Samsung Launches Galaxy Round, the World’s First Curved Display Smartphone

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Wednesday launched a variant of the popular Galaxy Note smartphone with a curved display, moving a step closer to introducing wearable devices with flexible screens.

Samsung has been a mobile display innovator by introducing color TFT-LCD, AMOLED, and Super AMOLED flexible display for its mobile product. Photo: Samsung Tomorrow

Samsung Electronics introduced Galaxy Round, the world’s first curved display smartphone, to be available October 10th in Korea.

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 1080p (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, mobile carrier SK Telecom Co Ltd said in a statement. Powered by a 2.3GHz quad-core processor, the Galaxy Round has a 13 megapixel camera and 3GB RAM.

Samsung plans to use the curved surface of the phone to enhance motions-activated actions that already exist by tilting the phone to quickly glance on information such as missed calls, time etc.

Users can also scroll through media files by pressing the screen’s right or left, the company said.  It means that when the Galaxy Round’s display is off while the music player is running, a short press to the left of the device will play the previous track while a short press to the right will play the next track. Obviously, the curved shape is supposed to make the grip more comfortable

The device enables enhanced multitasking capabilities that allow users to fully utilize the larger screen through Multi Window, a feature that enables users to open more than one application on the screen, run simultaneous multiple instances of the same application or to easily share content between applications, reports Samsung Tomorrow.

Curiously, it looks pretty different to the curved-screen prototype smartphone that Samsung displayed at CES earlier this year – if the Galaxy Round is facing down, there’s no way to peek at notifications without flipping it over.

The phone initially would be available only in South Korea and no decision had been made about releasing it in other markets. Samsung’s new phone, available through South Korea’s biggest mobile carrier SK Telecom, costs 1.089 million won ($1,000).

Samsung Galaxy Round is available with Luxury Brown, and more colors will be available soon.

However, the company might have some problems with the sale of its new products in the US, as the US President has decided not to grant a South Korean company the same favor it granted an American company.

In a statement released today, Obama’s designee, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, told listeners that: “After carefully weighing policy considerations, including the impact on consumers and competition, advice from agencies, and information from interested parties, I have decided to allow” the import ban.

Not all Samsung handsets are affected by the ban. Newer models like the Galaxy S4 have incorporated approved design-around technologies to circumvent Apple’s patents.

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