The Galaxy Note Edge is a flagship phone with an entirely new kind of curved display

 

The Verge:

 

Twenty months ago, it was a nameless prototype at CES 2013. Now Samsung’s sloping, curved OLED phone is real: meet the Galaxy Note Edge, the highest-end phone in Samsung’s lineup.

The Note Edge is, on paper at least, only the slightest variation on the new Note 4. It has the same metallic design, a huge improvement on anything Samsung’s done before. It has the same soft-touch back, blissfully without the fake stitching. It has the same 16-megapixel camera, the same heart-rate monitor, the same processor, the same memory, the same software, the same new Multi Window feature, the same everything. It’s an incredibly high-end, incredibly powerful phone. It even has a Quad HD, 2560 x 1440 display like the Note 4, though this one is slightly smaller at 5.6 inches rather than 5.7.

But there’s more to the Note Edge than its spec sheet.

It’s on the right side of the phone’s front face that a sharp difference appears between the two models. The screen starts to slope downward, falling off toward the edge and wrapping around the side. It’s as if two screens have been connected to each other at an acute angle, but there’s only one display here. The asymmetry of the phone feels a little odd, like I chipped part of the right side off by accident, but it doesn’t really hurt the aesthetic appeal of the phone. It’s still very comfortable, the metal body both solid and dense, and I like the way the screen curls under my right thumb. (If you’re a lefty, using the Note Edge in one hand is going to be terrible — but then again using a Note in one hand is already terrible.)

Samsung uses software to separate the two parts of the display, to allow them to be simultaneously independent and connected. The sloping screen’s default status is as a quick launcher of sorts, with easy access to a bunch of your most-used apps. There are a number of widgets, though, tickers of sorts that let you flip through news or tweets or information about how many steps you’ve taken. And you can do it all without ever changing or disturbing what you see on the larger display. In some apps, the edge acts as a toolbar, offering easy access to font menus or camera modes or in-app settings. At night, it can be your alarm clock, the time displayed on the side of the phone so you can see it without taking your head off your pillow.

It’s an odd idea, turning this vertical rail into essentially an always-on secondary display. Is it best-suited as a ticker? A notification center? A quick-launch taskbar? Samsung doesn’t seem entirely sure, and in a few minutes of using the Galaxy Note Edge it was clear that while well-implemented and useful the whole idea isn’t necessarily fully formed.

Still, by releasing the Note Edge broadly – it’s coming to AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint — and giving both users and developers a chance to figure out what they want, Samsung could find itself with a truly unique smartphone feature that no other manufacturer can copy.

Photos by Sean O’Kane, who also contributed reporting.

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LG Officially Unveils Circular G Watch R

Image of LG Officially Unveils Circular G Watch R

LG has officially debuted the G Watch R, the successor to the electronic giant’s original G Watch. Improving upon the original design, the G Watch R features a more traditional circular case housing a 1.3-inch plastic OLED display. Internally, the watch doesn’t differ much from the original; the battery has been slightly uprated, while the processor is the same 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of memory. What is new is the watch’s heart rate monitor, which should allow this watch to double as a fitness tracker.

Expect the G Watch R to reach retailers sometime in October or November.

Samsung Unveils the Gear S

Image of Samsung Unveils the Gear S

 

Samsung unveils the latest addition to its smart watch range with the Samsung Gear S, which promises to bring more benefits of the smartphone experience to the wrist. The new model features a built-in 3G modem, allowing texts to be sent and calls to be made without relying on a mobile phone, WiFi or Bluetooth for connectivity. The curved two-inch AMOLED screen reflects the aesthetics of Samsung’s smartphones and is powered by a dual-core 1GHz CPU which runs a variant of the Tizen operating system. Claimed to have a battery life of up to two days, the Gear S also offers GPS capabilities, heart rate and motion sensors, as well as the all important clock.

Look out for the Samsung Gear S at retailers this October.

 

Image of Samsung Unveils the Gear S

 

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Galaxy S5 hits stores early in Korea, as carriers try to dodge sales suspension

 

South Korea‘s major carriers have pulled their Galaxy S5 launch date forward to, well, today, despite Samsung‘s efforts to keep the native networks in line with the global launch date on April 11. According to a statement received by Bloomberg, Samsung is “very puzzled.” “SK strongly asked form an earlier release of the product by we delivered our stance that the global release date of April 11 remains unchanged.” In South Korea, recent illegal discounts from carriers led to the government regulator slapping a 45-day ban on new customer sign-ups. Carriers apparently already have the GS5 in stock for both marketing activities and to cover their pre-orders on launch day.

SK Telecom said that it had decided to offer the GS5 “for a wider consumer choice of handsets before our suspension begins on April 5.” On their network, the phone is priced at $808 and is available online and in-store starting today.

 

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Galaxy S5 hits stores early in Korea, as carriers try to dodge sales suspensio

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BlackBerry’s identity crisis continues

 

 

Engadget:

 

To say that BlackBerry‘s had it tough these past few years would be putting it mildly, if not too delicately for a company emerging from a period of willful ignorance. The Waterloo-based outfit, formerly known as Research in Motion, played an embarrassing game of catch-up in the mobile space it once dominated. An uphill rehabilitation that saw it acquire QNX to build a new operating system, release a half-baked tablet,rebrand as BlackBerry in search of a new identity and, tellingly, hire Alicia Keys as a creative figurehead.

And none of it mattered — not even the forced infusion of Ms. Keys’ questionable zeitgeist-y influence. The BlackBerry of today has so far failed to resurrect sufficient interest in its fledgling mobile platform and devices, leading to the ouster of former CEO Thorsten Heins, the very recent installation of John Chen and a redoubled focus on the enterprise set that once was core to the company’s business. So why does the company still seem to be engaged in an internal tug-of-war over its identity? I had a chance to speak with Gary Klassen, longtime BlackBerry employee and principal architect, here at SXSW in the hopes he could shed some light on what the Blackberry of today stands for and where it’s going.

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BlackBerry’s identity crisis continues

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Bandai’s “Crazy Case Batmobile Tumbler” iPhone case

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Japanese toymaker Bandai has recently released a play on the Batmobile Tumbler, sizing the hi-tech tank down into a durable phone case. Playing off of the rugged, military-grade specs of Batman’s vehicle of choice, the CRAZY CASE BATMOBILE TUMBLER cleverly integrates iPhones into the case body, rendering microphone and Thunderbolt holes as part of the Tumbler’s exhaust system.

A fun, detailed way to protect many people’s prized possessions, the case also comes with its own flashlight feature. Look for the Bandai CRAZY CASE BATMOBILE TUMBLER to release on November 22 online.

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Bandai’s “Crazy Case Batmobile Tumbler” iPhone case

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