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Up close with Lenovo’s weird, flexible mobile concepts

by Brandon Russell | June 9, 2016June 9, 2016 3:18 pm PDT

We are truly excited for the Moto Z and Moto Z Force, both of which combine great technology with cutting-edge design. But one thing during Lenovo’s keynote on Thursday left us wanting more were the flexible concepts CEO Yuanquing Yang showed off, teasing audience members with the kind of devices we can expect in the future.

Now, the devices Lenovo teased are in the prototype phase, so the pictures you see above are simply devices that the company works with in its labs. As you can see with the phone/watch concept, the screen isn’t in the greatest shape, so it’s not something you’d expect to use on a daily basis. That’s actually something Lenovo said it’s testing thoroughly before bringing these ideas to market.

The technology isn’t completely there, either. Lenovo said its concept is a little different from the competition’s because its devices bend out, not in, which means the screen needs to stretch. That’s become a pretty big obstacle in the device’s development, according to Lenovo, but it’s apparently working closely with a big company (Lenovo wouldn’t say who) to get the screens right.

You also have to ensure the components can withstand repeated use over an extended period of time. When you take your phone out of your pocket dozens of times a day over a few years, it all adds up, so Lenovo wants to make sure these devices are durable enough to survive long term.

Beyond the hurdles of making sure these devices actually work, one thing that was apparent with these concepts is that they aren’t the most beautiful designs around. They’re mostly made up of plastic and rubber right now, so a lot of work needs to be done before they can start rubbing shoulders with the likes of the HTC 10 and Galaxy S7, or even its own Moto Z devices.

Aesthetics aren’t really the goal right now anyway. Lenovo’s goal is to explore how these devices can serve dual purposes. I don’t know how eager people are to slap a phone on their wrist like a modern day slap bracelet, but the possibility is right around the corner.

You can check out pictures of these devices in the gallery above.

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Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...