If you long for simpler times—say, the early aughts, when hanging up your mobile device involved a mere flick of the wrist—a recent announcement from one tech giant may be the update you've been waiting for. Samsung’s “Project Valley” doesn’t “flip” exactly—instead, its plastic display "folds” like a notebook. The company promised to have its first foldable devices ready in 2016, and the latest industry rumors are predicting the release for as early as January.

The concept device being developed under the code-name “Project Valley” uses a transparent touch screen interface like any other smartphone, only this one's made with super thin, flexible plastic that doesn’t shatter like glass. Samsung has been showing off their bendable screen technology for years. At 2013’s Consumer Electronics Show, Samsung executives demonstrated the OLED screens by bending them in front of a live audience. 

Microsoft was almost the first company to infiltrate the flexible touch screen market when it designed the bendable Courier tablet to compete with the iPad. That project was scrapped in 2010, and now Samsung is set to finally break into this otherwise uncharted territory. 

After the announcement of the iPhone 6S, many experts believed that smartphone technology had reached a plateau. When it comes to the future of smartphones, designers may end up taking a cue from the not-so-distant past. Perhaps the next big innovation will involve updating the brick with a touch screen

[h/t: Popular Science