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.

Leave a Reply