Fifty years after Motorola’s Martin Cooper made the first cellphone call, Motorola is exploring ways to evolve.
While the mobile phone has undergone numerous changes since that first call, the smartphone as we know it has largely remained the same for over a decade. However, Motorola and its rivals are seeking to change that by exploring the next major evolution of mobile devices.
Motorola’s latest efforts were on display at the Mobile World Congress in February, where it showcased a concept phone with a rollable display that can expand and contract with the press of a button. The company also announced a new version of its Razr foldable flip phone in August 2022, which is currently only available in China.
Meanwhile, Samsung flaunted its own concept devices at CES, and OnePlus and Google are expected to enter the foldable phone race this year. These developments suggest that the mobile phone is going through another transformation, similar to the years before the smartphone when phones with slide-out keyboards were popular.
Jeff Snow, General Manager of Product Innovation at Motorola, said that it’s all about finding ways to make the smartphone more useful and less obtrusive at the same time. Snow and Ruben Castano, Executive Director of Customer Experience and Design, discussed two general paths to achieving that goal.
The first approach is to change the physical design of the smartphone to become more flexible and compact, which is why Motorola pursued a clamshell, flip-phone-style foldable like the Razr. Motorola’s rollable phone is another way of making phones feel less cumbersome without taking away screen space. The prototype shown at the Mobile World Congress has a display that can extend or shrink depending on what you’re using it for.
The other approach is to create new types of mobile devices that can relieve the smartphone of some of the computing burden. Motorola’s “5G Neckband” is one example. The neckband houses certain computing components so that devices like smart glasses won’t have to be as heavy.
Castano envisions a future where screens are just “access points,” and sensors we may be wearing on our bodies take care of the computing.
The sources for this piece include an article CNET.