Berlin and Seoul - Samsung Electronics unveiled its first smartphone with a display extending down one side on Wednesday as it counts on two new versions of its Galaxy Note devices to help fend off Apple’s push into large-screen mobile devices.
The 5.6-inch Note Edge allows users to read messages, news and stock tickers from an angle by extending the display beyond the front of the phone.
The Note 4, the latest version of Samsung’s marquee 5.7-inch device, features an upgraded display and improved camera.
The company also showed off a virtual-reality headset, developed with Facebook’s Oculus unit, and a new smartwatch in Berlin.
Samsung shares rose after the unveiling as the company seeks a hit following a muted reception to the Galaxy S5 that triggered a slide in earnings and provided opportunities for low-cost producers to surpass its sales in China and India.
Apple would introduce two new iPhones on Tuesday next week, one with a 4.7-inch screen and another with a 5.5-inch display, people with knowledge of the plans said.
“The design is quite cool and interesting,” Lee Min Hee, a Seoul-based analyst at I’M Investment & Securities, said of the Note Edge.
“Samsung will study the market reception first and if received well, it may apply the flexible display technology to its upcoming Galaxy phone next year.”
The Note 4 that goes on sale next month features higher-definition resolution than previous devices, three microphones that can cancel noises during recording, and the ability to capture group self-images within a 120-degree view.
It also includes a 16-megapixel camera.
The Note Edge will go on sale later this year.
“Samsung is the creator of the bigger-sized smartphone market in the high-end space, and it did pretty well until now because there were no players who can possibly compete against it,” said Lee Jae Yun, a Seoul-based analyst at TongYang Securities.
“The prolonged concerns over the new iPhones are finally about to be realised.”
Samsung unveiled a 2-inch Gear S wristwatch device with a curved display and built-in network connectivity for users to make calls and get text messages.
It touts enhanced fitness features without the need to connect to a smartphone.
Apple would introduce a wearable gadget at next week’s briefing, a person familiar with the plan has said.
“Samsung clearly wants to capitalise on its lead in the smartwatch space,” Ben Wood at CCS Insight said.
Apple and Samsung face a tougher environment in China as cellular carriers cut phone subsidies that drive sales of new models. - Bloomberg