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Personal tech: Galaxy Round throws a curve into market

Samsung today will release the first smartphone with a curved display.

The Galaxy Round, available only in South Korea for now, has a curved 5.7-inch screen using advanced display technology called organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, technology.

Samsung says the curve will make the phone easier to grip.

The high-end gizmo has some features that make use of the display's curve, such as playing the next song in a music playlist by tilting the phone to the left or to the right.

The curved display is an initial step before handset makers develop smartphones with a flexible display that one day might be folded like a map, experts say.

The Galaxy Round goes on sale today for 1.1 million won ($1,003) without a service contract, making it one of the priciest smartphones on the market.

New products: A smoke detector that knows when to shut up

Smoke detectors have an irritating habit of shrieking when there's no cause for alarm, and always seem to wait until the middle of the night to chirp when their batteries run low.

Tony Fadell, a gadget guru who designed the Nest thermostat, is counting on his latest innovation to prove that a smoke detector can be sleek, smart and appreciated.

Besides sensing smoke, the Nest Protect is designed to detect unsafe levels of carbon monoxide.

The Nest Protect is also programmed to deliver early warnings in spoken words instead of a shrill alarm to give a home's occupants a chance to check on whether there's just too much smoke coming from the oven, steam from the shower or a real fire hazard.

If it's determined that there is nothing to worry about, all it takes is a wave of the arm to tell Nest Protect to be quiet.

It will go on sale next month for $129.

Personal finance: Disney certificates become a collectible

Stock certificates issued by the Walt Disney Co. are heading off to Never Never Land.

The stock, which features images of Dumbo, Bambi, Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters, have long been a collector's item and are pitched as a way to teach children about investing. However, U.S. corporations have been switching to electronic stocks for years and next Wednesday Disney will follow suit.

Given their popularity, there may be a rush to buy in the next week.

Phones: Prepaid account plans jump in popularity

U.S. consumers are increasingly signing up for a type of wireless service plan popular around the world that's traditionally not been in favor here — prepaid accounts.

Prepaid plans typically allow consumers to purchase services in advance in bite-sized chunks, and allow them to cancel at any time. In contrast, the standard plans offered by the big carriers generally require users to sign up for pricey two-year service agreements.

Although prepaid accounts still represent just under a quarter of all wireless service plans in the United States, they're gaining ground rapidly. Half of all new wireless accounts added between 2008 and last year were prepaid ones.

Personal tech: Galaxy Round throws a curve into market 10/10/13 [Last modified: Thursday, October 10, 2013 12:39pm]
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