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Circuit Breaker

Can an unknown Chinese startup build the world's first bendable screen bracelet phone?

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Probably not. But maybe?

Okay so first of all, disregard that render above. Moxi Group, a little-known company in Chongqing China, passed these images of a magical, flexible bracelet smartphone around to the financial news press a couple days ago. But here's the fine print: Moxi actually claims to be working on a black-and-white version of this concept, with a color version "by 2018."

Flexible or curved screens are regular stars at trade shows, but haven't made much of a splash in the actual-shipping-product world. Another unknown company, Polyera, claims to be working on a similar bracelet product called Wove, based on its own internally developed "Flexible TFT" technology. It's supposed to come out in 2016. We'll see.

Moxi claims its own secret sauce is its proprietary graphene tech. "Graphene" is a bit of a buzzy vaporword — it's a real material, but it can have so many different applications, and most of them are far from commercial. Moxi released a $399 phone in partnership with Galapad last year which supposedly used graphene in the screen coating, in the battery, and in the phone's cooling. Dubious, but possible. Graphene won't solve the actual flexible screen problem, but there are plenty of flexible black-and-white screens available from manufacturers like E Ink.

If Moxi does actually build this thing, it will be just as pointless as most flexible screen tech demos. Also, it will supposedly cost $765, only ship and China, and be limited to a run of 100,000. But at least we'll be done flirting with flexible screens and finally getting serious.