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Motorola foldable phone: Here's how it will apparently use its second screen

It looks like an upcoming foldable phone from Motorola will offer a secondary screen with a variety of features.

Published onMarch 8, 2019

An image showing the Motorola foldable phone patent.
  • XDA-Developers has uncovered software features for a Motorola foldable phone with an external screen.
  • The screen doesn’t offer the full Android experience, and is apparently limited to select system apps.
  • It’s believed the display can be used as a trackpad, for quick-toggle shortcuts, and more.

We’ve heard about a Motorola foldable phone for a while now, reportedly offering a clamshell form factor like the RAZR phones of yore. Now, XDA-Developers has uncovered a few software features for an upcoming Motorola foldable phone.

The outlet reports that the handset has a secondary screen on the outside when folded. So what will this screen enable, then?

XDA says it doesn’t seem like the entire Android experience will be mirrored on this screen, as Motorola is apparently restricting “access display on flip” capabilities to system apps. So those hoping for a full smartphone experience on the secondary display might be disappointed.

What can you actually do?

The outside screen can reportedly be used as a trackpad when unfolded, although this is said to be limited to scrolling in Chrome and the apps drawer for now. This seems similar to devices like the HUAWEI Mate 8 and Mate 9, which allowed you to scroll through pages and your gallery with the rear fingerprint scanner.

Up to six quick setting toggles can apparently be shown on the phone’s outside screen when the device is closed — it’s not known whether Motorola will let users scroll for more toggles. This would be a pretty useful feature anyway, allowing you to turn off Bluetooth and other features in a jiffy.

Best foldable phones at MWC 2019

Basic Google Assistant integration also seems to be on the cards, as an Assistant animation can reportedly be enabled on the outside screen. But it doesn’t sound like you can view information cards on this screen, forcing you to unfold the device instead.

Motorola is also testing the Moto Display app on the outside screen, purportedly showing a clock, media controls, and “pulsing” notifications via the secondary display. And finally, the outlet reports that the outside screen might show a separate wallpaper when the phone is closed.

These features don’t sound like device-selling capabilities, but it certainly seems like a throwback to clamshell feature phones with secondary displays. The Motorola RAZR V3, for example, had a secondary outside display that delivered text notifications, and battery/signal indicators. What do you think of the supposed Motorola foldable phone? Give us your thoughts below!

NEXT: Xiaomi to hold an event March 18, might announce the Black Shark 2

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