LAS VEGAS — Flexible displays are a hot topic in the tech industry right now, highlighted by the emergence of foldable phones. But phones aren't the only devices that can sport screens that can bend, and at CES 2019, we got a taste of what's to come from an unlikely source.
The Cleer Mirage is a cylindrical speaker with a 7.8-inch AMOLED screen wrapped around it. With the bendable display, you can watch videos, open your calendar or pull up lyrics to the song you're listening to, all straight from the speaker itself.
The flexible panel worked surprisingly well when I watched the music video for The Black Eyed Peas' "BACK 2 HIPHOP." The crisp image didn't look distorted, nor were there any issues with motion blur. However, the panel wasn't as bright as I would have liked.
My eyes were drawn to the Mirage even before I noticed its display. The speaker's design is striking. From a distance, the pill-shaped speaker looks like it's floating a few inches above the ground. A closer look reveals a slim stand below and above the device, where you'll find physical volume and playback controls. There is also an LED on the bottom of the speaker that changes color depending on what you're listening to.
The speaker's cylindrical design allows for 360-degree sound output, so you can place the Mirage in the center of your room and get consistent audio no matter where you stand. I only listened to the Mirage for a brief period in a deafening convention center, so I can't comment on the sound quality.
The Mirage supports Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi connectivity, which means you can connect it to just about any device, including your smartphone and laptop.
If those weren't enough smart features, the Mirage has Amazon Alexa integration, allowing you to use your voice to access playlists, adjust volume or find out what the weather is going to be like next week. I wasn't able to test the speaker's far-field microphones or noise-rejection, but Cleer claims you won't have problems using voice controls in any environment.
The Mirage isn't just a concept; Cleer plans on releasing the speaker in the third quarter of this year for $499.