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Samsung Is First With Curved Screen Smartphone

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Samsung Electronics announced the Samsung Round, the world's first smartphone with a curved display.

The Round has a vertically-bowed 5.7-inch full HD Super Flexible AMOLED screen, a quad-core 2.3 GHz Qualcomm (QCOM - Get Report) Snapdragon processor, 32 GB of built-in memory (expandable to 64 GB), a 13 megapixel camera and runs on Google's (GOOG - Get Report) Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) and LTE networks.

There previously have been a number of phones with slightly curved screens but this is the first handset to reach the marketplace with a large noticeable curve.

The new curved design allows the handset to perform a new set of smartphone tricks. "Roll Effect" allows users to check items such as the date, time, missed calls and battery reserves while the screen is turned off. "Gravity Effect" interprets tilting of the phone as a means to create "visual interaction" with the screen. For instance, rocking the screen left or right will let you initiate a number of controls for the phone's music player software.

Even though these new screen designs are called flexible they can't be bent into different shapes by end users. Curved screens are said to be more resistant to breakage and make for a better fit in the users hand.

With the announcement Wednesday, Samsung beats Korean rival LG to market with a curved screen phone. LG's future device known as either the "Flex" or "Z phone reportedly has just gone into production. It is expected to be announced in the next few weeks. The Z is said to have an even larger curved screen than Samsung's Round. It measures 5.99-inches.

Samsung said the Round will be available for sale only in Korea beginning this week. There is no word on whether or when we could see the design here in North America.

Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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