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Aug 24, 2011

How will tablets look like in few years from now?

Flexible iPad Mobile Spoon

I was sitting with my dad the other day, talking about the latest events in the mobile world and portable devices. It's obvious that tablets are taking over thanks to Apple and the clowns, oops, sorry, did I just write that? I meant clones of course…  Still, any person who owns a tablet knows that there are many limitations driven by the operating systems running on them and by the form factor.

I believe that the operating system issues will be resolved as the platforms evolve. Android already brings a powerful multi-tasking and as time progresses it will get even better. iPad has a lot of great productivity tools and as iOS evolves they will become even better.

So that covers the software part, but what about the hardware?

"Tablets are too small for me" said my dad.
"I cannot read easily like I do when I use my desktop, and I can't type with that small keyboard", he explained, "And if I want to see a movie, it want it to be even bigger!"

So we started imagining what can be done to preserve the coolness and portability factors of the tablet, and still make it bigger and better. Better for typing, better when viewing movies etc.

We came up with the flexible tablet idea, where the tablet is actually built out of 2 surfaces, each one the size of an iPad, which can fold. That assumes that the screen can be made flexible (which is something we've seen already, but not yet ready for production) and that the tablet would be thin enough so that even in a collapsed mode it won't be that thick.

When closed it can be completely folded, when typing it can be used like a laptop, and when watching a movie or playing games it can be expanded and act like a double sized tablet.

I decided to challenge my poor Photoshop skills and create a few conceptual drawings based on the iPad, there they are:

Flexible, double size, folding iPad:

Flexible iPad Collapsed

Double-size flexible iPad next to a classic iPad:

wide iPad Mobile Spoon with flexible screen

Of course, there are some issues with this model:

  1. First of all, it doesn't exist, it's a Photoshop work…
  2. Weight might become an issue
  3. You always need to expand it before using (but then again, most of us carry a cover so we do this anyhow…
  4. There might always be a line in the middle of the tablet when it's expanded.

Of course, I'm far from being original here. just within 5 minutes of Googling some images I managed to find a few similar concepts showing flexible tablets, laptops with dual touchscreen etc.

Here are some of them:

 

flexible tablet

 

flexible tablet 2

Those futuristic models all assume that a flexible material for touchscreen and battery will be found. I tend to agree that we (humanity) will be able to solve this one…

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Read more about the Flex Design

Flex Designer

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