We are far enough down the line of smartphone innovation where things are starting to plateau. The iPhone, always the leader in design, hasn’t changed it’s basic shape in years and everyone else has little new to offer either. Smartphones now are generally flat rectangles.
The new breakthrough in smartphone design is coming next year and it will be all about curved glass. Samsung has already shipped a curved phone as has LG. Unfortunately, these early curved front phones appear to be curved for no other reason than they can be. I see little tangible benefit other than the fact that dropped on it’s face, such a phone might not shatter its screen so easily.
The real breakthrough in curved phones will come with truly wearable technology. A watch seems to be the most popular current wearable piece of tech but neither Sony’s or Samsung’s wearable smart watches have taken off. They are not even curved. Apple, as usual, will change the game with their wearable iDevice, which will not be a watch or an iPhone but something in-between. The kicker will be the fact that the device will use not just a curved display, but a flexible one. This is the true innovation; not curved displays, but flexible. I think the Apple device will be not unlike the current slap bands. Apple is in need of a product that blows people away and they like to do things that have never been done before. A flexible display wearable device would fit the bill nicely. I think we will also see other flexible display devices. Imagine a Kindle you could fold up and stick in your back pocket, like a magazine. We are only at the beginning of the post-pc era and I don’t think we have seen anything yet.