Fools at CES: What's All the Rage Over Curved Phones?

LG’s bold bet: Is the world ready for curved smartphones?

Jan 12, 2014 at 6:00PM

The Fool heads out to Vegas to check out the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show. With more than 3,200 exhibitors, including 88% of the top retailers in consumer electronics, the CES is the place to be to see what's coming up in tech.

Not every new product is a winner, and Foolish analyst Evan Niu is unconvinced by LG's curved smartphone, the G Flex. It may fit your face or pocket neatly, but the convenience doesn't justify the nearly $1,000 price point.

Thanks to an uncanny ability to identify key trends in technology, David Gardner has established a market-thumping track record. Investors have seen a slew of storylines coming out of CES 2014, but the real challenge is recognizing where the opportunities truly lie. Click here to get David's latest thinking on where you should be invested to profit on the future of technology.

A full transcript follows the video.

Eric Bleeker: Hey, Fools. I'm Eric Bleeker, coming at you from the CES floor. One of the things about CES is, it is huge. There's 150,000 people here; it feels like it could take days to walk.

But one of the most odd things I think you'll find is the LG G Flex, which is a curved smartphone, Six inches large -- it's a big phone. Obviously, this is a bet from a company where the high end of smartphones has been struggling. Do you think this can help LG make a dent?

Evan Niu: Not really. LG and Samsung are the two big companies to really come into this curved smartphone space, but I don't really see the benefit of it. Playing with one hands-on a minute ago, I don't really get why you'd pay almost $1,000 off contract for a phone like this. Of course, theoretically they say it fits your face better, or fits in your pocket better, but realistically I don't think that that's worth the premium that they're asking for.

LG hasn't really made a good dent in the Brand-wise, Nexus is a much stronger brand, and they make the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5, and that's a Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) brand; whereas no one thinks about the LG G2 or the G Flex, so I think LG is still pretty behind in the U.S. market. I don't think this is changing it.

Eric: With some really great Android phones selling in that $300-$400 price range, obviously everyone is trying to reclaim that top spot where Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) does so well. Is there any hope for these Android providers at that high end? Can they innovate their way to any kind of new market share dollars there, or is this just a lost market that they've ceded to Apple?

Evan: No, I think that certainly some of these companies can compete with Apple on the high end, but I don't think it's going to be with a curved smartphone, just for the sake of making it curved because you can.

Certainly Samsung is doing pretty well on the ... high-end phones, but again I just don't see the point of having a curved smartphone.

Eric: Well, there you have it. With 150,000 people and thousands of exhibitors, there's going to be some duds. Looks like the LG G Flex might be one of them.

That's all from the LG exhibit. For all your news from CES, check back to Fool on! 

Eric Bleeker, CFA, has no position in any stocks mentioned. Evan Niu, CFA, owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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