France's Louise Vanhille performs at the balance beam during the artistic gymnastics test event for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
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From a small Chinese startup.

By Michal Addady
May 24, 2016

A startup in China is gearing up to become the first company to sell bendable smartphones.

Chongqing Graphene Tech Co., informally known as Moxi Group, will soon be putting its flexible devices on shelves. Bloomberg reports that it plans to ship 100,000 of them this year.

The smartphones cost $765 and will only be available in black and white displays initially, with color options possibly offered later on. “The color model power usage is also much higher than that of the black and white unit,” Moxi Group executive vice president Chongsheng Yu told Bloomberg. “We’ll sell in China and if there’s a demand overseas, we’ll look into it.”

 

Some question the quality of the technology. Roel Vertegaal, director of the Human Media Lab at Canada’s Queen’s University, said if it utilizes e-ink it will be “a real loser.” The color and contrasts will be poor, and it won’t be able to play video. Yu, however, disagrees. He says the company uses the same e-ink used in Kindles, though it’s more advanced than what’s been used before, with enhanced touchscreen capabilities.

 

The phone, made with graphene technology, can stretch out into a rectangle or bent into a bracelet. It can bend so far because, unlike mainstream smartphones, it doesn’t store the battery, processor, and other parts behind the screen; they’re instead stored in a separate area, allowing the device to curve into a full circle.

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