Nokia demonstrates flexible phone prototype

By on October 27, 2011, 11:00 AM

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia was all over the news yesterday after announcing multiple phones at Nokia World, but it’s a prototype handset tentatively known as the Nokia Kinetic Device that was the real star among stars. This forward-thinking handset allows users to physically interact with media and control the device by altering its shape.

The handset is far from a finished product but that doesn’t mean we can’t be engaged. The team at Nokia demonstrated how the device could zoom in and out of photos simply by flexing the unit forward and backward. The same motion would pause or play audio in a music app. Twisting the handset from one side to the other allows you to scroll through music collections or photo albums with ease.

The technology certainly looks promising but there are no doubt still plenty of hurdles to overcome. The device requires two hands to operate, thus eliminating single-hand use. One must assume that the prototype on display lacked the majority of hardware found in today’s mobile phones, something that would need to be worked out before a retail product could become a reality (flexible storage, processors and network chips, anyone?). Also, how would such a device react to inadvertent flexes, like changes that could occur when you sit down with the phone in your pocket?

Aside from the obvious “wow” factor, a flexible phone could hold up pretty well in terms of sturdiness. I would suspect such a device could withstand a fall onto a hard surface better than today’s rigid handsets.

A flexible smartphone is still likely years away from production but it’s nice to get a sneak peek at what the future might hold.




User Comments: 11

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dotVezz said:

I want it. Not because it looks particularly useful, but for heaven's sake it sure is inventive. In an industry that's been devoid of any radical innovation for years, this is like a breath of fresh air.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

wow that is cool, with the way nokia has been for the last couple of years i never saw them coming out with anything new but damn thats cool! so wait until iPhone 6 when nokia have had this out for a year and Apple will call it "New" when they do it.

IAMTHESTIG said:

Well there are no flexible motherboards, flexible batteries, etc. and until someone can make everything else flexible this tech is kind of pointless. It's a flexible display connected to a phone via a cable, that's it. It's not a flexible phone, yet.

It is cool, I definitely agree, but I also don't see any practical purpose for a flexible phone other than it being tough and resistant to impact. With flexible motherboards, flexible battery packs, and wireless everything (bluetooth, wifi, HDMI, etc.) and induction charging, we could have the very first fully water proof, flexible, mobile devices.

Guest said:

Wow. Thats very nice.

Guest said:

understandably your right, without major components being very flexible its not much of an use of this device. But things are beginning to "getting smaller" if i put that way, so maybe in future times motherboards, Batteries everything else might become only a small part of the device that everything else is probably just a screen.... maybe.. lol in future times.

Guest said:

Quote "In an industry that's been devoid of any radical innovation for years".

Are you serious?? Phone are probably the fastest innovation in tech over the last few years. I remember just a "couple" of years ago having a "new" Nokia with partially coloured screen. Now, I've got a full PC in my pocket/GPS Navigation unit/ Hands-free phone/ PDA / Video Messenger , and spot on camera!

No innovation for years??? I don't think so

Guest said:

well, you can see plenty of flexible cell phone on Japan, you can strap it on your wrist, and the shape can changed depending who's calling you.. and you can actually buy one

Guest said:

Mobile internet, touchscreens, insane battery life, and the arm processor to name a few highlights..... And you say there haven't been any innovations!!?

katoDRAGON said:

Guest said:

Quote "In an industry that's been devoid of any radical innovation for years".

Are you serious?? Phone are probably the fastest innovation in tech over the last few years. I remember just a "couple" of years ago having a "new" Nokia with partially coloured screen. Now, I've got a full PC in my pocket/GPS Navigation unit/ Hands-free phone/ PDA / Video Messenger , and spot on camera!

No innovation for years??? I don't think so

Nokia, not the phone industry

Guest said:

There are flexible batteries and also various types of flexible motherboards.. the problem is price and it is not very energy dense. The motherboards are expensive it it self AND they require a slow less automated manufacturing (when the components are added). Surface mounted components was not possible with the model we have at the university.

We have both flexible batteries and circuit boards at the university - just to show what's possible. I have not seen any commercial use of these products yet. We have had them for about 2 years now - so I'm sure there are better models now.

The idea behind the flexible battery was not that is was flexible per se. It is also kind of mouldable..

It is posible to press the battery to a shape in a mould, and then add resin so it will cure and stay in the new shape. It is then possible to make lets say a housing for an electronic device. The moulding technique makes it possible to use all the "empty" space in a device. But there is as mentioned a problem with the energy density. You need to make probably all of the chassis/housing of a laptop in order to get more power then a modern litium ion battery.

Guest said:

@katoDRAGON

Aimed the first poster NOT the article!

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