Saturday, December 6, 2008

Smartphone will get folding screen technology next year

Brace yourself everyone! Kids go grab your parent's ankle, mothers please hold close your husbands' wallet, fathers find eye blocker to see shiny new gadgets, grandpas start looking for your lost teeth replica... Because next year, a new breakthrough folding screen technology is coming to change even today's most daring smartphone design.

Just yesterday, a Taiwanese research institute announced a folding screen called TFT-EPD (Thin Film Transistor Electrophoretic Display) screen specially design for smartphones. The folding screen technology is being developed by Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), and ITRI worked with Pilotfish on the smartphone design to show off the concept.

Pictures of the smartphone (above) is showing a break at the center of the screen, so it looks almost like two separate screens, which is actually a software taskbar similar to the one at the bottom of a PC screen. But the taskbar on the smartphone screen can be moved so the whole screen can be used for pictures, video or anything else.

The mock-up smartphone, opens like a book turned on its side so when open the display is on the top half and the bottom half is the keyboard. The rest of the 5-inch screen is hidden underneath the keyboard and can be pulled up to reveal the full screen when required. To allow the screen to close down over the keyboard a 1-centimeter portion along the center is flexible.

Currently 5-inches is the only screen size available, but work is being done on other screen sizes, said Nick Vasiljevic, managing director of Pilotfish. ITRI is also working to add touchscreen technology to the flexible screens, which will also likely be ready later next year.

It's truly a wicked technology, and it will surely change not only smartphones, but also the way computer manufacturers will design their new mobile devices such as netbook & laptop.

Sources are from PC World, via Engadget. Head on to Engadget gallery page to see more images of the Pilotfish folding screen smartphone.

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