Samsung launches world's first curved-screen smartphone

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Samsung launches world's first curved-screen smartphone

Meet the Galaxy Round.

Samsung has launched a new variant of its Galaxy Note smartphone, and the world's first with a curved display.

The Galaxy Round's 5.7in display has a slight horizontal curve and weighs less than the Galaxy Note 3, allowing a more comfortable grip than other flat-screen models on the market, Samsung said in a statement.

Its key features include a tilt function which allows users to check information such as missed calls and battery life, even when the home screen is off. Users can also scroll through media files by pressing the screen's right or left, the company said.

The phone initially would be available only in South Korea and no decision had been made about releasing it in other markets.

Design challenges

Curved displays open up possibilities for bendable designs that could eventually transform the high-end smartphone market, where growth has slowed amid competition from low-end producers.

Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch released last month has a flat screen, but the company is hoping to have the technology to make more attractive and wearable devices in what is shaping as a key battleground for consumer electronics companies.

Technology firms have yet to figure out how to cheaply mass produce the parts and come up with display panels that can be thin and heat-resistant. Batteries also have to take new forms to support flexible screens that can be rolled out, attached to uneven surfaces or even stretched. The battery in the Galaxy Round is not curved, Samsung said.

Competition is heating up with Samsung's cross-town rival LG Electronics planning to introduce a smartphone with a vertically curved display in the first week of November, a source familiar with the matter said this week.

Its components affiliate, LG Chem, said it had started commercial production of a curved battery for use in the device.

The firm also said it has developed a battery in cable form, suitable for wearable devices, and expected to start commercial production within the next couple of years.

Technology analysts and media reports say Apple is working on a smartwatch, potentially with a curved screen, but there has been no word from the California-based company about its plans.

Samsung's new curved-screen phone costs 1.089 million won (A$984).

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