Some come from the desks of design firms. Others come from the minds of people who know their way around Photoshop and have a little too much free time on their hands. But these concepts certainly got us thinking about the future of mobile phones.

We probably won't be getting our hands on any of them for a few years, but most of them contain a kernel of an idea that could make its way into the mainstream, such as OLED displays and pico projectors.

Snake phone

Having a phone that can wrap around your wrist or arm could be useful, especially if you're prone to losing things.

But that doesn't mean anyone would want the snake phone, created by Product Visionaires, curled around their entire arm. Imagine unwrapping one of these things if you get a call.

Yikes! Shrink the design down to a manageable size, and this phone would probably be a hit with people who frequent the gym.

Image: Product Visionaires

Kyocera Kinetic OLED mobile phone

The Kyocera kinetic-energy-powered concept phone unfolds from a wallet-shaped, pocket-friendly device into a widescreen OLED display.

The phone sports a physical keyboard that pretty much goes away when not in use. The keys are inset into the frame of the phone. Just start typing, and - like magic--the keyboard emerges from the phone's skin.

We don't know what kind of battery this phone is supposed to use, but it's probably epic.

Image: Kyocera

NEXT PAGE: Hidden displays and the Nokia Morph

  1. Could your mobile look like this in the future?
  2. Hidden displays and the Nokia Morph
  3. Bend in Touch and Transformer phone
  4. A glass phone and a Windows phone
  5. The camera-projector-printer and the separating handset
  6. The Pebble phone and the Radia
  7. Melding phones with humans and the O2 Mobile phone
  8. The Touch Wood project and a hockey-puck concept phone
  9. Buzz Lightyear, eat your heart out and Fan-made PSP takes the gaming cake
  10. F-Circle and the Sony Ericsson concept phone

From snake phones to handsets that look like hockey pucks, these hopelessly impractical devices are the coolest-looking phones you'll never want to own.

Hidden displays

In another take on the flexibility of OLED, some concepts point toward using rollable displays to create small phones with large screen sizes.

This one, designed by Tao Ma, was apparently inspired by one of humankind's finer creations: the D battery.

Image: Tao Ma

Nokia Morph

When Nokia conceptualised the Morph mobile phone, it wanted to show how nanotechnology could radically change portable electronics.

The Morph is made of transparent and flexible material, is self-cleaning, and includes nano-sensors that can learn from the environment.

In one example, Nokia suggests that the nano-sensors would be able to detect airborne threats and alert users to them.

The Morph, as its name suggests, would also change form, the company says: "Using the same principle behind spider silk, this elasticity enables the device to literally change shapes and configure itself to adapt to the task at hand."

Nokia has a video posted to YouTube that delves into how the Morph works.

Image: Nokia

NEXT PAGE: Bend in Touch and Transformer phone

  1. Could your mobile look like this in the future?
  2. Hidden displays and the Nokia Morph
  3. Bend in Touch and Transformer phone
  4. A glass phone and a Windows phone
  5. The camera-projector-printer and the separating handset
  6. The Pebble phone and the Radia
  7. Melding phones with humans and the O2 Mobile phone
  8. The Touch Wood project and a hockey-puck concept phone
  9. Buzz Lightyear, eat your heart out and Fan-made PSP takes the gaming cake
  10. F-Circle and the Sony Ericsson concept phone

From snake phones to handsets that look like hockey pucks, these hopelessly impractical devices are the coolest-looking phones you'll never want to own.

Bend in Touch

Inside this touchscreen phone called Bend in Touch, Ukrainian designer Andy Kurovets places a pop-out display that nearly doubles the screen size of the device.

While one screen handles internet tasks, the second can display a video. The Bend in Touch also features a pop-out camera and flash.

Maybe instead of calling it the Bend in Touch, Kurovets should call his creation the Pop-Out Phone.

Image: Andy Kurovets

Transformer phone

There are Android phones and then there are alien phones, like this one modelled after a Transformer. This concept phone, created by Parkoz Hardware, is a must-see in action.

Put it this way: you wouldn't want this phone ringing on your bedside table in the middle of the night.

Image: Parkoz Hardware

NEXT PAGE: A glass phone and a Windows phone

  1. Could your mobile look like this in the future?
  2. Hidden displays and the Nokia Morph
  3. Bend in Touch and Transformer phone
  4. A glass phone and a Windows phone
  5. The camera-projector-printer and the separating handset
  6. The Pebble phone and the Radia
  7. Melding phones with humans and the O2 Mobile phone
  8. The Touch Wood project and a hockey-puck concept phone
  9. Buzz Lightyear, eat your heart out and Fan-made PSP takes the gaming cake
  10. F-Circle and the Sony Ericsson concept phone

From snake phones to handsets that look like hockey pucks, these hopelessly impractical devices are the coolest-looking phones you'll never want to own.

That's one glassy phone

Sure, semitransparent LCD screens aren't new - but a glass phone, like the one here dreamed up by Yanko Design, would offer more to see than just the wall behind your desk.

Then again, such designs look as if they would attract more smudges and fingerprints than a fish tank in a preschool.

Image: Yanko Design

Window phone

This Window Phone concept, from designer Seunghan Song, constantly "illustrates" the weather via the phone's user interface.

Seems a bit too weather-centric for my tastes.

Image: Yanko Design

NEXT PAGE: The camera-projector-printer and the separating handset

  1. Could your mobile look like this in the future?
  2. Hidden displays and the Nokia Morph
  3. Bend in Touch and Transformer phone
  4. A glass phone and a Windows phone
  5. The camera-projector-printer and the separating handset
  6. The Pebble phone and the Radia
  7. Melding phones with humans and the O2 Mobile phone
  8. The Touch Wood project and a hockey-puck concept phone
  9. Buzz Lightyear, eat your heart out and Fan-made PSP takes the gaming cake
  10. F-Circle and the Sony Ericsson concept phone

From snake phones to handsets that look like hockey pucks, these hopelessly impractical devices are the coolest-looking phones you'll never want to own.

The camera-projector-printer

Talk about multitasking phones. Meet designer Hideo Kanbara's phone, game controller, photo printer, and projector. When it comes to full-featured phones, this handset is tops.

Image: Barakan Design

Separating handset

This concept touchscreen phone, developed by NTT Docomo and Fujitsu, is called Separate Keitai.

It features a separate screen and keypad linked together via Bluetooth.

Magnets keep the two sides of the Separate Keitai together when they need to be.

Assuming that the microphone and speaker are connected to the keypad, a product like this could finally make it easy to look up a contact number for a friend while speaking with someone else.

The creators say the benefit of the phone is that it allows you to make a phone call and write an email at the same time.

Image: the Pebbles phone and the Radia

NEXT PAGE: The Pebble phone and the Radia

  1. Could your mobile look like this in the future?
  2. Hidden displays and the Nokia Morph
  3. Bend in Touch and Transformer phone
  4. A glass phone and a Windows phone
  5. The camera-projector-printer and the separating handset
  6. The Pebble phone and the Radia
  7. Melding phones with humans and the O2 Mobile phone
  8. The Touch Wood project and a hockey-puck concept phone
  9. Buzz Lightyear, eat your heart out and Fan-made PSP takes the gaming cake
  10. F-Circle and the Sony Ericsson concept phone

From snake phones to handsets that look like hockey pucks, these hopelessly impractical devices are the coolest-looking phones you'll never want to own.

Pebble phone: Blobby and mysterious

This device, dubbed the Pebble phone, first appeared at the tech trade show CEATEC 2009. The Fujitsu concept features a black blob encased in rounded glass.

Dragging the blob to different areas on the phone causes it to morph into different screens, including a keypad, a media player and a web browser.

It isn't clear what technology would power a phone like this, but I'm guessing Apple already has a patent on it.

Image: Engadget

Master chief's phone of the future

This concept phone, dubbed Radia, is a gorgeous, polished piece of - dare I say - art. The only problem is that it doesn't have much to offer in the phone department. And the circular display is pretty small for web browsing or watching videos.

The Radia looks as if it would work fine as a dialling device or as something to impress your fancy-pants friends with - but not much else.

Image: Laut Design

NEXT PAGE: Melding phones with humans and the O2 Mobile phone

  1. Could your mobile look like this in the future?
  2. Hidden displays and the Nokia Morph
  3. Bend in Touch and Transformer phone
  4. A glass phone and a Windows phone
  5. The camera-projector-printer and the separating handset
  6. The Pebble phone and the Radia
  7. Melding phones with humans and the O2 Mobile phone
  8. The Touch Wood project and a hockey-puck concept phone
  9. Buzz Lightyear, eat your heart out and Fan-made PSP takes the gaming cake
  10. F-Circle and the Sony Ericsson concept phone

From snake phones to handsets that look like hockey pucks, these hopelessly impractical devices are the coolest-looking phones you'll never want to own.

Melding phones with humans

With these concept phones that turn your hand or arm into a phone, you can forget about hands-free devices.

This concept by Yanko Design's Sunman Kwon is a wearable phone in which the keys are projected onto the user's fingers; to place a call, you must make the international symbol for the telephone.

The middle images are from industrial designer Jim Mielke and are of his Digital Tattoo Interface phones; these devices are implanted into your forearm and fuelled by the circulation of your blood.

And the phone on the right, designed by Biodomotica's Massimo Marrazzo, is always handy no matter what you're doing.

Image: Yanko Design, Jim Mielke, and Biodomotica

Hopefully not this

This monstrosity, known as the O2 Mobile phone, was inspired by the 'molecule esthetics' of the oxygen molecule and created by Tjep Design.

Other than the fact that it has a screen and a keypad, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this phone in no way resembles any phones of the future.

Image: Tjep Design

NEXT PAGE: The Touch Wood project and a hockey-puck concept phone

  1. Could your mobile look like this in the future?
  2. Hidden displays and the Nokia Morph
  3. Bend in Touch and Transformer phone
  4. A glass phone and a Windows phone
  5. The camera-projector-printer and the separating handset
  6. The Pebble phone and the Radia
  7. Melding phones with humans and the O2 Mobile phone
  8. The Touch Wood project and a hockey-puck concept phone
  9. Buzz Lightyear, eat your heart out and Fan-made PSP takes the gaming cake
  10. F-Circle and the Sony Ericsson concept phone

From snake phones to handsets that look like hockey pucks, these hopelessly impractical devices are the coolest-looking phones you'll never want to own.

Touch Wood - No, seriously

The Touch Wood project was developed as a partnership of NTT Docomo, Sharp, and Olympus, and is part of a reforestation effort.

Built of surplus wood from forest-thinning operations, this phone promises to be waterproof and bug-resistant while maintaining the texture and aroma of natural wood.

Phones like this would be great for tech-loving tree huggers who need to stay connected with friends and tweet about nature's splendor while protesting the latest logging operation.

Watch out for splinters.

Image: NTT Docomo

Cool design, no frills

Here's another hockey-puck concept phone. This one was designed by Jamie Lawrence for folks who don't care about anything besides using a phone as a phone.

This slider's two glossy halves separate to reveal a small touchscreen. A nice-looking, no-frills concept.

Image: The Design Blog

NEXT PAGE: Buzz Lightyear, eat your heart out and Fan-made PSP takes the gaming cake

  1. Could your mobile look like this in the future?
  2. Hidden displays and the Nokia Morph
  3. Bend in Touch and Transformer phone
  4. A glass phone and a Windows phone
  5. The camera-projector-printer and the separating handset
  6. The Pebble phone and the Radia
  7. Melding phones with humans and the O2 Mobile phone
  8. The Touch Wood project and a hockey-puck concept phone
  9. Buzz Lightyear, eat your heart out and Fan-made PSP takes the gaming cake
  10. F-Circle and the Sony Ericsson concept phone

From snake phones to handsets that look like hockey pucks, these hopelessly impractical devices are the coolest-looking phones you'll never want to own.

Buzz Lightyear, eat your heart out

This mammoth wearable phone looks as if it might be the mobile phone of choice for Iron Man. It has a lot of buttons - including a directional pad, a camera button, a keypad, and what looks like digital music controls - and a lot of screen real estate.

Akihabara News says the phone is called a 'Kora Bracelet Phone' and was reportedly made by Fujitsu.

Image: Akihabara News

Fan-made PSP takes the gaming cake

This concept phone, based on the popular Sony PlayStation Portable gaming system, appeared on Flickr courtesy of user BluezPS. This fictitious device, dubbed PSP Redesign, melds a gamepad with a touchscreen phone.

Though this phone may be a Photoshop fantasy, I like it. I hope Sony can learn a thing or two from this design when working on future phones and mobile gaming devices. (No UMDs, please!)

Image: BluezPS Flickr

NEXT PAGE: F-Circle and the Sony Ericsson concept phone

  1. Could your mobile look like this in the future?
  2. Hidden displays and the Nokia Morph
  3. Bend in Touch and Transformer phone
  4. A glass phone and a Windows phone
  5. The camera-projector-printer and the separating handset
  6. The Pebble phone and the Radia
  7. Melding phones with humans and the O2 Mobile phone
  8. The Touch Wood project and a hockey-puck concept phone
  9. Buzz Lightyear, eat your heart out and Fan-made PSP takes the gaming cake
  10. F-Circle and the Sony Ericsson concept phone

From snake phones to handsets that look like hockey pucks, these hopelessly impractical devices are the coolest-looking phones you'll never want to own.

F-Circle

This phone, designed by Yuji Ito and called the F-Circle, was made by Fujitsu and appeared at CEATAC Japan in 2009.

It obviously borrows from the rotary-phone aesthetic and melds that with a touchscreen. It's nice to look at, but what about practicality and ergonomics?

Image: Akihabara News

Just say 'hello' or 'cheese'

I hope Sony Ericsson someday makes this concept phone, which comes with the imaginary specs of an OLED display, a 3.2Mp camera, 2GB of storage, and an integrated FM tuner. I love the ultrasleek handset, and it offers a flip-down camera.

It has been three years since Sony Ericsson showed off the phone, so it's time to bring this product to market - or at least to update the make-believe specs and give the device a 10Mp camera.

Image: Sony Ericsson

See also: Analysis: the future of mobile phones revealed

  1. Could your mobile look like this in the future?
  2. Hidden displays and the Nokia Morph
  3. Bend in Touch and Transformer phone
  4. A glass phone and a Windows phone
  5. The camera-projector-printer and the separating handset
  6. The Pebble phone and the Radia
  7. Melding phones with humans and the O2 Mobile phone
  8. The Touch Wood project and a hockey-puck concept phone
  9. Buzz Lightyear, eat your heart out and Fan-made PSP takes the gaming cake
  10. F-Circle and the Sony Ericsson concept phone
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7gm1vkX9mA