How Flexible Phones Would Affect Mobile Gaming

Mark Stephens

Seems like ways to make smart phones even smarter are back on the agenda as the subject of phones with bendable screens is being talked about again; especially as the much over-hyped subject of what the iPhone 5 will look like is raised again. Will this technology be a game changer? What effects would bendable screens have on the mobile gaming industry as a whole? We check out the story below.

Not Just iPhones

mobileIt’s not just Apple that seem to be looking at this either; both Samsung and Nokia have been the subject of recent reports about the possibilities of using a bendable screen. Seems like most of the major hardware manufacturers are considering it.

Sony have been dipping their feet in the water of flexible “kinetic” devices for a few years now, without yet bringing anything to market.

At the end of last month at the Nokia World show in London there was a demo of a bendable “kinetic” media player prototype, where it was possible to twist the whole unit including the screen in order to easier zoom in and out of photos and select music.

Next the investor-relations head of Samsung comes out and says that such bendable technology could be part of the next generation of Samsung phones, then tablets, in the early part of 2012. These screens would likely be based on the super-thin OLED screens it unveiled in June this year.

The Benefit for Games

While some of the benefits of the bendable Nokia device seem somewhat illusory –for example, it’s difficult to see the advantages of bending a device to operate music or a camera – when it comes to gaming it might be a different story.

Assuming the major handset manufacturers adopt this type of technology the impact on the mobile gaming industry could be quite profound, with one of the main objections people have to playing games on phones being the size of screen when compared to playing on consoles or on the PC.

Bendable screens would allow larger screen phones to be folded away into the pocket, in much the same way that the ”clam” design of phone was once popular as a space-saver. More games with more panoramic views could be designed.

Flexible screens might allow you to control movements in-game more accurately and provide a kind of “brute force” interaction with the characters in the game, that could also open avenues for developers.

Potential Problems


Uptake of flexible screen devices may be slow at first because of customer “fear factor”; the apparent fragility may be a problem for buyers initially with the first releases of these devices.

We are still talking largely about prototypes and even pre-prototypes here; so, while many are predicting world domination for flexible phones in the future, it remains to be seen whether the technology will even make it to market and become the norm ….or whether the challenges associated with creating and selling these devices will be too great for the time being.

Maybe the real benefit of this technology will be several steps along its evolution– when phones the size of iPads can be rolled up into the pocket or the purse. Imagine the possibilities for mobile gaming then!