What are the next generation of phones going to look like? There hasn’t been a radically new ‘phone form factor’ for a while. Perhaps the iPad and its ‘larger than a phone’ screen size will drive a whole new generation of phone design ideas

If you’ve seen this video, where a phone is ‘stretched’ into the shape of a tablet in a completely magical ‘science fiction’ kind of way, you might be inclined to think exactly as I did. “Wow, that is so cool, shame we don’t have the kind of technology that allows us to do that yet. I’d give my right arm for one of those”.

Well, if you think about it, there’s no need for the kind of futuristic materials technology that would be necessary to ‘seamlessly stretch a phone and its screen’ as it does in the video, in order for a phone to be able to morph into a tablet. You would just need to have the ability to increase the width of a ‘touch screen candy bar’ phone.  This could easily be acheived with a ‘multi-screen slider’.

The inherent requirement in such a ‘morphable’ layout would be to be able to pull at least one additional section (with a screen on it) out at the side of the ‘unextended’ phone. However, seeing as the ‘square layout’ that would result from two side-by-side ‘vertical oblong sections’ would perhaps produce a less than ideal ‘square screen aspect ratio’, the unextended layout would probably have to be a bit more ‘square’ than most typical phones (as is the one in the video) on the basis of the approximation that ‘two vertically adjacent oblongs make a square, two adjacent squares make an oblong’

The problems that a two-screen-wide slider phone would present would probably result from the need to have twice as much battery power in order to provide the same usage time on two screens, which in turn would potentially add significantly to the thickness and weight, a compromise not necessarily unacceptable on a tablet, but more of an impediment for a phone.

But perhaps the coming ‘tablet frenzy’ as Android-based (and probably all other platforms, including some as-yet unseen players) models seek to capitalise upon the momentum generated by the iPad, will make phone manufacturers seriously consider making phones that can turn into tablets, even if they are thicker, heavier and use up their battery more quickly. Or even making things that go beyond our idea of what a tablet or a phone can do.