Samsung Electronics' long-rumored curved smartphone was made official Wednesday as the South Korean technology superstar announced its Galaxy Round with curved display. This is Samsung's opportunity to go on record as presenting the world's first curved-display smartphone, which will be released in South Korea on Thursday.
The design includes a concave screen for easy grip despite its supersize.
The 5.7-inch "full HD Super AMOLED screen" touted in the press release refers to a display technology using active-matrix organic light-emitting diodes. OLED describes a type of thin-film-display technology while active matrix refers to the addressing of pixels. The big deal with AMOLED over OLED is that AMOLED displays have faster pixel switching response times. AMOLED pixels turn on and off faster, making these displays ideal for full-motion video.
Obviously, curves are nice but a curved design may hardly suffice as a game-changing smartphone experience. So what has been all this talk about curves and why should we care?
For Foldables, Dream On
Technology optimists see the Galaxy Round arrival as proof that the glass is half full, while pessimists point at the Round as a glass disappointingly half empty. The crux of the matter is in the word "bendable." Display technology is moving toward the rollable, bendable mobile device showcased at tech events but yet to materialize as products on the shelves.
You won't be able to fold the Galaxy Round and stick it in your pocket but the curved display does signify curved-screen progress and takes us closer to that day of truly innovative flexible, rollable devices going mainstream. The curved display is a first step to breakthroughs to come.
Another obvious point is that a new Samsung phone product cannot possibly sell on curved shape alone. Samsung's Galaxy Round has features that mitigate the disappointment of no-bending, replaced with the ability to roll, tilt and press.
The new phone's Roll Effect enables user to check information such as date, time, missed call and battery status when the home screen is off.
Tilting the phone, which Samsung calls the Gravity Effect, is for creating visual interaction with the screen. A Side Mirror feature enables users to gain access to a list of content of photos and videos with a left and right tilt.
Ready for Thursday
When the Galaxy Round's music player is running but the display is off, a user can press the left of the device to play the previous track and a press to the right to play the next track.
Availability is in South Korea only. The Galaxy Round will come in Luxury Brown only, but more colors will be made available soon. Customers will be asked to pay approximately $1,003 without a two-year contract. Mobile operators SK Telecom will sell the device.
Still, if even a tilt or press features elicits yawns for some, analysts have their eye on the Galaxy Round as a marker of innovations in flexible display devices yet to come, as part of a bigger Internet of Things.
To date, South Korea is where the action is in digital display news. Samsung rival LG is in the race, too, with its LG Display announcing that it will start mass production of the flexible OLED panel for smartphones and LG Chem announcing the production of curved batteries.