Posts tagged Edge
Samsung has launched its two new flagship smartphones for 2015 at a special event at Mobile World Congress. The Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge offer a stack of hardware and software improvements over last year’s Galaxy S5, as the company looks to slow down the momentum of Apple’s iPhone.
Samsung ditched the plastic of earlier handsets in favor of a premium metal and glass finish, with the extra curved screen space of the S6 Edge the only major difference between the handsets. Both feature a 5.1-inch QHD (1440×2560) Super AMOLED screen with a pixel density of 577ppi, 3GB of RAM and 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of internal storage.
The S6 and the S6 Edge go on sale on April 10 in 20 countries, with retail prices yet to be confirmed.
The extra screen space on the S6 Edge is used for special functions, such as contact shortcuts. If the phone is face down, the display edges glow various colors so users can tell which apps and contacts require attention without turning it over. The fingerprint-sensing technology has also been upgraded from the S5, with a quick tap required instead of a swipe.
Samsung’s TouchWiz take on Android is stripped down and simplified, with text replacing icons throughout the interface, and the use of bright, clear colors following the lead taken by Google in Android 5.0 Lollipop. The software team is promising a less cluttered and more enjoyable experience for users.
The international versions of the handset will feature the 64-bit octa-core Samsung Exynos processor, snubbing the Snapdragon 810, though there’s no word yet on the CPUs the U.S. versions are going to include.
Power And Image
Samsung spent a lot of time dwelling on the cameras and batteries inside these handsets. The manufacturer is promising iPhone-beating image quality from the 16-megapixel cameras, particularly in low light—the F1.9 lenses, real-time HDR filtering and smart optical image stabilization, the company said, combine to create the best pictures yet from a Samsung device.
Samsung also talked up new fast charging for its battery, claiming that 10 minutes of charging time will give four hours of smartphone use. It’s worth noting that such fast charging is usually a matter of pushing more current through a micro USB charging cable, and not of technology improvements in the phone itself.
More significant is the integrated wireless charging support that’s compatible with both major standards on the market today: WPC (Qi) and PMA (Powermat), no adapters required. However, unlike previous handsets from Samsung, the battery is non-removable.
Samsung also had time to introduce Samsung Pay, a new mobile payments system based around the company’s recent acquisition of LoopPay, and a new Innovator Edition of its Oculus-powered Gear VR headset. The new kit has been designed specifically for the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge and offers a virtual reality experience in full HD for anyone with one of the smartphones.
The real test of the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge will come when reviewers and consumers get their hands on them, but the handsets have made a good first impression at MWC. On paper at least, they look capable of turning Samsung’s smartphone fortunes around.
Images courtesy of Samsung
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Samsung may not hang its future on smartphones, but that doesn’t mean it’s totally phoning it in now. Case in point: its new Galaxy Note Edge smartphone with curved glass display.
There’s no denying that the Edge is a sleek, stunning smartphone. Its beauty comes at a cost, though: a wallet-thumping $400 with a two-year contract, or $700 without contract. The price tops the company’s well-received Galaxy Note 4 by $100 (on contract). That’s a hefty sum for your average smartphone user. Then again, this is not an average phone.
At its core, the Edge is essentially a Galaxy Note 4, but with a twist: a curved display that bends over the phone’s right edge. The bend allows for a thin, secondary screen, which provides extra controls, notifications and other features.
It’s a thing of beauty. And the ancillary display adds more function too—that is, if you hold it correctly.
It’s A Beauty …
Like the Note 4, the Edge features an S-Pen stylus, fast charging, fingerprint scanner, 32GB of memory, microSD card slots, 16 megapixel camera, as well as Samsung’s own stock apps, like S Health, S Note and S Voice.
The difference obviously lies in the additional display. Years ago, Samsung experimented with a supplemental screen in the doomed Samsung Continuum. But it appears to have learned a lesson from that flop—mainly, that it’s hard to beat curving glass for sex appeal.
The Edge’s AMOLED Quad HD technology displays great-looking graphics, and the 5.6-inch size of the main display only shaves a slight bit off the Note 4’s 5.7-inch screen.
But that’s enough to make room for a bonus display that houses settings, some built-in tools, ticker-style information or a scrollable, customizable list of your favorite apps. You can roll through as many as seven panels.
The screen also offers some app-specific options. Launch the camera app, and you get camera controls that sit at a comfortable angle, for easy reach.
Notifications, custom messages and other information can spread out onto that side, so they don’t interfere with whatever app you’re using on the main display. That can include things such as stocks, weather forecasts, Yahoo news headlines, tweets, song info or music controls during playback. You can change the look around, or even slap a teeny Edge-specific game there.
The device comes with a couple of delightful surprises as well, including a 4-inch ruler on the skinny display, plus a clock perfectly angled to show the time when the device—and you—are in sleep mode.
Samsung intentionally designed the Edge so that a palm resting on that right-hand sliver of screen shouldn’t set off any actions. In my own experience, it worked pretty well. Perhaps once, my palm launched something. Most of the time, the apps and features saved themselves to kick on to intentional finger taps only.
Then I switched hands.
… And A Beast
It seems obvious that grabbing an asymmetrical device would pose some challenges. But Samsung adjusted the touch control and designed the screen to flip upside down, so it can work in either hand.
It’s creative. But make no mistake—it’s not a solution. The topsy-turvy action is a workaround, one that’s not going to work for everyone.
In my right hand, there were few errant taps. But in left-handed mode, my fingers naturally tended to rest on the inclined glass. Over and over, I set off a cacophony of app launches and other unexpected behaviors.
A rep stepped in to inform me I was holding it wrong. (Cue Apple joke.) He took the phone from my hand, turned it upside down and handed it back to me, with the home button now at the top. “There,” he said. “This is how you’re supposed to hold it.” In this orientation, with my left palm on the edge, everything worked well again.
So intentional gripping is apparently key. Too bad I tend to manhandle my phone, often digging it out or pawing at it to answer calls, respond to texts or fire off a quick photo, with whatever hand I have free. I guess that means I’m not exactly the ideal user of this sleek device.
A Ticker Tape Parade
Even if the Edge is not perfect, at the very least, it’s a refreshing change of pace—one that could get better over time.
Samsung just released developer tools for the Edge’s ancillary display. With this, app makers may dream up some creative new uses.
Whether they can overcome the practical reality of grabbing hold of a phone with an angled, touch-enabled edge isn’t quite clear. But based on the number of developers I saw crowding around the gadget at the Samsung Developer Conference this week, it looks like some are very interested in giving this ticker a parade of cool, new uses.
Photos by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite
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