New smartphones with curved displays were the target of a joke by Foxconn Technology Group's CEO, who mocked the products from Foxconn's Korean rivals as devices designed to fit people's rear ends.
"People are talking about, wow, displays that can transform, but they forget that you have to be able to use the device," said Foxconn CEO Terry Gou at the Taiwanese manufacturing giant's shareholders meeting on Wednesday.
Both Samsung Electronics and LG now offer smartphones with curved screens, but Gou is less than impressed with the technology. Foxconn assembles Apple's iPhone and also builds TVs.
Gou recounted visiting the booth of one of the Korean companies at a trade show, where he asked the sales reps why the curved displays were needed.
"They explained that if men want to put a large phone into their jeans, it has to be able to fit their buttocks," he said. "This is a company ranked worldwide No. 1, No. 2 in displays, and their marketing is saying this."
Gou also dismissed the argument that curved phones are easier to hold when making phone calls. "Do you listen to your phone, or do you look at your phone? You look at them. So if you look at them, why do you need a curved screen?" he recounted saying to the sales rep. "If it's a curved screen, then you won't be able to see the display clearly."
It's not the first time Gou has taken a jab at Foxconn's Korean competitors. He has reportedly vowed to beat Samsung in the display business.
Despite Gou's complaints, some critics say they like the curved displays. "The bend in its body actually makes it easier to hold," TechHive said in a review of LG's G Flex phone. "It makes the phone feel more 'premium' than it actually is."
Foxconn plans to respond to its rivals with smartphone innovations of its own. On Wednesday, Gou said the company was developing a handset with a 35-megapixel camera that sits flat on a device's surface. "If you want a 35-megapixel camera on a phone now, you need to buy it as an attachment," he said. "What we are working on will be flat."