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.
Chinese based company Moxi (pronounced Mo-Shee), however, claims to have more or less solved those puzzles.
Moxi is established in the Chinese city of Chongqing and has been specializing in graphene, which is the world’s thinnest material.
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.
Moxi claims to have already produced a prototype of the phone and plans to display 100,000 units of them for sale in China by the end of this year.
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 phone will not be found in the category of colored displays. The company aims at starting off with phones confined to black and white screens which they will be releasing in the People’s Republic of China by the end of this year.
The toughest catch however, is the price of the phone. 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.