Nokia’s Futuristic Flexible Concept Phones

by Yuyutsu Sen on November 10, 2011

Concept devices have always fascinated tech enthusiasts. They offer a glimpse of the future possibilities. However, most of these devices remain a concept and hardly a few actually make it to the stores. Nokia’s flexible phones are the latest example of such concept devices. Although the product is still under research, the concept is generating a lot of interest in the tech world.

The Finnish company proved that it can think out of the box by demonstrating a prototype featuring flexible display at this year’s Nokia World event. The prototype was called the ‘Nokia kinetic device’. The flexible display of this prototype offers customers a completely new way of interacting with their mobile phones. Users can operate the device by bending, twisting and bowing it instead of the usual touchscreen swiping and tapping. For instance, you can scroll through your photo albums or music files by twisting the phone’s corners in opposite directions. Similarly, it is possible to zoom in or out and pause or play songs by bending the phone away from you or towards you.

Flexible phones can offer a number of advantages over conventional smart phones. One of them is durability. Such devices are less likely to be damaged, if you sit down with the phone in your back pocket or drop it on the ground. But Nokia’s main focus is not durability, it is improved user interaction. According to Stephen Shankland, who has been working on the technology for the last two year, unlike conventional smartphones, such a phone can be easily controlled blindly from the pocket. For instance, you can quickly ignore a call or pause a song. Also it can be used while wearing gloves.

But several issues still remain unanswered. The accuracy of bending and twisting is unlikely to be comparable to swiping and touching. The technology can be slightly cumbersome to use. Also, it will not be easy to market twisting and bending devices as it seems unnatural compared to the conventional multi-touch technology.

Last month Nokia uploaded a concept video on YouTube offering a glimpse of what its research department is really targeting – Human Form. The 2 minute video features a flexible tear drop shaped device with transparent display. Apart from kinetic controls, the device also features a touch sensitive casing and gesture based navigation. It makes use of nanotechnology. The device also offers electro tactile display, which enables users to feel the image. The natural interface, which gives an appearance of free floating icons, is also impressive. Although many questions remain unanswered, Nokia seems to be headed in the right direction.

Nokia is not the only company perusing the idea of flexible devices. Samsung has plans of offering flexible displays in the coming year. At CES 2011 the South Korean company offered a glimpse of its own flexible displays. Samsung plans to offer both smartphones and tablets featuring flexible displays. The flexible display technology offers many possibilities. In the future we may be able to roll up our tablets and smartphones for easy storage.

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Written by: Yuyutsu Sen. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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November 11, 2011 at 2:00 am
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elckcj November 13, 2011 at 5:39 pm

So if they are really planning on trying to make this phone a reality is there any kind of talk what kind of OS it will be running? I think to me this would make a big difference

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