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World's first bendable smartphone set to be launched this year by Chinese startup Moxi

The Independent logo The Independent 25-05-2016 Doug Bolton

A Chinese startup claims it is going to start selling the world's first bendable smartphone later this year.

Moxi Group, a new company based in Chonquing, says it is planning to ship 100,000 of their flexible devices in China by the end of the year, which will cost around 5,000 yuan (£520) each.

The device will look like a long, thin smartphone when unfolded, with a narrow screen and large battery at the bottom.

Based on images released by Moxi, it'll be able to bend all the way around, allowing users to fasten it to their wrist like a bracelet.

The screen apparently uses graphene, a futuristic material first developed in the UK which is light, thin and very conductive.

Flexible smartphones have been developed before, mostly by university researchers or as concepts by big electronics companies. The Moxi phone would be the first consumer-ready, truly bendy phone in the world.

Although making the phone is an impressive feat in the first place, it might not be as good as it looks in the promotional pictures. The first version will have a black and white screen, which is easier to produce and uses less power.

The screen is an e-ink display, the same kind used in e-readers like the Amazon Kindle. These displays typically have to refresh when showing different images, making them a little clumsy to use and not very good at playing video.

At least at the start, the pricey Moxi phone won't even have the same features as the cheapest smartphones. However, Chongsheng Yu, the company's executive vice president, told Bloomberg that a colour screen and international distribution may arrive in the future.

Even if the Moxi phone isn't that impressive, its launch will still be a first. Industry giants like Samsung have reportedly been working on flexible screens for years, but the technology has never appeared in a consumer product.

When smartphone sales are falling and every tech company is trying to make a smartphone which isn't just a glass-and-metal rectangle, Moxi might be heading in the right direction.

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