We'll give you just one hint as to designer Christian de Poorter named his latest project, a concept for a phone with a flexible display: it begins with "i" and ends with "flex." The Milan-based designer predicts that "2013 will be the year of flexible displays: not only a technological revolution, but also something that will open new unexplored possibilities," as he duly suggests in the "iFlex," a proposal for a so-called "flexPhone."
The two [ends] of the rigid flexPhone aluminum case are connected by the central silicone part with deformable inlay so that the device can assume and maintain any desired angle, supporting new usage patterns. The phone has a magnetic lock for the closed position that protects the display from scratches and bumps. The flexible touchscreen display is surrounded by a nylon frame.
De Poorter doesn't mention a specific supplier, but surely there have been new developments in flexible touchscreen since last April, when we saw LG's flexible displays and Atmel's XSense technology. If the CST-01 is any indication, e-ink displays are now thinner and less expensive than ever before, and de Poorter might be onto something in his further predictions:
Obviously, the same principle can be applied to tablets and laptops as well. The iFlex concept can give birth to the flexApps, a new generation of software applications that have never been possible with rigid displays. Some new usage examples have already been devised, such as a digital makeup tool for women, a bent-over placeholder for conference speakers with the name for the public on one side and the remaining time on the other, and an alarm clock that can be switched off with a touch of the hand on the top.
Of course, we should also note that the folding phone concept dates back at least a couple years—we saw a similar proposal from Kyocera back in 2009, and there will likely be plenty more variations on the theme in the near future. Who knows, maybe someday we'll be choosing between bi-fold or tri-fold smartphones...
See also: iPhone Pro by Jinyoung Choi