While foldable screens are slowly becoming mainstream, scrolling phones are still in the nascent stage. AndroidAuthority has picked up MOTOROLA’s concept phone, the MOTOROLA rizr, which will debut at MWC 2023. It was shown off at Lenovo Tech World 22 back in October.
At MWC2023, AndroidAuthority got its hands on a prototype of the MOTOROLA rizr scroll screen phone, which the outlet claims is more practical than a foldable phone in most cases, allowing you to instantly roll out and get a bigger display when you need more screen real estate, You can put it away neatly when you’re done.
MOTOROLA chose a smaller profile size for its rizr scrollable phone. Undeployed, the phone features a 5-inch 15:9 POLED display from BOE Display.
The display goes all the way around the bottom of the rizr, covering about a third of the back, and simply double tap the power button on the side and the electric system kicks in, scrolling the display up until most of the back panel reaches the front of the phone. This takes about three seconds and expands the display to a size of 6.5 inches at 22:9. The interface has also been tweaked, with apps stretching vertically and ICONS rearranged on the home screen, and MOTOROLA is making special wallpapers to automatically adapt to the distortion.
The main disadvantages of rizr are its thickness and weight. Despite its smaller height and width, it’s still fairly thick and weighs in at 210g, heavier than many flagships such as the Pixel 7 Pro and Galaxy S23 Ultra.
The MOTOROLA rizr has some interesting uses. First, in some cases, the display can be set to automatically expand (without double-clicking). When you switch the phone to landscape mode while watching a video, for example, the display automatically starts scrolling, giving you more screen real estate. Or, if you’re typing an email, it scrolls automatically, giving you more room to type.
When the phone is facing down and the display isn’t expanded, the portion of the screen that wraps around the back can act as a backside display that can display notifications, or it can be set to normal mode to show the date, time and weather.
The coolest use case is the camera application. When taking a photo, the back display can be activated by clicking a button, which then shows your subject a preview of their photo or an animated cute smiley face.
In addition to having all the complexities of a folding machine, the MOTOROLA rizr had to have a tiny, power-saving, reliable electric system built in to keep the screen rolling. For now, the MOTOROLA rizr concept phone has a 3000mAh battery inside, which might be enough for a smaller 5-inch display, but not quite enough for the extended 6.5-inch mode, not to mention the fact that you’ll use up more power if you scroll the display multiple times a day.
Ruggedness and durability are also a big concern. The MOTOROLA rizr prototype has always been encased in a clear plastic case, which is probably necessary because without the plastic case, the bottom of the display will be completely bare, meaning that if accidentally dropped to the ground, the bottom screen will likely crack if it hits the ground.
MOTOROLA says the scroll screen concept phone is a project of its 312 lab division. It’s not clear whether the phone will go into mass production, but IT House will be watching.