Just imagine if we could get away with treating our cell phones the same way as we invariably do with notes scribbled onto scraps of paper. Scrunch it up in your pocket, drop it on the floor, step on it, squish it inside your wallet even – all without doing any substantial damage.
Well, within just six months you might well be able to do just that with your latest hi-tech gizmo. According to various reports, researchers from several cell phone manufacturers are busying themselves with prototype designs for paper-thin, flexible phones that they hope will be virtually unbreakable.
We’ve seen a few early prototypes already, for example Nokia’s Kinetic Device, whilst the likes of LG, Sharp and Sony are also reportedly working on floppy-phone technology behind the scenes.
But it looks as if these brands are set to be beaten to the finishing post by Samsung, whom the Wall Street Journal reports is readying its first generation of bendable mobile phones with a tentative release date penciled in for the first half of next year.
This isn’t the first time that Samsung has been mentioned in the same sentence as flexible phones, but according to the WSJ the Korean firm is stepping up its efforts to ensure that it beats its rivals to get its new devices into the shops first.
You’re probably wondering just how such a thing would be possible, but the concept behind floppy cell phones is surprisingly simple. All Samsung plans to do is swap the glass used in its screens for a thin sheet of plastic. What gives Samsung the advantage is the OLED display technology it uses in all of its phones. OLEDs don’t have to be rigid – they can be laid on extremely thin and flexible materials, such as tin foil, an ability that the company hopes will make it possible to create devices that are not just flexible, but almost unbreakable too.
Samsung wouldn’t reveal how much it’s spent on designing its bendy new mobiles, but the company did admit that recent innovations in the display market from the likes of Sharp and LG had spurred it along.
One big question remains to be answered though – does anyone really want a bendy phone in the first place? Aside from the novelty value, the increased durability, and perhaps, the ability to roll it up and shove it in your back pocket, flexible phones don’t seem to add anything more to the overall user experience.
So what about you? Will you be rushing out to snap up a flexi-phone the moment it hits the shops?