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October 09, 2013

Samsung Launches GALAXY ROUND in South Korea - First Curved Display Smartphone

Just the other day we wrote a story introducing the new world of the curved mobile device display. And late last night on the East Coast, we received a missive that Samsung has officially launched the world's first curved display smartphone. We'll certainly give Samsung a nod to being first out the door with such a thing, that's for sure. The company has put an exclamation point at the end of our original curved display story.

In truth, the entire release cycle started when well-known leak website Evileak released the image shown below yesterday.

Perhaps Samsung decided that the secret jig was up and opted to move forward with an announcement before any further leaks would perhaps serve to dampen its own reveal. That seems plausible - the release came out of the blue - not the usual manner in which such devices are announced. We have to wonder if Samsung was concerned about leaks damping and tamping down what the company clearly hopes is a new vehicle for trumpeting Samsung as the leader and true innovator in the mobile device space.

In any case, early in the morning in South Korea on Oct. 9, 2013, the company officially announced and introduced to the world at large the Galaxy Round. In the process the company described itself as "a mobile display innovator" delivering a "pioneering curved display technology." The company has essentially delivered what we would consider the most basic type of curved screen display - one that curves vertically - much as a curved TV display does. Clearly the company believes it needs to pointedly market this sense of innovator and pioneer as new and overt brand values.

Although the display is "flexible," it is attached to a rigid if never the less curved body - exactly as we've anticipated these first curved displays to manifest themselves. In truth we'd actually expected something a bit different from Samsung (as we noted in our earlier article highlighted above) on the curved display front, but the Galaxy Round is the first to be announced as a real product and that is worth some credit. It is shown below in a non-leaked photo.

The Galaxy Round may be curved but is sure isn't small! It delivers a 5.7” Full HD Super AMOLED display in the typically sleek and thin Samsung mold of its other Galaxy mobile devices. It is only 7.9mm thick and weighs in at 154 grams. Does this mean that the Galaxy Round delivers a "comfortable hand grip feeling to the user and exclusive experiences of curved displays," as Samsung claims? Who knows? Our own very first question is, if you put it in a pocket, will those 5.7 inches bulge out or nicely conform to one's thigh? What about in a shirt or back pocket?

In addition to the "unique curved design" - which is the innovation here - Samsung begins to pile on the usual collection of what sound like gimmicks to us. For example, Samsung claims that "users can take advantage of round integration experiences like the Roll Effect that enables user to check information such as date, time, missed call and battery easily when home screen is off, and the Gravity Effect for creating visual interaction with the screen by tilting the device."

You have to love these features, right? Roll Effect and Gravity Effect are further aided by the "Side Mirror" feature that will enable users to gain access to lists of the album content with a left and right tilt.

Samsung notes that the Galaxy Round is available in Korea (we assume they mean South Korea) with Luxury Brown, with more colors arriving in the near future. We will also note that Samsung has the following notice in place as well:

 “All functionality, features, specifications, and other product information provided in this document including, but not limited to, the benefits, design, pricing, components, performance, availability, and capabilities of the product are subject to change without notice or obligation."

Below are listed Samsung's official current specifications for the Galaxy Round. Yes, it sounds like a description of the Galaxy S4 - which is certainly a good thing.

  • Network: LTE 150/50M bps
  • Processor: MSM 8974 (Quad Krait 2.3 GHz)
  • Display: 5.7” Full HD Super Flexible AMOLED
  • Memory: 32 GB + microSD (up to 64GB)
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Camera: 13 MP AF w/Flash + 2MP
  • Camera Modes: Drama Shot, Sound & Shot, Animated Photo, Eraser, Best Photo, Best Face, Beauty Face, HDR (High Dynamic Range), Panorama, Sports, Golf, Surround shot, Live effect
  • OS: Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean)
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, WiFi Direct, BT 4.0 (BLE), USB 3.0, GPS+GLONASS, NFC
  • Security: Safety Assistance and Samsung KNOX
  • Dimensions: 151.1?79.6?7.9mm, 154g
  • Battery: 2,800mAh
  • Additional Features: Group Play: Share Music, Share Picture, Share Video, Share Document, Play Games Story Album, S Translator, Samsung Smart Scroll, Samsung Smart Pause, Air Gesture, Air View, Samsung Apps, Samsung Hub, ChatON (Voice/Video Call, Share screen, 3-way calling), Samsung WatchON, S Voice Hands Free, S Health, Samsung Adapt Display, Samsung Adapt Sound, Auto adjust touch sensitivity (Glove friendly), Samsung Link, Screen Mirroring

That's it. Certainly the introduction strikes us as rushed, but it is now out there. The nature of the curve is interesting - it obviously curves the wrong way for a smartwatch, but it certainly leads us to believe the next iteration of the Galaxy Gear will come with a curved display for the wrist.

We'll have more when we know more.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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