The Galaxy Note Edge feels like an unfinished product, Edge screen is under-utilized
Last year, when the Galaxy Note Edge was unveiled along with the Galaxy Note 4, Samsung said that it would be a “limited edition concept device”. However, Samsung went on to release it in almost all its important markets, be it the US, the UK, India, or some other Asian and European markets. Granted, the device has a beautiful curved edge Super AMOLED display, but what good is it if it serves no real purpose? Samsung is yet to find a real use of the curved part of the screen. Right now, the Note Edge comes with 19 panels which can be set on the curved edge of the display, but only a few of them are actually useful in day-to-day lives.
The Notification Panel might have been quite helpful, but whenever you receive a notification from an app, the Notification Panel just shows the app icon instead of the actual information within the notification, and it can’t display quick action buttons beneath notifications. This limits the actual use of the panel. Other Edge Panels such as Favorite Apps, Bookmarks, and 10 Favorite Contacts are just shortcuts to things which can be achieved even from the home screen of any Android smartphone. None of the other panels are much useful or provide any extra utility which isn’t available in Android widgets.
Samsung has failed to add some obvious things like quick settings toggles, even though it would make sense to have such features on the Edge screen. Even in apps like Contacts, Samsung could have moved the whole alphabet strip on to the Edge Panel, but it didn’t. The curved edge part of the screen could be used in other apps like Gallery, a web browser, or even while using an on-screen keyboard (for things like moving a cursor, or for functions like cut/copy/paste). One other idea that could’ve made a Galaxy Note Edge user’s life easier is the placement of notification bar pull-down button on the Edge Panel.
A couple of weeks ago, Samsung has released an SDK for the developers, but we hear that it is quite limited in terms of functionality, making it very hard for developers to develop panels for the Note Edge. While interacting with a developer who is making a third-party panel for the Note Edge, he told us that the SDK is extremely limited, causing hold-ups in the development. He had to hack a lot of stuff to get things working and that the Samsung developers forum isn’t helping him in any way.
Even two months after the launch, only one new panel has been added to the list of stock panels, which makes it look like Samsung released the Note Edge too early with very less support for the Edge Screen. Samsung has done such things in the past, and I am talking about rushing unfinished products into the market. Remember the Galaxy Round, which was announced back in late 2013, but never saw a mass market release? Samsung needs to stop releasing unfinished products. It’s likely that we will see developer support picking up in the coming months, especially since the Note Edge is widely available.
It is expected that Samsung will announce a curved edge screen variant of its upcoming flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S6. We hope that Samsung figures out how to make a better use of the curved edge screen on smartphones by the time it announces the Galaxy S6. For now, there doesn’t seem to be much reason for consumers to pick up the device with such a high price tag, other than for the wow factor that you get from having a phone with a display that curves to the side.