The launch of Nubia Alpha in 2019, featuring a flexible OLED display and gesture control, would merge the form factors of a smartphone and smartwatch.
There has been enormous hype surrounding the arrival of flexible and/or foldable touchscreen in the market. Recently, Samsung unveiled its new Infinity Flex Display, a display technology that allows a tablet-sized screen to fold into a size equivalent of a smartphone. The technology would feature in Galaxy Fold, facilitating the convergence of a tablet into a smartphone. However, the idea of merging the form factors of the smartwatch and smartphone was less thought of in the technological world. That is, until now!!
Nubia to redefine smartwatches with flexible OLED display
Nubia is on the verge of launching the Nubia Alpha, a smartwatch with a lot of the functionality of a regular smartphone. However, the core feature that separates this smartwatch from the other products in the market, is its flexible OLED display. It measures just 4 inches from one corner to the other, appearing much bigger thanks to its ultra-wide aspect ratio. The display resolution of 960 x 192 translates to an aspect ratio of 45:9. According to Nubia, the display can withstand being bend 100,000 times, which reduces the primal concern of customers worried about destroying it.
The device would run on Snapdragon Wear 2100, which would limit its functionality offerings, as the wearable chip first emerged in the market back in 2016. Other than that, it would run on 1 GB of RAM and possess 8 GB of onboard storage. It’s set to be powered by a 500 mAh battery, which would see the device easily last anywhere between one and two days.
Nubia’s custom Android-based OS lets the user scroll the watches’ essentials such that it’s readable from any angle. There are two physical buttons to return to the home menu and activate the voice control. The voice control might be the preferred mode of choice for typing, as typing into the T9 alphanumeric dialer would feel like an ordeal when the watch is wrapped around the wrist. The smartphone / wearable smartwatch can place voice calls at ease, track the fitness level of its wearer, and can be used for mobile payments – similar to any prevalent smartphone.
However, one of the more interesting features of the device is gesture control, which scrolls up and down, or left and right, at the wave of one’s finger. The device also features a 5-megapixel camera, which might not be at par with the cameras of other smartphones, but can still take a decent picture nonetheless.
TCL and Wove to provide competition with their flexible smartwatches
Blackberry and Alcatel brand steward TCL has also been working on a smartphone that can bend around a wrist like a bracelet. The Chinese company has been working on a total of five foldable and flexible touchscreens, and the one curving around the wrist could effectively emulate a smartwatch. They have already patented the technology, which is vastly different from that of Samsung or Nubia.
Another electronics company, Polyera, has been working on the prototype for bendable touchscreen display outfitted on a wrist-worn wearable. Called the Wove, the device has a width of 33 mmm similar to that of an Apple Watch. However, the display stretches out for 156 cm around the wrist. It runs a variant of Android and uses a 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A7 processor.
Global smartwatch market expected to grow at a substantial rate
While the Galaxy Fold is estimated to hit the shelves in 2019, the first version of Nubia’s wearable smartphone will be available in Europe and North America starting April 2019, for a price of $500. Meanwhile, TCL and Polyera have yet to announce the launch date for their smartwatches. While most smartwatches have similar functionality to that of a smartphone, the fact that it could be worn in the wrist is a major advantage that they possess. According to a report by Allied Market Research, the global smartwatch market is expected to reach $31.1 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 16.2%. The drive to build a connected ecosystem is set to provide lucrative investment opportunities for emerging market players.