Review: Curved phone falls flat, literally

Published on NewsOK Modified: October 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm •  Published: October 29, 2013

The second feature is music playback. You can skip to the next song or go back one by tapping the right or left corners of the display. This feature is useless when listening to music on the move.

All this points to the Galaxy Round being an experiment for Samsung and not a product meant to be sold widely.

Like the first generation of the Galaxy Gear, the wristwatch released last month that works in conjunction with some Samsung smartphones to display emails and other information, the Galaxy Round appears built to test its potential.

Samsung can afford to do this because the roaring success of its smartphones has endowed it with cash to burn.

Besides being the world's largest seller of smartphones, Samsung has a business designing and making display screens. It has its own manufacturing plants and engineering staff. It doesn't need to pay another company or hire experts to turn a concept into a product.

For a company that wants to be seen as an innovator rather than a copycat, as Apple Inc. has alleged in multiple lawsuits over phone designs, the Round also sends a message that Samsung is trying to rethink how phones look and feel.

For consumers, there is little reason to pay 1.09 million won ($1,027) for the Galaxy Round. It's available only in South Korea through SK Telecom. The company gives a discounted monthly service rate when the Round is bought along with a two-year contract but it is still the most expensive smartphone in the market.

In South Korea, the same money can buy a Galaxy Note 3, which has similar features and a stylus for note taking on the screen. The Note 3 is just a hair thicker and a tad heavier than the Round, but it also has more battery life.

Samsung said the Round's overseas release schedule is still up in the air.

But that should not matter as I would wait to see the next generation.

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Follow Youkyung Lee on Twitter: www.twitter.com/YKLeeAP