By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Seoul, South Korea — LG plans November shipments in Korea of the first smartphone with a curved display that follows the contours of the human face, but the company didn’t announce ship dates in other countries.
The 6-inch G Flex phablet, part of LG’s premium G series, reduces the distance between a user’s mouth to the microphone to improve voice and sound quality. The curved shape is said to increase the sound level of a user’s voice by 3dB compared with flat smartphones.
The launch follows the Korean launch of Samsung’s first curved smartphone. Unlike LG’s phone, the Samsung phone’s screen is curved toward the user from the sides rather than curved from top to bottom.
LG also promotes the curved plastic OLED (P-OLED) display as offering “a more reassuring grip” and a fit that is more comfortable in a user’s back pocket. In landscape mode, the display is promoted as offering an “IMAX-like experience” and providing a more comfortable viewing angle for watching videos or playing games.
The P-OLED display was developed and mass produced specifically for smartphones. The display and curved OLED panel use plastic substrates instead of glass, giving LG G Flex its shape and durability. The P-OLED display also sports high brightness and improved color accuracy thanks to Real RGB technology, which contains all three red, green and blue subpixels in one pixel, the company said.
The Android 4.2.2 device also comes with a new user interface designed to take advantage of the curved form factor, the company added.
As with the flagship G2, the G Flex lacks side buttons and features back buttons to power the device on and off with one hand and adjust volume more easily while in a conversation.
The device is the company’s first with a “self-healing” elastic coating on the back cover to keep on looking new longer when subjected to daily wear and tear, scratches and nicks, the company said.
The Korean version of the LTE/HSPA+ handset has a 2.26 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU, Adreno 330 450MHz GPU, 6-inch HD real RGB 1,280 by 720 display, 2GB RAM, 32GB memory, 13-megapixel main camera, front 2.1-megapixel camera, embedded 3,500 mAh battery said to last more than a day, LTE Advanced, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 3.0 compatibility, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, nearfield communications (NFC), and, like the flagship G2, 24-bit/192kHz audio playback. The device’s depth is 7.9mm to 8.7mm.
The battery, developed by LG Chem, features the world’s first curved battery technology, the company said.
UI features carried over from the flagship G2 include KnockOn, Guest Mode and Plug and Pop, but the G Flex adds such UI features as QTheater, which gives users quick access to photos, videos and YouTube from the lock screen. The apps appear with the effect of theater curtains being drawn.
Another new UI feature is Dual Window, which divides the 6-inch screen into two windows for multitasking. Swing Lockscreen alters the image on the lock-screen depending on how the G Flex is held. A face-detection indicator displays the LED on the rear key in green to confirm status of face detection and focus. A camera timer flashes the rear key LED to indicate that the countdown has begun. And Urgent Call Alert flashes the LED on the rear key in red when several consecutive calls from the same person go unanswered.
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