Today, the barrier between smartphone and Pringles chip has become slightly thinner. Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy Round, a 5.7-inch AMOLED display'd handset with a slight lengthwise curve. The phone will go on sale in South Korea beginning next week. There's no official word on availability for any other markets.
Rumors of a curved-display phone from Samsung have been bouncing around for a few weeks. The Galaxy Round is in many ways a curved version of the Galaxy Note 3, which both boast the same screen size. Additionally, the Round is very similar specwise to its flatter cousin, though it weighs in slightly more anemic (7.9 mm thick and 154 grams versus 8.3 mm and 168 grams) and boasts a slightly less brawny battery (only 2800mAh versus the Note's 3200mAh).
All about the UI
Samsung's TV division has already made use of curved screens, which present the viewer with a more immersive experience. Due to a phone's comparatively diminutive size and the length-wise orientation of the curve, immersion is less of a selling point for the Round than a new take on UI. The Round boasts a new functionality that Samsung has dubbed "The Roll Effect," which allows users to check information on their sleeping phone by merely tipping it on its back as seen in the video below:
Using the same functionality, users can interact with the phone in different ways by pressing down on either side. In effect, the curved design adds two new buttons to the device by pressing down on either the left or right side when it is laying on its back.
The curve is slight enough that if a user's hands and pockets can handle the Galaxy Note, they should also easily handle the Round. While the Round's design may not appear to be Earth shattering, it does mark the beginning of elite mobile manufacturers experimenting with new form factors featuring curved--and even bendable --touchscreen devices. Who knows? Perhaps a similar technology may even find its way into an impoved future version of Galaxy Gear.