LG's first smartphone with a curved display was released in South Korea in November 2013 and is gearing up to expand to other markets.
The LG G Flex will be released for Sprint on Jan. 31 for $299 (with a two-year contract), while AT&T will put the smartphone up for pre-order on Jan. 24 for the same price. T-Mobile hasn't said when it will begin selling the smartphone nor for how much. Verizon hasn't said if it will carry the smartphone at all.
The curved G Flex will also be released in "more than 20 European countries" in Feb. 2014, said LG on Jan. 21. In which countries the phone will be released is unclear -- Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the UK were the only countries that LG listed in its press release.
LG released the G Flex in South Korea in November 2013 for around $940. It was released in Singapore and Hong Kong -- its first markets outside of South Korea -- in December 2013.
"The LG G Flex is a good phone, but there is no way in h-e-double-hockey sticks that we'd recommend that you go out and purchase a handset that costs more than $900 unless it also gives massages and does the dishes."
The first U.S. reviews of the LG G Flex were published on Dec. 6. Though many of the reviews were generally positive — Laptop Magazine said it felt "like the future of smartphones" — reviewers criticized its high price (more than $900 without a carrier subsidy) and dull overall design.
"The flexible display market is expected to grow quickly… Our goal is to take an early lead in the flexible display market by introducing new products with enhanced performance and differentiated designs next year."
LG says it will expand its curved display offerings in 2014.
Samsung announced the 5.7-inch, 1080p horizontally curved screen Galaxy Round on Oct. 9. The phone, which also features a 2.3GHz quad-core processor, LTE-A, 3GB of RAM, a 2800mAh battery and a 13-megapixel back camera, went on sale in South Korea for about $1,000.
Copyright 2014 Reuters
The proliferation of flexible displays could also give a boost to the new category of wearable computers (such as smartwatches), which several well-known consumer electronics makers are thought to be developing.
Apple on Dec. 10 was awarded a U.S. patent for a specific method of manufacturing curved, touch-sensitive displays. Bloomberg reported in November 2013 that Apple is developing at least two iPhone models with displays that "curve downward at the edges" for release possibly as early as 2014.