The prospect of fully flexible smartphones has been dangled in front of consumers for years, but now a Chinese company is boldly claiming it will be the first to actually deliver a malleable mobile to consumers, doing so by the end of 2016.
Moxie Group, a start-up company based in Chongqing, south west China, has released concept images showing a flexible, bendy smartphone that users will be able to wrap around their wrist like a bracelet. The company says it will ship 100,000 of the as-yet named devices in 2016, which will go on sale for roughly 5,000 yuan (£521, $765) each.
The devices have all their internal components packed into one end, allowing them to be rolled over themselves, and owe their pliability to their ultra-thin graphene screens. Graphene is a relatively new material that has garnered massive amounts of interest since its discovery due to its high flexibility and conductivity. Unsurprisingly it has piqued the interests of companies like Samsung, who are trying to make flexible smartphone displays a reality (albeit taking their sweet time about it).
While we've technically had "bendable" smartphones in the past – the LG G Flex springs to mind – these have not been truly flexible as Moxie's phone purports to be. If Moxie's claims are true, Samsung and co will have been beaten to the punch by a long shot.
However, there are a few sticking points that stop us from getting too excited about Moxie's flexible phone. Firstly, despite what the images would suggest, the company's first device will sport a black and white electronic ink (e-ink) display, owing to the fact that black and white displays are "much easier to make". Easier maybe, but hardly something smartphone users of today are clamouring for.
Also, there's no guarantee consumers will be able to get their hands (wrists?) on one outside of China. Speaking to Bloomberg, Chongsheng Yu, Moxie's executive vice president, said: "The colour model power usage is also much higher than that of the black and white unit. We'll sell in China and if there's demand overseas, we'll look into it."
But credit should be given where credit is due. Moxie is brave enough to bring something new to the market, showing the biggest of smartphone manufacturers that even a small, unknown start-up can do what they can't. For that, we applaud it.