Samsung’s edge screen is here to stay: what does that mean?

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If you’re like me, you got some great and not-entirely unexpected news at MWC – The Edge is here to stay. Samsung unveiled its fourth generation of edge-bearing phone. This is definitely becoming a thing. We’ve written in the past that the edge of the Edge might not be worth the additional cost, but it has been around this long. It seems like Samsung is making it a thing. So now we ask the next logical question – now what?

galaxy-s7-edge-screenSoftware

First, we are starting to see a lot of software capability for the Edge screen. The original Note Edge had an ecosystem of apps and toolbars dedicated to it. Some apps were even designed to place UI elements on the edge to free up screen real estate. But when Samsung continued the edge experiment with the S6 Edge, it pulled back on the reigns a bit, relegating the edge to little more than a contact launcher, and a funky glow stick when your wife called you and your phone happened to be face down. Bet the Venn diagram of that has a tiny, tiny intersection.

Later, app shortcuts were added back to the edge, adding additional utility. Personally, I use app shortcuts far more often than contacts. I enjoy being able to access some apps regardless of where I happen to be in the phone. Now, it seems Samsung is returning to its roots, but with some smarter design and UI by adding utilities back into the edge. We’ve seen the edge come full circle and start to gain real acceptance and an acknowledgement from Samsung that yes, this is something it is going to actively support.

All in

So, Samsung is all in, as it should be – it built the hardware after all. But what about other OEMs? Now we have another question worth asking. Samsung is already an incredibly popular brand, and maybe it can afford to take a flyer on an edge phone like this. But if other OEMs are going to take a crack at this – like a LG double edge prototype from CES last year
– I’m not so sure how much longer they will want to and can afford to wait.

After all, now that the Edge has come full circle, it’s a reasonably mature platform. Apps and services for it are turning into an ecosystem of its own. Any newcomer will have to have at least a similar platform on which to stand, lest the edge on a different phone be seen as a gimmick or a cheap imitation. Samsung already has a pretty decent head start, even though the edge concept is only roughly 18 months old. What that means is that the edge is still young enough that a competitor can catch up, but the clock is ticking.

LG Active BendingThe time is now

Its possible other OEMs are holding back and waiting to see how this “edge beta test” is going to pan out. Well, that waiting period is over now. Samsung’s edge phones are proven technology now and Samsung is starting to develop this ecosystem in a big way. There is no more time to wait, if they want to get on board the edge train. It’s very possible that the edge might be a uniquely Samsung trait and that too is perfectly fine.

Right now, the edge screen is one of the closest things you’ll find on the market to a bezel-less display – at least looking at it from the front. Plus, with the edge on both sides you get a neat infinity pool effect and the elements on the screen get a cool scrolling effect when scrolling side to side. So if other OEMs want to miss out on this, that’s certainly an option.

The edge phones from Samsung are all gorgeous (yes, even the Note Edge, ya haters) and this is screen tech that is here to stay. Now it’s up to Samsung to keep pushing the development of the software to take full advantage of the tech, and it’s up to competitors to decide if they want in on the edge train, because it’s leaving the station in a hurry.

So what about you? Are you a fan of the edge on phones? Have you ever used a Samsung edge phone? How’d you like it? Sound off below in the comments. Is this something you’d like to see other OEMs take on, or should this be a uniquely Samsung quality going forward?

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About The Author
Adam Doud
Adam joined the tech world after watching Jon Rubenstein demo the most epic phone ever at CES 2009. He is webOS enthusiast, Windows Phone fan, and Android skeptic. He loves the outdoors, is an avid Geocacher, Cubs/Blackhawks fan, and family man living in Sweet Home Chicago, where he STILL hosts monthly webOS meetups (Don’t call it a comeback!). He can be found tweeting all things tech as @DeadTechnology, or chi-town sports at @oneminutecubs. Read more about Adam Doud!