Want a curved phone? That's what Samsung Electronics, apparently developing every conceivable form factor in the
market, will release next month.
The announcement came Wednesday at an event in Seoul, South Korea, for the launch of the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone. The company's head of strategic marketing for mobile, D.J. Lee, said that Samsung plans "to introduce a smartphone with a curved display in South Korea in October." The curved phone will reportedly be a version of the Note 3.
The handset maker, currently No. 1 in the world, has been working on curved and bendable screens for some time, occasionally showing them as works in progress. Most recently, the company showed several prototype products at a trade show in January that featured flexible or curved displays. In May, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reported that Samsung had been granted a patent for a smartphone with a curved display.
Bendable or Fixed?
The curved screens will be plastic, OLED displays, but no other has been released. It is not known, for instance, if the screens in this first wave of curved products will be bendable or fixed.
Some analysts have speculated that the curve could make the phone more flexible or more rugged, as well as increase available screen space by, say, wrapping around a wrist as a watch might. Instead of a flat and hard screen extending in a rectangle beyond a user's wrist, it could curve with the arm's shape. A curved screen could represent the next iteration of Samsung's incipient smart watch line, released earlier this month with the Galaxy Gear.
While Samsung and others, such as LG Electronics, have started selling expensive, $9,000-plus TV sets with curved OLED screens, implementing curved screens in small mobile devices has reportedly been blocked by the cost of large-scale manufacturing.
The Fashion Angle
Ted Schadler, an analyst with industry research firm Forrester, told us that innovations in smartphones have been thought of in terms of functions and features, but now we've entered an era when "innovation will come from personal preferences and styles," and a curved screen could become a new fashion item.
As for the possibility of a bendable screen, Schadler questioned its value, pointing out that "bendability doesn't add value" to any devices one uses every day, except perhaps for a watch that bends the screen to fit comfortably around the wrist.
He added that we have now reached the latest stage in smartphones' evolution, where they have achieved the "dominant design of a touchscreen slab." This possible end state follows previous dominant designs of a flip phone or a BlackBerry-like device. With the form factor having been largely settled upon, and features/functions having coalesced around the key ones, Schadler said, competitive differences at this point will tend to focus on style.
If curved smartphones do indeed catch on, curved or bendable screen designs might also be applied to other products, such as tablets or even laptops. In any event, it appears we may have reached the end of the square or rectangular hard screen.
Posted: 2013-09-29 @ 7:55am PT
I am waiting for samsung curved glass phones.