Although Nokia’s London event going on this week will likely not yield any stateside fruits in the form of devices, the faltering gadget maker did demonstrate a really neat prototype that may just be the future of smartphones. What was this innovation? It was what Nokia called a “kinetic device,” which is flexible and can respond to bending.
You may remember that we looked at a similar prototype a few months ago, an e-ink display that could bend along with an Android version that responded to those actions. Nokia has built on and improved this concept quite significantly, as its prototype boasted not only a full color OLED display, but also a modern-looking bit of software.
This software, much like the modified Android we saw, already had a number of gestures or actions built in based on the flexible phone. For example, twisting scrolls through lists of music and contacts, bending outward or inward would zoom or zoom out, and tapping on the corners moves through fullscreen photos.
Nokia employees at the show noted a few potential advantages of the interface, like being able to operate your phone without actually looking at it, which means you could pause your music without taking your phone out of your pocket. It could also provide more tactical feedback than standard touch interfaces, and also be used while wearing gloves.
While the prototype is nowhere near production (Nokia made this fact clear), it is great to see flexible device technology advancing so rapidly. Just a little while ago, we had a black and white display hooked up to a circuit board that could hardly be called a device. Now we have what looks like a smartphone in someone’s hand actually being used somewhat normally. At this rate, we may even see a production device in the near future.[CNET]