Samsung might finally make good its boast a couple of years ago to revolutionize the mobile device industry with flexible, bendable screens. It has just recently flaunted actual working demos of such displays that could very well make it to “prototype” commercial devices next year. A Chinese company by the name of Moxi (“mou-she”), however, might beat Samsung to the punch by launching its own bendable smartphone as early as late 2016. The catch, however, is that this first generation will only have a black and white display.
Bendable smartphones and tablets have been the dream of many futurists and tech-savvy people. Imagine a phone that rolls into a wristband, or a tablet that folds into a phone or a notebook. One part of the formula that would make that possible has more or less been solved. There are already flexible and rollable displays, as shown off by Samsung and its rival LG. The other parts of the smartphone, however, are less flexible and harder to solve.
Moxi, however, claims to have more or less solved those puzzles. That’s partly thanks to graphene, a wondrous and yet perplexing material discovered a little more than 10 years ago. Graphene exhibits properties that, on the one hand, don’t make sense in combination. On the other hand, it opens up a lot of possibilities. Graphene is one million times thinner than human hair but is 300 times stronger than steel and also 1,000 more conductive than silicon. In other words, the perfect material for bendy electronics.
While Moxi might be able to start selling its bendable smartphone before the year ends, there are some caveats to that almost perfect dream. One is that the screen won’t be as colorful as your rigid smartphone. The company will most likely use an e-paper display, which is more conducive to bending and twisting. A colored version will be coming in 2018, the company promises, though hopefully it will actually be a more colorful display on par with LCDs and OLEDs.
The bitterest pill, however, is the price. Moxi plans to sell it for 5,000 yuan, which is around $760, which almost reaches the iPhone 6s’ 5,288 yuan price tag. Considering the bendable smartphone is unlikely to sport high-end specs in that price tier, you will really be paying for the novelty and the bragging rights to the first commercial bendable smartphone.
SOURCE: CNN Money