Samsung goes for curves – and virtual reality

Samsung has unveiled two smartphones – including a curved screen Galaxy Note Edge – and a virtual reality headset, less than a week out from rival Apple’s expected announcements on its new iPhone lineup.

Sparking most interest appeared to be the Galaxy Note Edge, a phablet with a curved screen providing a side display for quick access to Twitter, news and alerts, frequently used apps and device functionality.

The Edge uses Samsung’s flexible-display technology, which has been talked about for years, but seen little actual use so far. The edge display works independent of the main screen and can offer contextual controls based on the app in use.

No pricing or release date were announced for the Edge, with Samsung saying only that it will be available in ‘selected markets… later this year’

Also announced at European technology showcase IFA Berlin 2014, was the fourth generation of Samsung’s Note series of phablet – the Galaxy Note 4.

The screen, while the same 5.7-inch size as the Note 3, has received a substantial resolution boost to 2560×1440 Quad HD.

Other improvements include to the cameras with the device equipped with a 16 megapixel rear-facing camera featuring a SmartOptical Image Stabiliser that counter-balances camera shake and automatically extends exposure time in dark settings.

A 3.7 megapixel front-facing camera with f1.9 offers a default 90 degree shooting angle and up to 120 degree wide angle so users can take the best group shots with friends.

The company has moved away from the plastic frame to a metal one with Note 4, which also includes an improved fingerprint scanner and what Samsung says is the world’s first UV sensor in a mobile device.

The Galaxy Note 4 will start to become available globally in October.

Gear goes virtual

The company also introduced the next generation in its wearable technologies line-up, the Gear VR Innovator Edition, which it says will enable users to ‘fully immerse themselves in a cinematic virtual reality environment’.

The headset, is an add-on for the Note 4, and is powered by Oculus technology – the result, Samsung says of ‘a deep and integrated partnership with Oculus.

The Note 4 is slipped into the headset, using the phone’s GPU/CPU to power the device and the AMOLED screen as the display.

The headset only works with the Note 4, though Samsung has reportedly hinted that it may support other devices in future.


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