Motorola has a foldable phone in the pipeline, a senior manager recently confirmed. The device (with the internal codename ‘Voyager’) has a flexible display with a horizontal hinge, much like the old Razr model of the nineties. It will run Android 9 Pie on the large, unfolded display. A second display on the outside will show basic information and XDA Developers have now uncovered what it will be used for.
The small, static display on the front side of the phone will do a number of things. First it will show a clock when closed, display pulsing notifications. The user may set a wallpaper on the outside display and control audio playback. Second it can act as a trackpad, allowing someone to control actions on the large display when unfolded. In the current software version, a user can scroll through webpages using the trackpad, or browse and open apps with it. Next up are camera and picture functions. The secondary display can be used as a shutter button in camera mode, allowing someone to take a picture when the display is tapped. A swipe will cause the camera to zoom in or out. A feature that can be useful for taking selfies.
System apps only
Finally the secondary display will function as a Google Assistant notification, showing the animation when triggered. It’s not clear (but seems obvious) that the display will also show the ID of incoming callers and the content of text messages. It remains to be seen to what extent external developers will have access to the secondary display. XDA Developers writes that the functionality seems to be limited to system apps, provided by Motorola. A software development kit for outside companies has not been released. In contrast to Samsung, who are encouraging developers from outside the company to write apps that use the secondary, outside screen.
The Motorola foldable is rumoured to be released in July 2019 at a retail price of around $1500.