Smartphone makers have been pursuing the elusive bendable display for a few years now, and while the likes of Lenovo, LG and Samsung have all shown off their prototypes and concepts for a few years now, commercially available products have not really been a thing. Until now, that is.
ZTE's sub-brand Nubia just unveiled what may be one of IFA 2018's most wacky products, featuring an oblong, flexible display that it's used to create a hybrid between a smartphone and a wristwatch. Dubbed the Nubia-α, the newfangled gadget features the proper wireless connectivity needed to be considered a smartphone via a 4G LTE modem. It even has a camera on the top of the wristband, which will presumably function like a front-facing camera on smartphones and thus may not have the same performance as the rear shooters on the likes of the iPhone X or Huawei P20 Pro.
Nubia (ZTE) just threw a #wearables curve ball at #IFA2018. The nubia-α is a "wearable smartphone" with a curved full colour display, eSIM (4G) and a camera for selfies/video calling. Available in 4Q18. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/qS1UZtKGu8— George Jijiashvili (@George_CCS) August 31, 2018
While an interesting first-attempt, the Nubia-α will likely not satisfy all but the most enthusiastic of early adopters. For one, while the company hasn't revealed the phone's specs, it's unlikely to be as powerful as flagship devices today.
Moreover, that insanely long and relatively thin display will likely be a little tough to navigate or multitask with, and while Nubia hasn't indicated what OS is powering the device, it's likely to be a fork of Android closer to Wear OS than full-blown Android, something power users may not appreciate. Pictures of the device from IFA also reveal the bumps on the side of the display housing the camera and other components will be quite substantial in size and heft, making the device look less appealing and heavier than the promotional video above might suggest.