(Yicai Global) May 30 -- Chongqing Graphene Tech Co. said it will soon release a bendable smartphone bracelet priced at CNY5,000 (USD760) to compete with Samsung's curved-screen phones, in a development that is bound to drive competition over curved-display technology to new levels.
Graphene Tech plans to begin small-scale production of 10,000 black-and-white display units this year. While the phone's touch screen continues to work, it can be bent into a bracelet shape or straightened out like a regular smartphone, though the unit is thinner and longer than regular models.
"A prototype for a color display version has been developed," Mr. Yu Chongsheng, the company's application center manager, said in an interview with Yicai. "Mass production of the color display unit is expected to start in 2018. Technically speaking, it's much easier to produce black-and-white phones than color display ones."
"We believe there's still a market for black-and-white phones, because it's different from other products," Mr. Yu said. "Its aesthetic quality makes a bold 'fashion statement.' We will produce the phone on a small scale at first, and adapt our market positioning according to market reaction."
Graphene Tech is a high-tech joint venture between Beijing Moxi Holdings Group and Chongqing Institute of Green and Intelligent Technology (Chinese Academy of Sciences). The company completed the world's first large graphene film production line at the end of 2013, and its output capacity is one million square meters a year.
Graphene is the world's strongest and lightest known material. Touch screens made from it are highly pliable. Unlike regular smartphones, where the components are installed beneath the screen, the bendable phone accommodates the battery, processor and other components on one side, so that the screen can be bent into a loop. Graphene Tech's screen was developed based on e-ink, a paper-like display technology used in Amazon Inc.'s Kindle e-readers, according to Mr. Yu.