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Hands on: Motorola’s bendable wrist phone is way cooler than I expected

Published Feb 28th, 2024 3:03PM EST
Motorola wrist smartphone shown at MWC 2024.
Image: Chris Smith, BGR

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I didn’t have high expectations when I went to check out Motorola’s wrist-worn bendable smartphone at MWC 2024. I knew it was a concept device, a smartphone that won’t see a commercial launch for years, if ever. It didn’t help that I had visited Samsung Display’s booth earlier, where their wrist-worn smartphone concept didn’t look that great after being extensively used during the first few days of MWC.

Once I saw it though, I was pleasantly surprised by how good it looked and how well it worked during the brief live demo I watched. 

This Moto concept phone has a large 6.9-inch OLED screen that’s bright and flexible. It also happens to bend like one of those slap bracelets from when we were kids. That presents the obvious question: How durable is this thing? 

The phone that wraps around your wrist.
The phone that wraps around your wrist. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

Unlike a foldable phone with just one hinge, this one has multiple hinges for each link that makes up its body. Yet the display had no creases or signs of wear and tear despite being shown off so much during the show. 

The other question I immediately considered was battery life. Unlike a traditional phone or a foldable handset, the Motorola wrist smartwatch has to feature a battery pack that can bend or one that’s broken up into multiple pieces. Motorola didn’t have a battery life estimate for me when I asked about it. 

That’s quite a large OLED display there. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

Mototorla’s display on this cool concept phone looked crisp and vivid. During the demo I got, a small crowd formed at Lenovo’s booth, proving this unusual form factor will attract attention. 

The display, by the way, features a hole-punch design with relatively small bezels. It’s the same OLED panel used in Motorola’s foldable smartphones that are commercially available right now. It’s just slightly larger than those screens. 

Motorola's wrist smartphone features magnets on the back, but no camera.
Motorola’s wrist smartphone features magnets on the back, but no camera. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

The front-facing camera is the only camera on the handset. And that’s another immediately noticeable “issue.” Considering how large camera modules are, it’s unclear whether such a device could house a camera on the back. 

The back of the prototype is made of some kind of textile fiber that can support the folding and unfolding. Or is it bending and unbending, considering you don’t fold this one like a regular foldable?

Is it a smartwatch?
Is it a smartwatch? Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

As for using Motorola’s wrist phone, you’d have various new experiences you can’t get from regular phones. A couple of magnets on a bracelet you place on your wrist will keep the handset attached firmly. It won’t fall off easily, as I was shown during the demo. It’ll act like a smartwatch while you wear it, but it doesn’t fully wrap around the wrist like a smartwatch.

Then, the smartphone supports a tent mode for selfies and even multiplayer games. And you get a stand mode, which is good for taking pictures and videos.

It also functions like a traditional smartphone, of course. It’s just too large to be used comfortably as a phone.

Using the wrist phone in tent mode.
Using the wrist phone in tent mode. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

In addition to the camera and a game concept for dual-screen use, I also got to see the phone’s built-in generative AI wallpaper. The purple background in most of these photos is the work of AI. The Motorola rep demoing the feature took a picture of my gray sweater and the purple lanyard of the MWC badge I was wearing, producing several suggestions, including the wallpaper on the screen in these photos. 

This is all to say that the Motorola wrist phone is a fully functional Android device that offers the same functionality you’d expect from a commercial model. It’s not one that I’d buy or that we even need right now, but it’s still very cool.

Motorola's wrist smartphone taking a selfie of me taking a photo of it.
Motorola’s wrist smartphone took a selfie of me while I took a photo of the phone. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

That said, you shouldn’t expect this Moto phone to hit stores anytime soon, if ever. It’s an exciting concept device, yes. But it’s Motorola’s way of prototyping new mobile technologies that could one day make it to actual smartphones, just like Lenovo does with its wild laptop concepts. After all, Motorola is a Lenovo company, so the two must share similar R&D principles. 

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.