Gadgets

LIFE BEGINS AT 40

In the years since its inception, the mobile phone has transformed our lives, our jobs and the ease with which we make ill-advised drunken online purchases. It’s essentially become a second brain, providing knowledge on tap, tap, tap. And it’s still in its infancy. Here’s the scoop on the new innovations coming your way in 2013...

1. Bendy phone

Like a surrealist melting clock, the ‘bendy’ phone sounds cool, but is it practical? Well, just think about it: there‘s no glass to smash and it’s a lot quicker to slip into your jeans. Expect to see rollable, bendable mobiles such as the Philips Fluid (left) soon, made from TFT film that Samsung describes as ‘unbreakable‘.

2. Transparent phone

It’s annoying when our phone runs out of battery. It’s usually our fault for not charging it but, nonetheless, we like to blame The Man. When transparent displays are introduced this year, that won’t be an option – they’ll be photovoltaic and thus charge your phone much like a solar panel would (two minutes charge per 10 minutes of sun).

3. Kindle phone

Amazon is said to be building its first mobile phone – a 5in Kindle – that can make calls and channel Amazon’s ebooks, apps and digital music. Also on sale this year is the Russian-made Yota. It has a normal-colour LED on the front and a monochrome, e-ink ‘Kindle’ screen on the back.

4. Smartwatch war

You know the galley slave scene in Ben Hur? Well that’s what’s going on inside Apple, Samsung and Google as teams of engineers race to squeeze a smartphone into a watch. Samsung has created concepts like this one (pictured), and details of Apple’s ‘iWatch’ were recently revealed by patent applications: it’ll be a ‘slap on’ bracelet.