Can smartphones be too thin?

Smartphones are getting thinner, but how thin is too thin?
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Can smartphones be too thin?

Last week saw Sony unveil the new Xperia Z3+, a phone that’s ‘thinner, lighter and faster’. But when smartphones are already just a few millimetres thick, how much thinner could they get before slimness becomes a problem?

At 6.9mm thick, the Xperia Z3+ is astonishingly slender, but it’s not the thinnest smartphone around. The Samsung Galaxy S6 comes in at just 6.8mm and the world record holder, the Vivo X5 Max from China, measures an insane 4.75mm. The X5 Max is so thin that Vivo's advertising suggested you could use the phone as a knife:

Vivo X5 Max

Somehow, Vivo has managed to squeeze high-end technology into its super-model-thin phone. There’s a 5.5-inch Full HD screen, a 13MP rear camera, 5MP front camera, octa core processor and, most impressively, a good-sized 2,300mAh battery.

But with such a skinny body, we can’t help but think the phone would be incredibly fragile.

If smartphones are all going to go on crash diets and slim down to less than half a centimetre thick, they’ll have to start using futuristic materials for extra strength, like Liquidmetal. This unique alloy is harder than titanium, so would be perfect for thin phones.

Batteries will also have to get more efficient or they might not be big enough to power our slender phones for a full day.

One bit of technology that won’t need to get any thinner is screens. Last week, LG showed off a new flexible TV that can be hung like wallpaper. The OLED (organic light emitting diode) panel, which is less than 1mm thick, would be perfect for ultra-thin phones.

LG wallpaper TV

In years to come our smartphones might be little more than one of LG’s beautifully scrawny screens, possibly with a thin flexible battery to keep it powered up.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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