Evolution teaches us many things, one of the most important being that in order to survive, we must adapt. Unfortunately, some creatures are better adapted for survival than others. Over thousands upon thousands or millions of years, a seemingly simple organism can rise to be a thriving part of its species, setting an example of the benefits of such evolution.
However, all evolution is met with hardship, and obstacles. In the insanely competitive mobile world, products live and die on a daily basis. If you're lucky enough to break through all the noise, you may just live on for future generations. One such company that's evolved to the top of the food chain is Samsung.
In 2009, Samsung accounted for only four percent of all Android smartphones. Today, that number has jumped to 29.3%, according to a recent comScore report. Not to mention, Android now commands just over 80% of the mobile OS market, leaps beyond its position behind Windows Mobile, RIM, and the now non-existent Symbian.
Samsung may have been blasted for "copying" designs in the past, but the company hasn't been afraid to make big bets. One of the most memorable was the Galaxy Note, a phablet, a word with an increasingly shifting definition, with a completely unheard of 5.3-inch display. It was criticized as being ridiculously big and wouldn't sell, yet here we are with the fourth iteration, and 5-inch plus phones being the norm.
Apple eventually saw the need with the iPhone 6 Plus, and helped reduce the jokes about Android users making phone calls with their "tablets." Just last year, Samsung made another bet with the Galaxy Note Edge, the first ever phone of its kind. A peculiar concept, the unique experience has made it center stage with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, the latest flagship that also sports some firsts.
What exactly is the Edge?
While the Galaxy Note Edge had just one curve, the Galaxy S6 Edge features what Samsung claims is "the world's first dual-curved glass display." Edge is a simple marketing buzzword to advertise the curved display, and although "Curve" may sound like a better choice, it doesn't get the whole message across.
For example, by swiping from the "Edge," you can access and customize a list of your five most popular contacts. Tapping on their photo, which appears as a bubble icon, lets you call or text them, and if you want to see more details such as their most recent text, you can swipe again over their photo.
Going a step further, you can customize the color for each contact. Such a feature may sound trivial, that is until you leave your phone facing down. Because the screen is slightly curved, a tiny sliver is exposed. If your friend Jason calls, and his color is red, the exposed part of the screen will light up red, instantly signaling to you your friend Jason is calling.
Where the Moto X 2nd Gen has front-facing sensors enabling you to wave your hand over the screen to ignore a call, the Galaxy S6 Edge allows you to ignore a call by putting your finger over the heart-rate sensor. This obviously makes a lot more sense if you often leave your phone facing down, which may or may not be the case.
The Edge also functions as a stream for content that interests you. Think of it as a stock ticker of sorts, able to display tweets, text messages, weather, emails, and more. Because Samsung takes advantage of a Super AMOLED display, it can display this information when the screen is turned off, and not drain your battery. To see more details about whatever information is being shown, simple tap the Edge to be taken directly to it.
More curved display features
Our phones have made traditional alarm clocks a thing of the past, and the curved display takes things a step further in this case. Displayed on the Edge, an alarm clock function lets you see what time it is in the middle of the night without picking up your phone.
All of this adds up to a completely new experience, both from a software and design perspective. Of course, if you could care less about the special features the "Edge" allows for, you can turn them off in settings under "Edge screen." We'll for sure see tweaks and new features added over the coming months, but where Samsung is truly betting is the curved display, and it has even bigger plans to extend beyond that.
LG and Samsung are working on incorporating foldable displays into the next generation of smartphones in 2016, according to a recent report from Business Korea.
"LG's G Flex 2 and Samsung's curved edge displays, which can bend up and down and side to side, are between the first and second stages. An official from Samsung Display said, "The industry believes that the commercialization of foldable smartphones will be possible in 2016."
Curved displays can add for a more immersive experience, and particularly in the case of the LG G Flex 2, is very ergonomic in the hand. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is a way for the South Korean giant to test the waters on a large scale. The Galaxy Note Edge is rumored to have sold 630,000 units worldwide, which doesn't sound like a lot, except for the fact it was most definitely a concept device.
The Galaxy S6 Edge on the other hand isn't another concept. It's a serious bet on what Samsung believes is the future of smartphones. So far, it's a bet that appears to be paying off, at least with carriers. Shortly after the March 1 announcement of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, Korea Times reported that Samsung received 20 million pre-orders. This is a record for the company, and five million of those pre-orders were for the Galaxy S6 Edge.
This is still carriers we're talking about, and not pre-orders from actual consumers, but it's a good start. Will the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge spark a new trend in the same way the Galaxy Note did? We're about to find out.