Yesterday we reported that Samsung started mass producing plastic-based 5.7" FHD flexible OLED panels, and today the company announced the first device to use them - the Galaxy Round smartphone. This is an Android 4.3 smartphone similar to the Galaxy Note 3, with the major feature being the curved (400 mm curvature radius) flexible display (samsung simply refers to it as a flexible Super AMOLED, strangely they are not using the YOUM brand).
The Galaxy Round includes all sorts of user interface tweaks to take advantage of the curved screen, for example the so-called Roll-Effect that enables user to check information such as date, time, missed call and battery easily when home screen is off (see video below) and the "Gravity Effect" for creating visual interaction with the screen by tilting the device.
The Galaxy Round uses a 2.3 Ghz quad-core CPU and has 3GB of RAM and a 2,800 mAh battery. It supports NFC and LTE-A. The phone weighs 154 grams and is 7.9mm thick. Samsung will launch the phone today in South Korea. Reportedly it will cost 1,090,000 Won (a little over $1,000). Hopefully they'll release it in more countries soon. But don't expect this phone to be a mass market one, Samsung currently has a pilot production fab (Gen-5.5) that can probably make only a few hundreds of thousands of such displays in a month.
So while this is a really exciting moment for OLEDs, it remains to be seen whether this design is useful for users. I have to say I liked the wrap-around curved display prototypes Samsung showed earlier this year better. Interestingly Samsung didn't mention in their PR that the phone uses a plastic-based display and that it is an "unbreakable display", which everyone assumed will be the major selling point of first-gen flexible OLEDs. Now of course we'll be waiting for LG's flexible OLED phone, which will be using LGD's 6" flexilbe OLEDs.