Samsung is making some bold moves this year, and the Galaxy S6 line of devices is unlikely to be the only place we see such sweeping changes. Both the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 edge represent not only a new hardware design language, but a refined software experience that most of us here are more than a little excited to spend some extra time with. One of the big questions we've seen in the forums about these two devices has a lot to do with Samsung justifying the existence of the Galaxy S6 edge. Specifically, why someone would choose to spend more money on a pair of curved edges and what the benefits to those curves actually are.
It's a question Samsung will undoubtedly be spending quite a bit in the way of marketing dollars to explain soon, but the bottom line with the Galaxy S6 edge is style and convenience. As long as those are things that matter to you, the Galaxy S6 edge is likely calling your name right now.
Unlike the experience we saw with the Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy Note Edge, the software on the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge is almost entirely identical. When you launch the camera app, the buttons don't float to the curves like the Note Edge. There's no digital ruler, or quick list of special curved display widgets. When you are anywhere but the home screen, there are no differences between the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge. While on the homescreen, however, there are a few features that exist to take advantage of the curved display. These features largely focus on contacts, and adding subtle tools to make accessing your favorite contacts and discretely being informed that you have an incoming call.
Samsung's People edge feature lets you set five people as favorite contacts, and lets you quickly access their information. A quick swipe from the edge will reveal five photo bubbles and a settings gear, where you can choose to place a call or send a message by tapping on one of the bubbles. This same feature sends a pulsing wave animation to the edge of the display if you have the phone face down and get a call from one of these five, and if you miss that call or message when you pick up the phone you'll see a bubble you can pull on to get a quick glance at the animation. This is the stuff you see when the US carriers started their "Six Appeal" ads before the launch of the S6.
The Galaxy S6 edge also has a special night clock that places the time on the edge of an otherwise all black display, and if you tap on the display in this mode the time will get a little brighter for a second. It's a tiny thing that isn't all that different from most other night clock apps for Android, but the curved display makes it so people who have a nightstand at the same height as their face can just glance at see the time.
While the software suite that came with the Galaxy Note Edge has a lot of cute ideas in it, the overall feel with the Galaxy S6 edge is all about refining the experience and sticking to quick things that users could come to rely on. It doesn't look like much on paper, but smartphone manufacturers creating their own "must have" experiences are a huge part of what keeps users coming back. Whether or not Samsung's new features will be hailed as universe-altering like Moto Display is to a lot of Motorola users has yet to be seen, but it sure is going to be fun figuring it out together.