Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Samsung introduces the first curved-screened smartphone, the Galaxy Round

Last month, a Samsung exec said the company would unveil the first smartphone with a curved display in October, and on Tuesday, the company got around to it (pun intended), as it introduced the Galaxy Round.

The phone has the same 5.7-inch screen size as the company's new Galaxy Note 3 device, but unlike that device the Galaxy Round curves along its vertical axis, similar to some of Samsung's OLED TVs.

It's still not clear what the advantage of a curved display will be as currently implemented -- there has been a lot of talk about how flexible displays could advance tech, but this is a smartphone with a curved display. Still, Samsung showed off what it calls the "Roll Effect" (embedded), which enables users to check things like the date, time, missed calls and battery let easily, when the home screen is off (see embedded video).

Additionally, Samsung noted the "Gravity Effect," which isn't simply how the device reacts to being dropped. Instead, the Bounce UX, as it's called, turns on music player shortcuts even when the screen is off. Additionally, pressing one side of the screen plays the previous track; pressing the other sides plays the next track.

It sounds logical, but could be confusing until folks get the hang of it.

Spec-wise, in addition to the device's 5.7-inch screen, it sports the same a 2.3 GHz MSM 8974 quad-core processor, 32GB (not 16GB) of internal storage, an up-to-64GB microSD card slot for expansion, and 3GB of RAM. It also comes with a 2,800mAh battery.

The Galaxy Round has a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus and flash, along with a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. We'd expect 1080p HD video capture, standard on higher-end Samsung smartphones, and these specs mirror the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3.

It will ship with the latest version of Android, 4.3.

When can you buy the Galaxy Round? Well, first you have to get over to Korea, as that is currently the only country that Samsung has confirmed will sell the device -- in Luxury Brown. Samsung scheduled a release for Oct. 9 with pricing set for 1.09 million won (or about $1,013).

More colors are said to be coming soon, but no details of an international launch have been made available.

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