The problem with concepts like a bendy roll-up tablet is that they’re made out of parts that don’t exist just yet. However, in the case of Corning’s amazingly flexible Willow Glass, they do exist—but no one knows what to do with them yet.
According to a recent Bloomberg interview, all the bendy gadgets you’ve ever dreamed of are possible—or, at least, will be possible in a couple of years.
Companies like Apple have had access to Willow Glass since June, according to Corning Glass Technologies president James Clappin. But the nature of the material—long sheets of glass that can roll up like newspaper—has left manufacturers at a loss for how to implement the new technology:
“People are not accustomed to glass you roll up,” Clappin said after an event marking the opening an $800 million factory for liquid-crystal-display glass. “The ability of people to take it and use it to make a product is limited.”
Right now we’re looking at a timeline of three years. Three years until we see what may be the next groundbreaking disruption in gadgetry.
Three years may seem like a long time, but it could be wrong—we could be giving Willow Glass products this Christmas. Even if it takes the full three years (or longer), that’s three more years that companies have to plan and design the software and the rest of the technology for these products. The future seems like a long way off, but we’ll certainly be ready.