In early October, Samsung unveiled its first smartphone to have a curved display screen. A move that was intended to keep the South Korean electronics powerhouse ahead of the game, especially as global smartphone developers are in a race for growth within the increasingly saturated market. The Galaxy Round is a 5.7 inch mobile with a display that appears slightly rounded on both sides. It was launched on October 10th 2013 through SK Telecom, the country’s top wireless operator. The curved screens are purported to be lighter and thinner than current display panels. Technology trends are now moving toward flexible display panels that can be folded, rolled up and bent to the user’s fancy.

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SK Telecom had said in a statement, “The display is ergonomically shaped to fit the curve of a hand and comfortably embrace an ear and cheek during a phone conversation.” The Galaxy Round is priced at about $1000, and available only in South Korea. Samsung is yet to announce when the phone will be available for global consumers.

In the meantime, Samsung’s smaller rival LG is releasing its own curved smartphone, the LG G Flex. What makes LG’s own model distinctive is the “self-healing” cover that repairs itself. The casing is made from an elastic coating that is capable of ‘recovering from daily wear-and-tear scratches and nicks.’  The vertically curved shape is claimed to increase sound level by three decibels compared to flatter smartphones.

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Made of plastic substrates, instead of glass, the G Flex is flexible as well as unbreakable. Addressing the concerns of the tech required to satisfy a curved design, LG came prepared with a curved battery, courtesy of their research arm LG Chem. Like the Galaxy Round, the G Flex is not available for the worldwide market anytime soon.

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