Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The flexible smartphone

The mobile business has been so dominated by Apple, Google and Samsung in the last couple of years that the grand old master of mobility, Nokia, has been virtually on the ropes. However, last week they bounced back with a vengeance announcing a new line of very attractive smartphones using Microsoft's new mobile operating system, but even more impressive was demonstrating their new prototype flexible mobile. Called a kinetic device, the idea is that you control functions by bending and flexing the device. Instead of the finger movements that control most touch-screen devices today, Nokia want us to bend and twist our mobiles in an intuitive way.

Mashable's Pete Cashmore, writing on CNN (Why your next phone might be bendable) claims that this bendable mobile will herald an even more important breakthrough, the foldable screen:

"You see, the biggest limitation of any device these days is screen size. There's a constant tension at play: You can have a small screen that fits in your pocket (your phone) or a big screen for home use (a tablet computer). But you can't have both. Or can you?
The ultimate dream for these flexible displays is that they could roll up: Imagine a phone-sized device that could unfurl to be the size of a tablet"

Just around the corner are wafer-thin flexible screens that can be folded away and placed on any surface. Now that has enormous implications for us all. How about digital paper? As foldable and flexible as paper but a full screen that you can take anywhere. The race is on. Here's a short video showing Nokia's prototype.

1 comment:

  1. New ideas are almost always interesting, but maybe not so good or usable. It feels like; "We have to do something new, anything..."
    I find that the most interesting here is the word "foldable". But that has been in the air since the 70s when Xerox Parc had early prototypes of foldable screens. But then it went very silent. Maybe because it is extremely difficult to make it happen?