Nokia Gem concept phone begs to be touched

Finding that your phone's one display isn't enough? What if your entire handset were a touch screen? Nokia imagined just that with its new Gem concept phone.

Nokia Gem
The Nokia Gem concept is an all-touch-screen phone that changes every time you use a different function. Nokia

If Nokia has its way, bendable cell phones will just be the beginning.

Today, on the 25th anniversary of the Nokia Research Center's founding, the Finnish handset manufacturer introduced a new concept phone whose entire body is a touch screen.

Dubbed the Nokia Gem because "precious stones have several sides," the front, back, and sides of the phone are an interactive display that changes depending on what function you're using at a given time.

For example, if you're using a navigation app on the Gem, you can have an overview map on one side of the phone and then flip it over to see a more detailed map view of your current location. Another instance shown in the video below is taking a photo and then using the touch-screen interface to wrap the entire image around the handset as a custom wallpaper.

Since there are no physical buttons on the phone, gestures are used to call up certain apps (think drawing a circle to launch the camera). You can also drag and drop icons from a menu of apps, and controls can even surface on the sides or top of the handset.

Nokia Gem
There are no physical buttons on the Nokia Gem. Nokia

Nokia also imagines that users could opt to show off advertisements on the back of the phone in exchange for a discount on your monthly bill.

One of the features I found most interesting and exciting is the way the Gem interacts with other phones. Not so much for stalking nearby strangers as shown in the video, but for sharing media. Sure, apps like Bump let you share contact information between phones, but the idea of gathering up files to share and pouring the content into a friend's phone is pretty cool.

The Gem concept was led by Nokia senior design manager Jarkko Saunamaki and though we're probably a long way from seeing a real-life product, the company did say the Gem is a sign of its commitment to developing game-changing technology. Between this and the bendable displays, we can't wait to see what else is in store.

What do you guys think?

About the author

Bonnie Cha was a former chief correspondent for CNET Crave, covering every kind of tech toy imaginable (with a special obsession for robots and Star Wars-related stuff). When she's not scoping out stories, you can find her checking out live music or surfing in the chilly waters of Northern California.

 

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