A wearable smartphone with a flexible display that wraps around the wearer’s wrist has become the latest flexible device to appear at the Mobile World Congress technology show in Barcelona.
The Nubia Alpha has a 4-inch flexible OLED display built into a watch strap as well as a 5-megapixel camera and can be used to make calls and send messages.
The device comes as the technology industry has welcomed its first folding smartphones — both Huawei and Samsung have revealed flexible screen devices in the last week that will go on sale this year, while Chinese firm TCL has also announced a concept for foldable screens on mobile devices.
Chinese firm Nubia — part of telecoms firm ZTE — says that while its device is naturally considered a wearable, the big screen akin to a smartphone that it houses puts it in a new category, one which combines aspects of a smartwatch with those of a phone.
The company says the device can also be used as a health and fitness tracker, like many other wearables, and contains a battery that can last up to two days.
It runs a custom version of Google’s Android operating system, and also includes mobile payment capabilities, with the first version of the Alpha due to go on sale in Europe and North America in April.
The Nubia will also support hands-free gesture control, Nubia said, meaning users will be able to navigate between different menu screens of the device.
Flexible screens of all sizes are expected to become increasingly popular in the coming years — LG announced its first rollable television at the beginning of 2019, and in the wake of Huawei and Samsung’s foldable phone announcements, reports have already surfaced claiming Apple is developing its own version of such a device.