Samsung launches world's first smartphone with curved screen

SEOUL: 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.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have been able to purchase batting replacements for the loss of Michael Hussey and spin reinforcements in the form of Samuel Badree. They appear… More »

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »