In the race to sport the biggest screens on the thinnest phones, one Canadian research group has beaten everyone to the punch. And no, we aren’t talking about Research in Motion.
What you see above is a working prototype of a paper thin phone, aptly named the “PaperPhone”. It’s about as thick as a laminated name badge. It uses e-Ink, similar to what is used in E-Readers like the Kindle. Sensors can detect various bends and flicks on the screen to interpret what the user is trying to do. Curl the page to make a phone call, or use a pen to write notes.
The working phone runs on the Android operating system and requires no hand assembly. It is essentially printed, meaning that manufacturing costs would be minimal and the phone would retail for much less than today’s high end smartphones.
Roel Vertegaal, who is the director of the research group suggests that the technology is about 5 years away from actually being ready to go to market, but will be demonstrating the PaperPhone at a conference later this week.
While the typical wear and tear that affects today’s smartphones, scratches and damage from drops, wouldn’t be an issue with PaperPhones, a whole slew of other potential problems would exists. For example, the phone could get folded in half and creased, causing potential permanent damage.
The entire phone isn’t paper thin though. There is a casing attached to the phone where the cell phone battery, processor and memory card go. But researches have 5 years to figure out a way to make those a little less unwieldy.