South Korean smartphone manufacturer LG has launched the 6in G Flex which has a vertically-curved screen.
LG claim its G Flex smartphone is the world's first 'real' curved smartphone. (LG)
Launched in the company's home territory the G Flex may never be released on this side of the world and comes just weeks after South Korean rival Samsung launched its Galaxy Round smartphone.
The difference however is that the Galaxy Round's screen curved from left to right while the G Flex is curved from top to bottom which the company claims will make it more comfortable to make phone calls on as well as providing a more immersive video experience.
LG is using flexible OLED technology to create what it called the "world's first 'real' curved smartphone."
As well as the distinctive 6in curved screen, the G Flex also comes with a unique rear cover which LG claims can heal itself, akin to Wolverine in X-men. The "self-healing" technology is a protective skin applied to the rear of the phone to repair scratches on the phone within minutes of them appearing.
Also on the rear are the home and volume buttons, a move mirroring the positioning on the company's flagship G2 smartphone.
In terms of specs, the G Flex sounds pretty impressing. The phone is powered by a 2.26GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 chip from Qualcomm which is paired with 2GB of RAM. However unlike the G2, the screen is not Full HD resolution at 720p.
LG G Flex curved screen smartphone features the volume buttons on the rear like the company's G2 smartphone. (LG)
There is a 13 megapixel camera on the rear and the phone should have decent battery life thanks to the 3,500mAh battery included.
When Samsung launched the Galaxy Round earlier this month it detailed a number of features which would make use of the curved display, including Roll Effect, which is a tilt function which allows users to see notifications even when the screen is off.
LG has not given much detail about UI tweaks it has made to the traditional Android interface in order to take advantage of the curved screen on the G Flex, though it does have a "swing lock screen" feature, which moves the wallpaper in response to tilting motion.
Flexible screen technology is seen as the next evolution for smartphones with the technology only now becoming available at a price which is financially viable.
The Samsung Galaxy Round and the LG G Flex are likely only being launched to test customer sentiment and won't sell in large numbers. Just as Samsung's Galaxy Gear and Sony's Smartwatch 2 are testing the waters in the wearable tech market, we are not likely to see flexible screen smartphones becoming the norm until 2015 at the earliest.
One of the most important factors in developing flexible displays will be the parallel development of flexible battery technology. At the beginning of this month, LG Chem, an affiliate of the smartphone manufacturer, announced it had started commercial production of a curved battery for use in the G Flex smartphone, though it is unclear from LG's South Korean press release if the flexible battery tech has been included in the new phone.
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