Imagine pushing down hard on the rectangular phone and, like a slap bracelet, cinching it around your wrist. What do you think? Bendable phones are no longer a concept on the drawing boards.
They. Are. Here.
This wraparound phone, dubbed the CPlus, was a concept device Lenovo used to impress the crowd as part of a launch last year. The CPlus may have only been a prototype at that time, but they might as well have been a preview of the future where truly flexible phones is the rage.
As smart as today’s phones are, their shape has become a dull necessity that we hardly see at all. And that’s why handsets that bend, twist, snap and fold might excite the smartphone scene, even if these weird futuristic devices limp and lag at first.
Okay, give us a reason why we might want a bending phone
Folding handsets are cool because the rigid electronic pieces we have today don’t bend, at least not without a hinge. But is there a practical use for them beyond pushing the boundaries of what designers and scientists can do?
Hmmm. Maybe there are a few. Folding a device gives you a smaller, more portable package to carry around – it can essentially double the size of your screen. Producing some phone parts this way could eventually make the phones cheaper to build, Lenovo’s reps said.
Shapely devices that give you more of a shifting 3D work surface instead of a flat screen have the power to change how you carry and even use them. For instance, navigating in new ways while playing a game or using the way you bend a device to trigger an action during gameplay.
Let’s talk about possible flaws
Lenovo’s bendable phone prototype isn’t the only one to stretch the boundaries of flexible phones. Did you know that twistable phone prototypes are something we’ve been seeing as far back as 2011? But don’t expect to see them everywhere at once – it’s better to move cautiously with innovative designs.
There’s also wear and tear to consider with phones you repeatedly twist and contort. It’s possible, too, that a new, more flexible design could affect the kind of hardware you can install into a device, say, a smaller battery than you can stick in a large, flat rectangle. It’s also likely that rigid parts, such as circuit boards, will have to use a different internal configuration that would have the ability to bend as well.
The race is on to create the best bendable phone
Now the main question is: if bendable and flexible phones aren’t guaranteed to be a hit, why would companies pour cash into research and development for phones that may not go mainstream? The truth is, we can’t always accurately predict which trends will be a hit, or might end up as flops.
But there is a certain glory in being the first one to do it; and there’s a distinct market advantage for companies that have the most experience if this bendable hullabaloo takes off.
Lastly, what excites me most, though, is that this type of innovation helps smartphone manufacturers everywhere build on past discoveries, while at the same time, stepping out of the box.