First came the foldables, and now it looks as though rollable phones could be the future of devices that start off at one size and then transform into another – and two new hands-on videos have arrived to showcase one rollable in particular, the Oppo X 2021.
As spotted by XDA Developers, several fresh YouTube videos have been posted online – including ones by Brandon Le Proktor in France and AllroundPC in Germany – giving us a detailed look at how the rollable mechanism works to expand the size of the screen.
While we don't learn too much more about the phone than we already knew, it's fascinating to see the screen smoothly roll in and out, again and again, and the software and hardware make adjustments accordingly as the display size changes.
The videos push our limited French and German to breaking point, but it looks as though a tap on a button or a slide of a finger down the edge of the device is enough to activate the rolling mechanism, shrinking or expanding the screen as needed.
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As Oppo explained back in November, the handset uses a clever back plating that can slide in and out to accommodate the shrinking and expanding size of the screen, which can grow from 6.7 inches to 7.4 inches as required.
From these hands-on videos it looks as though the ColorOS software that Oppo puts on on top of Android has no problems keeping up, with both home screens and web browser windows adjusting to the change in dimensions without skipping a beat.
We know that other rollable phones are in the works from TCL, LG and quite probably Samsung, and the form factor might ultimately end up eclipsing foldables – rollables don't have the folding hinge that can potentially become a weak point for a device.
Unfortunately, there's still no news on whether this Oppo X 2021 will ever go on sale. In the new hands-on videos the device looks sturdy enough, but Oppo is calling it a prototype, and hasn't yet given any indication that it's something we might be able to buy one day.
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Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.