Motorola’s bendable concept phone is the biggest, silliest smartwatch I’ve ever seen

Motorola Adaptive Display at MWC 2024
(Image credit: Future)

After the last couple of years, I have begun to wonder if we hit peak smartwatch. How much different can they get? Once you can record every kind of health metric under the sun, provide support for third-party apps, release new animated watch face designs featuring Snoopy, and even shove AI in there, what more can you do? 

Even the best smartwatches have started to look increasingly iterative upon release. There are usability concerns that need addressing, such as better battery life across the board and more accurate heart-rate sensors, but the basic smartwatch design has hardly changed for years. It’s why I love hybrid smartwatches so much, like the Withings Scanwatch Horizon and Garmin Instinct Crossover: without fresh new stuff that works, we’re veering dangerously close to being bored by samey wrist-mounted wearables.

Then I caught sight of Motorola’s new bendable concept phone-wearable hybrid, the Motorola Adaptive Display, at MWC 2024. Glimmering at me from a Motorola representative’s wrist was a full-sized flexible smartphone, with a camera and everything, looking for all the world like some ludicrous sci-fi communicator. 

Watch: Check out the Motorola Adaptive Display live at MWC 2024

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The rep held it near a mannequin decked out in a colorful dress, and the on-board generative AI conjured up a color scheme to match the mannequin’s outfit within about 10 seconds. Admittedly, it was pretty impressive. 

It’s a concept phone, so no specs or details about the device itself have been released by Motorola beyond the simple demonstration given at the booth. 

Although it looks crazy, it’s actually quite clever. Fully flexible phone screens have been around for a while, but a sticking point is the battery, which has to be a solid block. Motorola has gotten around this with multiple slim batteries placed horizontally across the back of the Adaptive Display, acting as anchor points for the rest of the phone to bend around. 

Motorola Adaptive Display at MWC 2024

(Image credit: Future)

As a result, you can twist the phone, standing it upright in a flexed position like a reverse Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, or a different structural position like an arch. However, if you want to wear it, a strong magnet can attach the phone to a wristband at key anchor points. This way, you can both match your outfit and take calls like Buzz Lightyear with ease. 

Would you wear it? Who knows. Would I wear it? Hell no. But despite the fact I hate the way it looks, I do enjoy Motorola’s creativity and ingenuity here. The nice thing about concepts is that they allow technology designers to get creative and test the waters. 

Would I wear a smaller, sleeker version of this ‘smart bangle’, powered by generative AI with unlimited design possibilities? Under the right circumstances, I certainly would consider it. 

Many people have defended the Apple Vision Pro and its bulky frame, high price and external battery because it’s a first-generation device. We should extend concepts like this the same courtesy: although it looks silly now, I can see the potential. It’s a creative take on smart wrist wearables, and while it looks silly now, just wait and see how cool the Motorola Adaptive Display 5 looks…

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Matt Evans
Fitness, Wellness, and Wearables Editor

Matt is TechRadar's expert on all things fitness, wellness and wearable tech. A former staffer at Men's Health, he holds a Master's Degree in journalism from Cardiff and has written for brands like Runner's World, Women's Health, Men's Fitness, LiveScience and Fit&Well on everything fitness tech, exercise, nutrition and mental wellbeing.


Matt's a keen runner, ex-kickboxer, not averse to the odd yoga flow, and insists everyone should stretch every morning. When he’s not training or writing about health and fitness, he can be found reading doorstop-thick fantasy books with lots of fictional maps in them.