Galaxy Note Edge: Why the Edge?

September 11, 2014 by
Galaxy Note Edge - Source: Engadget

I meant to blog about this last week, but didn't get a chance. Have you seen this phone? Does it need an edge?

Engadget's Brad Molen did his best to explain its value (Sept. 3):

"Since the whole point of the phone's very existence is the screen, Samsung made sure to add enough functionality to put it to good use," he wrote. "In fact, it serves many different purposes, and once developers have access to the SDK (which Samsung says should come out very soon), there will be plenty more ways to take advantage of it.

"The UI of the bar is straightforward and basic, since there isn't much you can do with a narrow strip of display space. Often, what's shown here will depend on the app: If you're in the camera or watching videos, this strip becomes a sidebar containing all of your shortcuts and settings so they don't take up other valuable screen space or get in the way. However, you can still access a plethora of different types of bars, whether in or out of the app; notifications, weather info, stock tickers, clocks, news feeds, quick shortcuts and even games are available from nearly every screen."

Molen notes that the edge is tailored to right-handed users. Samsung says it's fine for lefties too, as they can flip the phone and use it upside down. Molen responds that it's still "a huge inconvenience if you plan on using the home button or making phone calls at all."

Gizmodo's Darren Orf  pointed out (Sept 3) the Edge comes with its own SDK (i.e. app developers must develop for it specifically, not Android "edge" phones in a general sense). "Samsung says it isn't incredibly hard, but a unique SDK means adoption will be a slow-going process, so don't expect functionality for all your favorite apps anytime soonÖor ever."

That sucks.

VentureBeat's Devindra Hardawar called the Edge "stylish yet awkward" (Sept. 3). "The Note Edge looks cool, to be sure, but after spending a few minutes with it today, Iím not sure why anyone would want to use it. Its curved edge makes it even wider than the already-wide Note 4, which made it impossible for me to hold comfortably. And no, I donít have small hands."

That's my inclination too: The additional edge looks neat and I could see it having value for things like notifications or a live ticker for sports scores or stock prices, but from a UX standpoint, it just seems cumbersome. Do you accidentally open apps and settings, when you quickly grab the phone to answer a call? It doesn't seem useful. To me, it's just a gimmick.

Posted in: Google/Android, Industry News, Samsung