This story falls in the "If you can conceive it, you can achieve it." category. In case you missed it last month, there is a cool new industrial design for a "Phone, Ear-Phone, Phone" that provides a true raison d’être for flexible displays and electronics. Yes, one might argue that e-books already justify the flexible display category with that market expected to expand to $2B in revenue by 2012, according to recent numbers from NanoMarkets June 29th report, …and they go on to say e-book revenue will balloon to $4B by 2014 (read all about this in the upcoming Mobile Display Report).
Senior Analyst and Editor
To date, most "flexible" displays have actually been "bendable" displays designed to bend at most once, to conform to a surface. These "bendable" displays have been talked about for several years and Sony showed prototypes as early as mid-2007 of full color video playing on 2.5-inch, 0.3 mm thin panels. Here the bendability is used mostly to allow a little leeway so the display won’t break when the user puts it in his pocket. One of the few examples of a true flexible display that actually reached the product stage was the Philips roll-up displays based on e-Ink materials which emerged as early as 2004.)
There is no shortage of product concepts that actually put flexible technology to use. This is illustrated by the creative design concept of the new ear-phone/phone, dubbed "Kambala" by its designer Ilshat Garipov, that bends, folds and even pops out to provide an ear piece attachment — then cleverly camouflages itself to blend with your natural skin-tone. He published this concept in the on-line magazine Yanko Design, "a web magazine dedicated to introducing the best modern international design, covering from industrial design, concepts, technology, interior design, architecture, exhibition and fashion." Flexible substrates, printed circuits and an e-skin like the one HP showed at SID, plus much more, would be required to make this concept a functioning reality.
Perhaps Garipov postulated that although convenient, none of the "trendy" earpieces are really as cool as some may think, and the best way to wear one—is to look like you are not wearing one.
So the gauntlet has been thrown down, and Garipov has "conceived" one cool industrial design that combines the simplicity of a single purpose cell phone device with the magic of flexible displays and electronics. But it’s the "magic" that product planners and, in particular, the engineering teams are charged with "achieving," and it will no doubt take every bit as much creative genius in the achieving, as in the conceiving. And isn’t that the real joy in the work? Finding creative solutions to solvable problems that look to the world like — well, magic.