Samsung plans to introduce a smartphone with a curved display screen, an executive of the South Korean company said Wednesday.
D.J. Lee, Samsung’s head of mobile marketing, made the announcement at an event in Seoul to roll out the Galaxy Gear smartwatch and Galaxy Note 3 smartphone.
He said the phone would be available in October, presumably with a limited release in South Korea.
Unfortunately, that’s about all the detail he provided — no exact release date, no details on the design, no price and no word on where it will be available.
Curved screens are a rarity among smartphones, which typically feature flat, rectangular displays. But Samsung has been tinkering with next-generation screens for a while. Early this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the company showed off prototypes of a line of flexible display screens it calls YOUM.
“This new form factor will really begin to change how people interact with their devices and open up new lifestyle possibilities,” Brian Berkeley, senior vice president of Samsung’s display lab, said at the January event. “And it’s only going to get better.”
In a video, they teased a smartphone with a bendable screen that opens up into a smallish tablet.
Berkeley also demonstrated how a phone display screen that’s curved along its edges would open up exponentially more space for viewing content.
A bendable, plastic display screen could also be virtually unbreakable, although it’s unclear whether the new phone — which could be a version of the new Galaxy Note 3 — would be plastic or some sort of step along the way.
Samsung has made a Rolls Royce of a television, the $9,000, 55-inch KN55S9C, with a curved screen. And Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone, released in 2011, had a slight curve to its screen. But the new model will presumably take the concept further.
“I’m expecting the company to aim for an even more extreme curve with its next phone,” Devindra Hardawar wrote for VentureBeat. “With its large-screen Galaxy Note lineup, Samsung has shown that it isn’t afraid to step into slightly oddball territory. The Note also proves those gambles can pay off for Samsung.”
A curved screen would also boost Samsung’s status as a leader on the mobile innovation front. Samsung Galaxy phones have outsold Apple’s iPhone during various periods over the past year, as Apple has been dinged by critics who say the company’s phones are no longer breaking new ground.
There were similar criticisms of the newly released iPhone 5S, which was viewed by many as a baby step forward, although reviews of the device have been mostly raves, and it sold a record-setting 9 million units in its first weekend on the market.