Motorola takes on the iPhone AND Apple Watch with 2-in-1 flexible wearable smartphone

Motorola bendy phone concept
(Image credit: Motorola)

The world of the foldable phone is one that continues to grow with new models being announced all the time. The latest OnePlus Open is a prime example of something that instantly makes the iPhone seem dated in so many ways, yet it seems to be quite happy to sit this one out. But for how long?

Arguably, it's already been too long. Either way, it's been long enough for some companies to begin moving on to what comes after foldable phones. And that future is already shaping up to be way more exciting than a rigid phone sandwiched between two equally rigid slabs of glass.

Motorola is one company that is pushing the envelope further than most, and its new concept doesn't just imagine a phone that can be bent, rather than folded — it actually produced one as well. Sure, the iPhone 15 Pro Max might be the best iPhone money can buy well into 2024. But it's already lightyears behind in so many ways and this Motorola concept illustrates the fact brilliantly.

Beyond foldables

Motorola showed off its new concept as part of the Lenovo Tech World '23 event and then shared more details via a press release posted to its website. There, you'll find a video of this thing in action and while I can't embed it here, I'd heartily suggest taking a look at it. Just, maybe wait until you've read all of the words here, first.

The phone itself features an FHD+ pOLED display " that can be bent and shaped into different forms depending on users’ needs," Motorola says. That allows it to turn into multiple things, including a full Android phone with a 6.9-inch screen. Don't need all of that space? The phone transforms before your very eyes.

"When laid flat, the 6.9″ display runs a full Android experience, just like any smartphone. In the upright position, the device can be adjusted into a self-standing position, running a more compact form of full Android on a 4.6″ display," the press release notes. It goes on, highlighting what might just be the coolest thing you'll see for a good long while — the ability to wrap the phone around a wrist and wear it like an Apple Watch.

Who needs an Apple Watch?

Motorola concept on a wrist

(Image credit: Motorola)

The possibilities here are obvious. Imagine having an iPhone that you could wrap around your wrist like a slapband and then effectively have it turn into an Apple Watch Ultra 2. Sure, it'd be big, and right now the concept is certainly thicker than I'd like. But that's what's so wonderful about technology — it gets better over time.

What we see today is just the start. A thinner version will no doubt arrive in due course and that's when things will really start to get interesting. You could roll your phone up, maybe, and treat it like a newspaper for fly swatting. Or maybe not, but you get the point here — phones don't have to be big chunks of glass and metal anymore, and I can't quite believe that it's Motorola, not Apple, showing us that.

If there's one thing this concept has shown it's that Apple can't get into the foldable game soon enough. There are ongoing rumors that it'll do it with an iPad or MacBook before an iPhone, but I'll take any of those right now. The Vision Pro sounds great and all, but it's the phone that matters to most people, and the more companies like Google, Samsung, OnePlus, and Motorola show what they can do, the harder it will be not to let them turn iPhone owners' heads.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.