Built by the unknown Moxi Group, the device is flexible enough to bend around a wrist and be worn as a wearable, representatives explained toBloomberg.
Details are thin, but the startup claims that it uses Graphene technology for the black and white e-ink display, with plans to launch the device later this year for around $760 in China.
The device itself raises some questions because there are well-documented and difficult hurdles to developing a fully flexible smartphone. Notably, the more inflexible active components like the logic board and battery (although Samsung has made some progresshere).
From the renders above, it looks like the phone solves some of these issues with a non-flexible base that holds the rigid components. The base also appears to act as a clasp should it be worn as a watch. A clever solution, but not really in the spirit of what is commonly understood as flexible tech. More of a stop-gap solution that momentarily steals some headlines and beats the big players like Samsung and LG to the finish line.
In an immediate sense, Moxi’s sort-of bendy phone isn’t a concern for Samsung. It’s a niche device that has limited functionality. What’s more, e-ink has isn’t exactly quick or multimedia friendly and it’s only going to launch in China.
Also, Samsung appears to be working on a genuinely flexible smartphone that will be able to execute what most 2016 smartphones can do. It’s not working on a halfway house device with limited appeal.
But, there is a larger trend here that is a cause for concern. The fact that a little known Chinese startup can produce a flexible smartphone before Samsung tells you what you need to know about the smartphone market right now.
Samsung and LG’s flexible tech is supposed to be the Android savior, the innovation that stops the decline. That could well be true. But, as Moxi Group has shown, it won’t solve the issue of market saturation that’s hurting companies like LG, Sony , HTC, and Samsung. Smaller manufacturers are increasingly showing their capabilities to undercut these companies at every corner, with every new innovation they pump out.