The Taiwanese firm showed a prototype multitouch mobile phone to the Mobile Geeks website at their base in Toayuan.
Although the device is currently a hardware prototype, and therefore does not yet run any software, Polytron claims its “Switchable Glass” technology could be launched to consumers by the end of 2013. It features a touchscreen on both sides of the device, raising new possibilities for mobile design.
The conductive OLED display uses liquid crystal molecules to show images. Without power, the molecules appear cloudy, but electric current allows them to align to form images. Electric current is carried through transparent wires.
Previous ‘transparent’ phones, such as Sony’s Xperia Pureness, which launched in 2009, have not managed to appear as see-through as the new Polytron device. Although its sim card, batteries and SD card are not yet transparent, almost the entirety of the rest of the phone is. Polytron says it will use darker glass to obscure those components it cannot fix when it goes into production.
Polytron general manager Sam Yu told The Verge the device was still in development, and said the firm is already in serious discussions with "major smartphone makers" across the US, Europe, Japan, and South Korea.
Industry analysts told The Verge that the success of Polytron's prototype, or any transparent device, will ultimately hinge upon whether its display offers more than mere novelty value.
"Display quality is paramount," said Avi Greengart, research director at Current Analysis. "If the display quality is not up to par with the best of today’s AMOLED and LCD screens, a phone using it won’t sell even for its novelty value."