Samsung has won the race to be the first phone manufacturer this fall to launch a curved smartphone.
The device resembles the Galaxy S3 and S4, but it has slight dip in the middle that causes the phone to curve along a vertical axis. The phone's body itself is rigid, so it doesn't actually flex or bend -- but rather has a stationary curve that is said to fit the contours of a person's face. The company said the curvature lets people controls their apps, music, and photos in a new way.
"As a result of its unique curved design, 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," Samsung said in a statement.
"When the Galaxy Round's display is off while the music player is running, a short press to the left of the device will play the previous track while a short press to the right will play the next track. For pictures and videos, the Side Mirror feature enables users to gain access to list of the album content with a left and right tilt."
The Galaxy Round has a 5.7-inch, 1080p screen with an HD Super AMOLED display. The device is 7.9mm thick, weighs 154g, and has a 2800mAh battery. It runs Android 4.3, has 3GB of RAM, and a 2.3GHz quad-core processor. The smartphone also has a 13-megapixel camera.
The product release comes as Samsung faces a slowdown in its core smartphone market. This means the company must find other ways to wow buyers and get them to pay for new devices. A curved display could be one factor that attracts those consumers.
Curved displays, however, are not an entirely new concept. Nokia and Apple have reportedly been working on curved displays for years, and LG apparently plans to launch a curved smartphone dubbed the G Flex within a few weeks.
The Galaxy Round will first launch in South Korea in "luxury brown," and more colors are forthcoming. It's not yet clear when the company plans to launch the smartphone internationally.
Clarification at 4:30 a.m. October 9: References to "flexible" have been removed to eliminate confusion. The underlying display is flexible, but the phone is still rigid.