For the sci-fi fans waiting patiently for futuristic tech to become a reality since the dawn of the 21st century, here is news you can use – a company called Polytron Technolgies, based out of Taiwan, has revealed a prototype of what could be the very first transparent smartphone. The part of the news to be excited about is that you can have a date with the technology for real by the end of this year. “It will happen near the end of 2013. Trust me,” said Polytron General Manager Sam Yu to IBN Live.

The Taiwanese manufacturer has used what it has termed “Polyvision Privacy Glass” to devise this transparent handset. The technology behind it is what Polytron calls “Switchable Glass”, which is in actuality a conductive OLED display. As Polytron puts it, “the liquid crystal molecules line up, the incident light passes through and Polyvision looks clear.”

Polytron Technologies can also be credited with a lot of other transparent tech based on the Privacy Polyvision Glass concept. It describes itself as “a specialty, architectural glass company, supplying high quality Polyvision Privacy Glass (switchable glass, Polyvision Film), POLYMAGIC LED Glass (LED glass, LED film), Polyholo Glass (holographic glass, Polyholo film), Polyflush Glass (Polyflush Film), PolyGlow Glass (PolyGlow Film), Polyscreen Glass (Polyscreen films),Polyrainbow Glass (Polyrainbow films), Polytouch Frame, Polyheat Glass, Polydigit Glass, Polydisplay Glass and more.”

Peek a boo!

Peek a boo!

The manufacturer has issued pictures of the prototype featuring a microSD card slot, a microphone, space for the battery and a camera. There hasn’t been any word on any other hardware or even an OS for the device yet. The company intends to use microscopic wires that will be embedded right in to the glass. There’s also mention of the handset supporting full multi-touch capabilities with the option to even use the phone from either side. For the hardware that can’t be rendered transparent for obvious reasons, there will be an opaque cover to hide them. This would probably be positioned at the bottom end of the device.

There are high expectations from the products, especially from those of us with a love of science fiction as well as the general development of mobile technology with regards to the resolution and display size, rendering of videos and web content, viewing angles, privacy etc. Meanwhile, there are also apprehensions about the usability of the handset under sunlight and its brightness. The commercial viability of the phone can only be predicted after it goes into production.

With the advent of OLED technology, a lot of prototypes based on this display type promised transparent TVs, computers and laptops, and other gadgets to be a part of our world some day. However, Polytron’s transparent handset is the only product that is offering a virtually invisible phone. It seems like Sony’s Xperia Pureness is about to have a major competitor and could surpass all that Sony has developed for the limited edition device. 

While we wait for it to go in for mass production, there are a couple of other prototypes we are hoping will see light of the day sooner than promised, or at least in tune with our worldly expectations. In our feature story published recently, we have enlisted some of the very usable futuristic mobile concepts we hope to see in our lifetime. We now have one more to add to that list. 

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