Oppo makes a splash with the Oppo X 2021 rollable OLED smartphone-tablet hybrid
As expected, Oppo has revealed its first rollable OLED display smartphone. Although only a concept at this stage, Oppo has detailed the complex engineering that makes its rollable display possible and has produced working prototypes to show that it is a fully realized design. The end result is truly stunning and has genuine appeal -- the only question on our minds (and Oppo's) will be whether there is sufficient interest for the company to bring it to market.
When in the regular smartphone form, the Oppo X 2021 display measures 6.7-inches. When the rollable display is extended, this takes the display to a maximum of 7.4-inches while greatly increasing the overall viewing area. It uses a proprietary Roll Motor powertrain with two motors to achieve a balanced and uniform extension to protect the display. The display has been dubbed ‘continuously variable’ by Oppo as users can extend the display as much they like, stopping it any point up to the 7.4-inch limit.
At no stage during the rolling process in either direction is there any visible folding or kinking of the panel. Oppo has achieved this by using a complex system involving a slider and bearing combination on the display side with a 6.8 mm arc coupled with a system of plates that continually support the display from behind when it is any given position. The underside of the display is also reinforced with high-strength but ultra thin steel laminate. According to Oppo, it has applied for 122 patents in the development of the device.
Other companies are also working on similar devices including Samsung and LG. It was only in the past few days that a senior Samsung exec was spotted with what appeared to be its first rollable display smartphone in the wild. LG is also said to be close to bringing a rollable display smartphone to market under its new Explorer Project branding. While these developments are undoubtedly exciting, our enthusiasm is somewhat tempered by the reality that this level of technology and engineering will not come cheap.