Tech Start-up Unveils Wrist-Mounted Bendable Phone

by Matt Klassen on September 30, 2014

As tech companies start to play (some on purpose and some accidentally) with flexible and bendable wearable technology many are wondering what the future of wearables will actually look like. As CNET writer Eric Mack notes, the running joke surrounding wearables “has been something about awkwardly strapping a computer or a phone to your body,” an inelegant and uncomfortable marriage of technology, fashion, and, well, our bodies.

But while most initial attempts at creating wearables have sought to product sleek and sophisticated devices, the problem, notes tech start-up Arubixs, is that you can’t really do anything practical with them. So the up-and-coming tech firm decided to do something about it, crowdfunding its own project that seems to make that ever-present joke about wearables a reality.

To that end, the San Francisco based Arubixs has designed a flexible screen phablet dubbed “Portal,” a device that is mounted on one’s forearm through the use of a dual-strap arm cradle. While initially I would say that this crowdfunded project is nothing short of ridiculous it harkens back to my misguided prediction regarding the entire phablet phenomena, meaning perhaps there’s some brilliance hiding behind this obscenely gaudy tech accessory.

“Current wearable offerings and even the new Apple Watch are just too small to text on or do anything really practical,” Arubixs founder Brandon Mairs told CNET. “This (Portal) is not just a wearable. It’s a smartphone you can wear. So when the phone is not in the cradle it’s just a thin, 6-inch smartphone that’s flexible, water resistant and shatterproof.”

But that said, while some may crave a futuristic wrist-mounted mobile device, I doubt there are many (yet) who would voluntarily strap a phone larger than a Galaxy Note to their wrist and walk around town. Not only does it look big and bulky (I think long-sleeved shirts are out the question), but given that its difficult to hide it won’t be long before early adopters start to feel the same tech stigma aimed at Google Glass users, that feeling of being ostracised because you’re part cyborg.

That said, one really can’t argue with the features of this crowdfunded wrist phone, as Mack writes, “Arubixs claims its 6-inch TFT display is… scratch-resistant and reinforced by a flexible Kevlar exterior. It has 2GB RAM, a total of four cameras, 64GB of storage, a full suite of sensors, NFC, Bluetooth, LTE, wireless charging and a proprietary 3,200mAh flexible battery. The processor is yet to be determined. Portal will run a skinned version of Android and respond to touch, gesture and motion-based commands.”

While it may have the proportions of a piece of mobile technology from the 1980s, the fact is that its specs place it among the upper echelon of mobile products, a feature rich platform that combines a smartphone, fitness tracker, and tablet into one wearable device. Of course it also screams über nerd to a world that is only now getting comfortable with the prospect of having devices attached and connected to our bodies.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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