Think of today's mobile phone and the screen is an all-important feature – the interface between us and the device and probably the first thing most people want to know about when trying to decide their next phone.
But things could be very different in just a couple of years if this stunning concept device from the Nokia Research Centre is anything to go by.
It's called the GEM, and it's been produced to mark the NRC's 25th anniversary, a quarter of a century that has seen a huge number of innovations emerging from the Espoo ideas centre, many of which have helped drive Nokia's success over the year.
What makes the GEM so special is that it has no screen at all – or rather, the whole device is effectively a screen, able to drastically change appearance to suit whatever function or app you're busy with at a given time.
Nokia senior design manager Jarkko Saunamäki hinted at some of the ways the GEM concept could revolutionise how we use our mobile devices: “now, when you launch an application like the camera, your mobile phone still looks like a mobile phone, but with GEM, when you launch the camera application, the whole phone looks like a camera,” he explained.
“It’s the ultimate customisable device. There is no default appearance. If you play a lot of games it will usually resemble a games pad, for example.”
The potential for such a device is practically limitless, from the advertising and marketing possibilities created from being able to turn every surface into a display to the interactivity you could engineer by having touch and vision working together so seamlessly.
Of course, the GEM is purely a concept device, and there is no road map at all at this stage for bringing the technology to any real-world product line. But hell, we can dream can't we?