The jury is still out on whether curved smartphones will be the next big thing for mobiles - in fact, the jury hasn’t even had a hands-on with said smartphones yet - but this hasn’t stopped manufacturers powering on ahead, with LG officially announcing their new G Flex after weeks of leaks.
The 6-inch smartphone incorporates a flexible OLED screen that curves from top to bottom so that it will “follow the contour of the face”.
LG are claiming that the design “reduces the distance between one's mouth to the microphone when the device is held against the ear, as traditional telephone handsets used to” and that the “ curvature arc [is] optimized for the average face”.
They are also say that the direction of the curve makes the G Flex better for viewing movies on, for much the same reasons that curved TVs are said to improve 'viewing immersion': the curve of the displays means that the edges of the image are as close to the eyes as the centre is.
All of this seems targeted at rival manufactures Samsung, who have recently launched their own curved-screen design in the form of the Galaxy Round (see below for the latest advert for the Round). However, whilst LG’s offering curves top to bottom, Samsung’s device curves from side to side. Which option will be more user-friendly (if either is) has yet to be seen.
Like LG’s high-end G2 smartphone, the G Flex also positions its buttons on the back (including the lock screen switch and volume rocker) with the rest of the hardware specs filling out as you’d expect for a high-end device. There’s a 2.26 GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel camera on the rear and a 2-megapixel camera on the front. The device runs Android 4.2.2 and also includes LTE connectivity.
However, LG have also included one other surprising feature, claiming that the G Flex has a “self healing” coating on the back of the phone that has the capacity “to recover from the daily wear-and-tear scratches and nicks that un-cased smartphones are likely to receive”.
Whether or not this miraculous-sounding design will live up to these claims remains to be seen, and on the face of it seems that the smartphone marketing wars might be giving up any pretence of actual truthfulness in favour of outright lies. Self-healing polymers certainly exist but they usually take hours to repair themselves, and this is under laboratory conditions.
Unfortunately, we might be waiting a while to find out the truth of the matter as the international release for the G Flex has yet to be announced, though the handset will be made available in LG's native South Korea from next month.