A bowl shaped smartphone is not something you would envision way back in 2003, even the iPhone was not yet commercial by then; now ten years down the road we have LG and Samsung practically struggling to convince us that curved screens are the way to go. Early this month Samsung announced the first ever curved display smartphone that they gave a ridiculous name–Galaxy round!! Seriously? Essentially its nothing more than a Galaxy Note 3 that shows off a really cool display with no S-Pen and costs $1000, yes you read right; that’s one freakin’ thousand dollars. It’s clear the latest Galaxy round commercial show us that Samsung is still confused on how best to market the phone. All the objects they show in the ad don’t reflect what their product actually is.
Most geeks had a glorified view of what a flexible display would bring
For those wondering why this curved Galaxy note 3 doesn’t have an s-pen, its because since the OLED panel is curved and the Wac-com digitizer on the actual Note 3 is not and cannot be bent at least in its current form, Samsung couldn’t pull
it off. You never know may be a year or two down the road we could see it happen.
Lets ask the question that is on everyone’s mind. Is the curved form factor useful at all? What kind of uses could we get out of such devices? Most of the discussion i have heard revolves around how useless this kind of form factor is. Yes we are geeks and love new ideas and innovations, but when we have the curved screen phone finally hitting reality, then we start to shun the idea.
This was the root cause, most geeks had a glorified view of what a flexible display would bring, there were a lot of concepts and renders back in 2011, when Samsung was first rumored to have a flexible display in the works and people would keep imagining a smartwatch that was a phone wrapped around your wrist. Even our previous feature article dubbed “we have seen the future of smartphones” contained a lot of curved screen smartphones. After years of rumors and concepts like that you end up seeing the first flexible display phone is just a rigid phone with a slightly curved display is kind of disappointing.
Is there anything special we could do with these curved screen displays?
Don’t get me wrong, this a good start but don’t expect a massive number of people to buy into this concept and I also think think Samsung does either perhaps that’s why we seeing the price point at $ 1000 and its only hitting Korean at the moment. And the reason for this is simple Samsung just wants to throw it out there because they want to be first since they knew that LG was cooking up a similar product.
Is there anything special we could do with these curved screen displays and will people actually find them of interest? Samsung has the R&D budget to throw out any kind of phone form factor to see if it will stick just like they did for the Original Galaxy Note phone and recently the Galaxy Mega. For me i think the only positives we shall get out of these bended smartphones is the unique ergonomics that brings a fresh breathe into the usual boring rectangular parallelepiped shaped phones. The problem with these large phones is one handed use and i guess with Samsung’s form factor of curved screen display you could probably use it with one hand we are yet to see.
The harsh fact is that i won’t get sucked into this latest gimmick
I guess the hard thing is that most people have not played around with these curved screens and this is the one thing that Samsung and LG need to do if they want to encourage this form factor is to avail it to the mass market as soon as possible. They need to show exactly what those benefits are especially in a commercial clearly showing us what we can do with it just the way Apple did back in the day with the original iPhone. A lot of the iPhone’s success was attributed to its inspiring commercials and the marketing efforts that went into it where people could actually see why they needed to buy the iPhone.
The last crude video from Samsung that showcased the roll-effect of what the Galaxy round could do, was super compressed with 18 seconds of “what did I just watch? ” It’s a cool concept which will force you to look at your phone in landscape all the time if that is your kind of thing. But an average person won’t use their phone in landscape. The harsh fact is that i won’t get sucked into this latest gimmick, now that i have seen the commercial concepts Samsung and LG have come out with. Well at least that’s my status for now.
For now i think these curved screen phones are a beta test kind of thing and a geek status symbol.