Is 2013 the year of the flexible phone?

Science and Technology

Galaxy skinFlexible phones could be the next must have piece of technology as 2013 is set to be the year that flexible phones become a reality. By the end of the year mobile phones may be bendable, rollable, foldable and maybe even wearable. Although prototypes have been around for a while, the first company predicted to deliver bendy phones to customers will be Samsung.

In an increasingly saturated market, Samsung are hoping to differentiate themselves from their competitors by offering a unique product. Samsung favours smartphones with flexible OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology, and is confident that they will be “very popular among consumers worldwide”.  OLEDs, which are currently used in some televisions and smartphones, have made the flexible phone technology possible as they compact and can withstand being placed on ductile materials such as plastic and foil. The new screens “will allow for a high degree of durability through their use of a plastic substrate that is thinner, lighter and more flexible than conventional LCD technology,” says a Samsung spokesperson. Over a year has passed since Samsung showcased its Galaxy Skin (pictured), which purported to offer a high-resolution 800×480 flexible OLED screen and eight megapixel camera. It is still yet to be released.

Designing a bendy phone has its challenges: every component, including the battery, touchscreen and outer shell must be flexible. However, the benefit of a flexible phone mean that students would be able to roll the phones, drop them, and throw them into their bags without the risk of damaging them. Students would also benefit as costs to replace cracked phone screens may start becoming a thing of the past.

It is possible the that new flexible phone technology could be made wearable in the form of a watch and consequently could prove to be the next must have fashion accessory of 2013 but we’ll have to wait and see.