News

Samsung launches world’s first curved-screen smartphone

Samsung launches world’s first curved-screen smartphone

CURVED PHONE: The new Galaxy Round, the world’s first curved display smartphone is shown. With high anticipation for mobile devices with a flexible screen, Samsung Electronics says it is releasing a smartphone with a curved display in South Korea. Samsung said Wednesday the Galaxy Round has a 5.7-inch OLED screen with a vertical concave. It said the curve makes the device an easy grip despite its size. Photo: Associated Press

SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Wednesday launched the world’s first smartphone with a curved display, a variant of the Galaxy Note which moves the Asian giant a step closer to achieving wearable devices with flexible – even unbreakable – screens.

Curved displays are on the frontlines of Samsung’s innovation war with rivals such as Apple Inc and LG Electronics Inc, as the South Korean firm seeks to expand its lead in the slowing market for high-end smartphones.

“It’s a step forward for having unbreakable gadgets and flexible devices eventually. But for now, the new phone is more of a symbolic product,” said Hana Daetoo Securities analyst Nam Dae-jong, adding that Samsung did not yet have capacity for large-scale production of curved touch-screens for the new Galaxy Round.

The Galaxy Round is Samsung’s attempt to gauge consumer appetite for curved phones although its lack of other eye-catching features means it is unlikely to be a hit, he said.

“I don’t think it’ll be massively compelling enough for gadget buyers as … the curved display doesn’t come with many unique features,” he said.

The Galaxy Round’s 5.7-inch (14.4-centimetre) display has a slight horizontal curve and weighs less than the Galaxy Note 3, allowing a more comfortable grip than other flat-screen models on the market, Samsung said in a statement.

Its key features include a tilt function which allows users to check information such as missed calls and battery life, even when the home screen is off. Users can also scroll through media files by pressing the screen’s right or left, the company said.

The phone initially would be available only in South Korea and no decision had been made about releasing it in other markets.

DESIGN CHALLENGES

Curved displays open up possibilities for bendable designs that could eventually transform the high-end smartphone market, where growth has slowed amid competition from low-end producers.

Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch released last month has a flat screen, but the company is hoping to have the technology to make more attractive and wearable devices in what is shaping as a key battleground for consumer electronics companies.

Technology firms have yet to figure out how to cheaply mass produce the parts and come up with display panels that can be thin and heat-resistant. Batteries also have to take new forms to support flexible screens that can be rolled out, attached to uneven surfaces or even stretched. The battery in the Galaxy Round is not curved, Samsung said.

Competition is heating up with Samsung’s cross-town rival LG Electronics planning to introduce a smartphone with a vertically curved display in the first week of November, a source familiar with the matter said this week.

Its components affiliate, LG Chem Ltd, said on Tuesday it had started commercial production of a curved battery for use in the device.

The firm also said it has developed a battery in cable form, suitable for wearable devices, and expected to start commercial production within the next couple of years.

Technology analysts and media reports say Apple is working on a smartwatch, potentially with a curved screen, but there has been no word from the California-based company about its plans.

Samsung’s new curved-screen phone, available through South Korea’s biggest mobile carrier SK Telecom Co Ltd, costs 1.089 million won ($1,000).

Recent Headlines

in National, World

Plane debris on remote island points to breakthrough in MH370 mystery

Fresh
planecrash

Plane debris washed up on the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean is almost certainly part of a Boeing 777, a Malaysian official and aviation experts said, potentially the biggest breakthrough in the search for missing Flight MH370.

in Viral Videos

This is one way to get out of bed in the morning

Fresh
17-overlay13

This is a lot of effort to go to, but it makes ignoring the alarm clock nearly impossible.

in National, World

Killing of Cecil the lion triggers probe by U.S. agency

Fresh
cecilthelion

The killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe by American dentist and trophy hunter Walter Palmer is being investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to see if it was part of a conspiracy to violate U.S. laws against illegal wildlife trading.

in Sports

Deflategate judge tells NFL, players: Don’t argue. Settle

Fresh
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady speaks at a news conference in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 as he addresses the issue of the NFL investigation of deflated footballs.

Tom Brady's effort to void his four-game suspension was set back on Thursday as litigation embroiling the New England Patriots star quarterback was sent to a New York judge, who urged a speedy resolution to the "Deflategate" scandal.

in National

Rare blue moon to light night sky on Friday

Fresh
13-overlay18

It will be all eyes to the sky as a rare moon makes its appearance.