The mobile world has been in a bit of rut. While smart phones keep getting more powerful (though perhaps also less reliable), their basic shape and form haven’t changed much since the original iPhone was introduced in 2007. The loss of the poor headphone jack is perhaps the biggest change we’ve seen in the last few years.
But there may be a big revolution afoot. Microsoft has recently submitted a patent for a foldable mobile device using an old-fashioned hinge, and, presumably, a very thin and highly flexible AMOLED (or similar) display. It isn’t exactly clear, however, whether Microsoft intends for the display to bend or whether they’ll opt for two separate screens. The latter, of course, wouldn’t be nearly as cool. It’s hard to get excited about a Surface Phone.
But Microsoft isn’t alone in thinking this nuevo-flip phone design is the wave of the future. Samsung is apparently working on a fully-functional commercial model as well, the so-called ‘Galaxy X’. As you may recall, they unveiled a foldable prototype back in 2011 but ran into some technical challenges. They’ve clearly been massaging out the kinks since then, however, and stand a good chance of being the first to bring a truly bendy smartphone to market. Perhaps even as early as next year.
I’ll admit I’m actually a little excited about this, and I don’t get excited over much these days. I suspect there are many others like myself who are ready for a new paradigm in phone morphology — a kind of super smartphone that can also effectively double as tablet. But it’ll need to be thin and and it’ll need to be robust — I can see myself folding and unfolding this thing like it’s a fidget spinner.
Given my own personal experience with Samsung phones, which generally hasn’t been the best, I’m rooting for Microsoft and friends to provide some viable alternatives. I suspect a collaborative venture between Microsoft’s Surface and Windows development teams, with a bit of creative engineering, could very well bring my bendable dream to life.