Thin, flexible phone prototype comes from the future, fits in your wallet


What you're looking at may be the most interesting prototype product I have ever seen. It is a prototype of a flexible Android phone called the PaperPhone by its designer, Roel Vertegaal of Queen's University. 

The concept combines a number of technologies, such as flexible e-ink displays and circuit boards, to achieve "bendable phone" status. However, the device can do more than just make calls. Testers were able to navigate the Android homescreen, scroll through a contacts menu, read an ebook, and play some music.

While the screen bending navigation technique used for the demonstration seems somewhat clumsy, it does have its uses and is pretty cool too. Flipping through an e-book by "turning the page," for example, is really neat. When coupled with touchscreen technology, bend navigation has the potential to be a great way to interact with a smartphone.

As you can see in the image, the device runs an older version of Android. Although this is promising, don't expect to get much more than basic functionality out of the device's 9.5-centimeter e-ink display. The prototype is not a powerhouse either, and I wonder how prone it is to tearing.

Then again, prototypes are not supposed to be finished; they are all about potential. And in my opinion, this device has a massive amount of potential. Even if users aren't into the "bend to interact" idea, having a phone as thin as a sheet of paper that won't shatter like glass should be appealing. I know I would love to have a flexible Android phone with a color display. If you are as excited as I am about this application of technology, you can check out a video of the prototype below the break.


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Aaron Orquia

Aaron Orquia is an associate editor at Pocketables. He has been using Android and Linux since he bought his first computer years ago, and his interest in technology, software, and tweaking both to work just right has only grown stronger since then. His current gadgets include a OnePlus One, a Pebble smartwatch, and an Acer C720 Chromebook.

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2 thoughts on “Thin, flexible phone prototype comes from the future, fits in your wallet

  • Battery technology has a long way to go before we can really start to see paper-thin phones. Anyway I’m already fed up with how thin everything is these days… I had to add a case to my Glacier just to make it comfortable to hold!

  • You can easily make a thin phone without display and with a couple of plastic sheets to hold your printed contacts on paper ;-) cmon.


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