LG have announced the widely anticipated G Flex smartphone, the first to have a significantly curved screen. Obviously there have been smartphones with curved screens before, such as the Nexus S and the original Palm Pre, but the LG Flex is the first to make the curved screen into a major feature. Intended to follow the features of the face, physical improvements are accompanied by changes to the user interface to take advantage of the curved screen.
The new 6″ screen is based on the world’s largest Plastic OLED (POLED) display and as might be guessed from the name, the display and curved OLED panel are built on plastic substrates instead of glass. Further by combining all three sub-pixels (RGB) into a singled pixel, the display is brighter and clearer too.
Although the curved screen is the most obvious development, developing a curved battery was also a necessity. A sister company, LG Chem, developed the curved battery technology specifically for the G Flex and it has a capacity of 3,500 mAh, which should see the G Flex through the day. For comparison, 2,500 mAH is fairly standard on smartphones. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the battery isn’t removeable.
The G Flex is similar to the G2, with the volume buttons on the back, and several of its software enhancements such as KnockOn are included. New to the G Flex is dual windows, giving the ability to run two apps side-by-side. With such a large screen, that’s going to be a handy feature.
Some thought has been given to the impace of the curved screen, particular with regard to day-to-day use. First, considering the G Flex is going to be placed face-up on a desk, there’s going to be sweet-spot where the phone naturally rests because of the curved back. To avoid general wear, the rear has been give an elastic self-healing coating to mitigate any nicks and scratches. Second, as the phone can be placed face-down with out fear of scratching the screen, the rear LED is given more roles, such as flashing for repeated unanswered calls. The LED also acts as a countdown for the camera in timer mode.
Other features are much as you’d expect for a high-end smartphone (taken from press release for the Korean version).
- CPU: 2.26 GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 800 (MSM 8974)
- GPU: Adreno 330, 450MHz
- Display: 6-inch HD (1280 x 720), Curved P-OLED (Real RGB)
- Memory: 2GB LP DDR3 RAM / 32GB eMMc
- Camera: Rear 13.0MP / Front 2.1MP
- Battery: 3,500mAh (embedded)
- Operating System: Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2
- Size: 160.5 x 81.6 x 7.9 – 8.7mm
- Weight: 177g
- Network: LTE-A / LTE / HSPA+ / GSM
- Connectivity: BT 4.0 / USB 3.0 compatible / WiFi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac) / NFC
The LG Flex will be available in Korea in November with roll-out to other countries shortly afterwards.
It’s not often I’m excited about a smartphone – let’s be honest, they’re mostly evolutions – but this could be significant. Will all smartphones be curved in a few years or will the nature of pockets dictate that flat stays the norm?