheld unit that is both a smartphone and a tablet. It achieves this feat by having a “rollable” screen, one that makes use of OPPO’s proprietary scroll-like screen.
It’s not your typical flip phone or phablet either. Instead, its infinite-swimming-pool smartphone display expands when you need it to (thus removing any “hard folding” typically associated with foldable phones) and rolls back in when it’s time to put the phone back in your pocket.
“The rollable display is an innovation in mobile phone form factor from OPPO and represents our vision of how cutting-edge technology will evolve in the future. The OPPO X 2021 is a testament to OPPO’s technical expertise and research built up over years, as well as the company’s vision and exploration of experimental form factors,” said Jeffery Jin, OPPO Hardware Structure Engineer.
What’s cool about the OPPO x 2021 is that it’s basically an ordinary phone when its screen is retracted. But once the screen is expanded, it becomes a fully-functioning tablet. The ColorOS interface has been customized for the unit so that users can get the most out of all possible screen sizes.
While OPPO X 2021 is a concept product at this stage, the device represents OPPO’s exploration of potential interactions between people and their phones, as well as shaped-screen devices. It’s a compass that can help guide the forward development of the industry, creating a focal point for everyone to strive towards.
As a concept product, it’s a way for OPPO to truly go all in, without being burdened by what a handheld unit should be. Instead, the focus is on what else they could do with it. The OPPO X 2021 is also a way to gauge how ready the market is to adopt to a rather unconventional form factor for a phone.
“Research and Development, along with innovation, helps us understand the consumers better, anticipating how technology may support them as well as their evolving needs and demands in the future. The OPPO X 2021 also represents a milestone in the company’s exploration of new devices and is an indicator of where we see the industry moving in the future,” Jin said.
For OPPO, it’s not just about experimenting on something different, but rather to pursue innovation that is anchored on humanistic technology—developing products and solutions that put human need at the forefront of design.
Nowadays, smartphones are no longer merely just devices for basic communication. For several years now, smartphones have been heavily used for work and for leisure. Because of this, small screens may eventually no longer be enough for many users.
Jin said there are three main reasons behind the decision to work on this type of rollable device.
Firstly, the rollable screen gives users a continuously variable screen size from 6.7 inches to 7.4 inches. This ensures the phone is adaptable to better meet whatever requirements they have from their phone in any given situation.
Secondly, the electric scrolling screen gives users more ways to interact and customize their device. By adding applications and accessories into the mix, they can have a device that is capable of opening up a whole new world of possibilities.
Lastly, a phone with this form factor also translates to a more flexible and proactive user experience. Compared with the fixed screen size of a folding screen, the on-the-go adjustment of the rollable screen promises endless possibilities and can even enhance office productivity, entertainment experiences, and the daily user experience.
On the leisure side, the expandable display delivers a more immersive video, reading, and gaming experience. On productivity department, the wider space allows for Parallel Spaces Mode for Dual-Display Experience similar to tablet or PC, where users can run two programs simultaneously on the same screen. This also comes with an improved experience utilizing productivity tools (such as Microsoft Word or Excel) that an ordinary handset cannot deliver.
“The rollable is just one possible future. The technology we accumulated from developing this prototype will help us explore even more possibilities in the future,” he said.
The rollable screen is protected by an existing hard layer on the top, while OPPO’s own innovative technology ensures the screen is adequately supported at all times. These innovations include the self-developed “Roll Motor” powertrain, which ensures uniform force and reduces screen damage during movement. The 2-in-1 Plate effectively supports the screen using two comb-like structures on the other side, while the “Warp Track” provides sufficient support to keep the screen sturdy.
While there are no plans yet to release OPPO X 2021 to the market, OPPO has already accumulated a lot of proprietary technology, patents, talent and knowledge, which they can use to drive the success of the business and provide consumers with more superior offerings.
Jin said: “We believe that the Filipino consumers nowadays are ready for this type of mobile device as they are very tech driven and are always on the lookout for new gadgets that can enhance their lifestyle. There is definitely a market for highly sophisticated smartphone designs such as OPPO X 2021. It’s just a matter of making sure that the design and features fit perfectly into what the Filipino consumers need and want.”
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