I almost wrote a post about how the iPhone was the start of something I wrote about MFDs (Multi-function devices) and how your mobile phone will slowly morph into one back in May 2005. I didn't write about it because the iPhone is still a long way off.
Somewhat more quietly though, Polymer Vision launched the Readius (crap name) recently, and it's due to go on sale in Italy later this year. While it isn't a phone, it's billed as a PDA, electronic book and music player, but, most notably, it features a flexible LED screen that unrolls to 12.7cm (5in) across. The high-contrast black and white screen is as readable as printed paper, or so the makers claim.
Now we're getting there. It only does black and white right now, but they're hoping to have a colour screen able to handle moving images out soon. It's small, and it's not there yet, but the Readius is starting to show the characteristics of what all mobile devices will become in the future, I believe. The iPhone only sports a 3.5" screen, and the whole device is 4.5 inches long (115 x 61 x 11.6mm). The Readius closed dimensions are only 100 mm x 55.6 mm x 21 mm. Having said that, it's heavier and doesn't match the iPhone on features yet, but it's early days and I think you'll see more devices with roll-out screens, especially when they incorporate touch screen technology.