LG’s G Flex smartphone. It doesn't flex... but it is a curved panel. (via LG)
Flexible electronics are quickly becoming the rage for companies looking to capitalize on the bendy tech. Products are already flooding the market since their mainstream introduction back in the mid-20th century. Sony’s SmartWear (relays information from smartphones), Razer’s Nabu (relays social and fitness info) and flexible displays are already hitting the market like an unstoppable flood that can’t be stopped. Smartphones too are taking advantage of the flexible fad, with offerings from Samsung (Galaxy Round) and the more popular LG G Flex, with both featuring curved HD screens. While the round isn’t yet available to most of the world (limited to South Korea unless you buy it unlocked, hence: unpopular), the G Flex is widely available and cornering the ‘curved’ market in both Europe and the US. The phone features pretty much the same hardware as most ‘tier-one’ smartphones, with a Snapdragon 2.2GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of memory, 32GB of onboard storage running on a 3,500mAh Li-Polymer battery.
While those stats are impressive, the screen is the star of the show, with a 6-inch HD curved POLED flexible display (@ 245 ppi). The idea of the curved screen was to help cut down the reflections and glare normally found on flat phones when in adverse light conditions commonly found on sunny days. It’s also reportedly more ergonomic and better conforms to the human body’s many contours, especially the head. There’s also the ‘cool’ factor that comes with all new technology that gets released, but is it really that great or is it more of a gimmick or a proof-of-concept device? In a word, yes.
According to several online reviews, the screen does indeed cut down on reflections and glare and also allows content to be viewed in clarity from a variety of angles but the massive 6-inch screen only has a 720p resolution and is difficult to use and navigate with one hand. The screen sits under a plate of Gorilla Glass and can indeed flex to a flat position (when pressing down on the back) but it won’t fold-up into a convenient carry package of reduced size. Worst of all, the phone costs over $900, which will keep it out of most user’s hands, unless those hands reside in deep pockets. Still, the G Flex smartphone is more of a marketing model to get potential users interested in the design, which will undoubtedly be incorporated into next-gen phones in the near future. On that note, there are already rumors abound surrounding the G Flex 2 that will improve on the lackluster features of the first. The next phone will reportedly feature a flexible screen capable of ‘deforming’ or bend to 900 and that’s while it’s housed in the phones case, making it truly bendable in every sense of the word.
This represents the possibility that smartphones will one day be able to be folded into a ‘clamshell’ shape without damaging the internals. It will reportedly be released sometime this year (Fall perhaps?) but will it signal the fall of flat mobile devices? Perhaps not, unless it can overcome current limitations and feature a full 1080p screen with a greater ppi (Pixels per Inch) than that of the current G Flex. Only time will tell.
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