LG's G Flex curved smartphone gets boost from AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile

LAS VEGAS--AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), Sprint (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) will launch LG Electronics' G Flex curved smartphone in the first quarter, giving LG a boost for one of its new flagship products. The South Korean OEM made the announcement here at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show.

The G Flex was first released last November in South Korea and then Hong Kong and Singapore in December. LG said that pricing and availability for U.S. carriers will be announced at a later date. However, according to The Verge, the device will cost $940 without a contract, which would make it an incredibly expensive phone without subsidies. LG said that the phone will support Sprint's tri-mode LTE service, Sprint Spark.

LG has said the G Flex is between 7.9 and 8.7 millimeters thick at various points along its vertical arc and has a 6-inch, 720p display. According to LG, the vertically curved design of the G Flex reduces the distance between a user's mouth and the microphone when the device is held against the ear and uses a curvature arc that is optimized for the average face to deliver improved voice and sound quality.

Interestingly, LG also claims the G Flex is the first smartphone to apply a "self-healing" elastic coating on the back cover, which gives it "the ability to recover from the daily wear-and-tear scratches and nicks that un-cased smartphones are likely to receive." According to multiple reports, LG compared this feature in an earlier press release to the self-healing powers of the mutant Wolverine from the "X-Men" series.

The G Flex runs Android 4.2.2 and is powered by Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) quad-core 2.26 GHz Snapdragon 800 processor. LG said the phone's "Dual Window" feature divides the screen into two separate windows for more effective multitasking, and that its "Swing Lock screen" feature alters the image on the lock screen depending on how the G Flex is held. LG claims that the phone, in landscape mode, "offers an IMAX-like experience for multimedia."

Samsung Electronics also has a similar curved phone. The company's Galaxy Round smartphone was introduced in October and features a 5.7-inch full HD super AMOLED curved screen and is now on sale in South Korea for about $1,000 without a contract. Samsung has not said when, or if, the phone will come to the U.S. market. The two phones have different appearances: Samsung's Galaxy Round wraps slightly around the vertical axis while G Flex has a more apparent curve along its horizontal axis, like a banana.

LG has been working to get wider carrier distribution for its smartphones in the U.S. The company's last flagship phone, the G2, was launched by all four Tier 1 U.S. carriers. Additionally, LG made the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 smartphones for Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), both of which proved popular.

For more:
- see this release
- see this The Verge article
- see this CNET article
- see this GigaOM article

Related Articles:
LG: We're committed to the mobile market
LG challenges Samsung's Galaxy Round with its own curved G Flex smartphone
LG posts first loss in mobile unit in a year as competition intensifies
LG, Samsung likely to launch curved-screen smartphones in Q4