October 28th, 2011

Nokia turn the mobile phone into a flex­ible friend

Twist or bend my iPhone and the most likely res­ult is a trip to the Apple repair centre and a bill for a few hun­dred pounds or dol­lars. But Nokia showed off a “concept smart­phone” this week that wouldn’t just stand-​up to that type of use — it relies on it.

Nokia unveiled a pro­to­type smart­phone which uses tech­no­logy to allow users to actu­ally twist and squeeze their phone with no adverse effect.

Even bet­ter, twist­ing, bend­ing, squeez­ing and flex­ing the phone could be what the user needs to do to nav­ig­ate the menu sys­tem, select files, take pho­tos, answer the phone and so on…

With the launch of the iPhone 4S with its voice activ­ated per­sonal assist­ant, Siri, interest in more intu­it­ive meth­ods of input has risen again.

This concept smart­phone is part of a Nokia pro­ject called Kin­etic and the com­pany believes its “flex­ible” concept smart­phone could be avail­able to con­sumers in just three years.

In the mean­time, there is still work to do to per­fect all the com­pon­ents. Not only does this kind of phone require a rub­ber case and flex­ible dis­play, but also a new kind of bat­tery and internal hard­ware that can with­stand the abus­ive strains.

Tech­no­logy Insights Head of Design Tapani Jokinen describes how the tech­no­logy might be used in an offi­cial Nokia blog:

Twist for­ward to scroll through files and the twist­ing action con­trols the speed. The more you twist, the faster you scroll. Go too far and you simply twist back slowly until the file or con­tact you want is high­lighted then, bend to action, or open the item on the menu. If your phone rings, simply hold it to your ear and squeeze to answer.”

With the fruits of its part­ner­ship with Microsoft’s Win­dows Phone oper­at­ing sys­tem, being unveiled this week, per­haps Nokia feels more able to focus on innov­at­ive tech­no­logy and hard­ware, and remind the industry why it used to be so successful.

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