Curved smartphones from LG and Samsung are just around the corner

Television tech is coming to new smartphones in the form of curved screens from two top TV makers. On Monday, LG announced production of flexible OLED panels for mobile devices. LG hasn’t yet said when devices will use the curved screens but Samsung will reportedly release a phone with curved a screen this month says ETNews.

While the two companies are planning a similar screen, there’s a definite difference between them: LG’s screen will be three times as thick as Samsung’s. LG says its flexible OLED is 0.44 millimeters thin while Samsung says it can make the panel just 0.12 millimeters in thickness. A thinner screen will likely be lighter and could allow for a slightly thinner handset depending on the rest of the components.

According to OLED-Info, a site that routinely watches the OLED display market, another difference is in the curvature of the screens: Samsung’s has a radius of 400 millimeters while LG’s is nearly double that at 700 millimeters. How much of a curve we’ll see in products that use the panels isn’t yet known. The site also notes that Samsung’s first panel is expected to be 5.7-inches in size and suggests a curved edition of the new Galaxy Note 3 could be in the works.

Galaxy Note 3 air command

That’s a possibility but I’m not sure a handset so focused on digital inking would be the best for a curved display. And I’m still curious about the usability of a curved screen smartphone. My Galaxy Nexus had one although the curve was barely noticeable. For holding a phone up to the head a curved screen may be useful but now that we use our phones for other activities more than voice calls, are curved screens more of a gimmick than anything else?