Unpacked may actually be the antithesis of what Samsung has done with each of its product unveilings of late. Rather, the mobile giant continues to pack more and more into its devices, typically resulting in a chorus of applause from the audience, as evidenced on multiple occasions at today’s Unpacked 2015 at Lincoln Center in New York City.
So what’s new? It came as no surprise that the primary announcements were the official release of the Samsung Note 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ (that’s a mouthful)—after all, rumors and images have been circulating the Web for weeks. That said, they are now officially here. U.S. preorders begin today with product availability on August 21st.
The obvious change: size. Each features an impressive 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display. Tech speak aside, these devices boast the most impressive phone displays to date. While they won’t replace your 65-inch 4k screen at home—though 4k video can be filmed with these new phones—mobile viewing is sure to exceed any expectations.
What can you do with the larger size, besides enjoy a decent experience watching your favorite teams’ games while on the road? Justin Denison, head of mobile products at Samsung Electronics America listed a number of answers, including video conferencing, collaboration and other tasks, all of which are part of our daily business processes. In doing so, Denison continues, during the consumer launch of the new phones, Samsung’s mobile devices are not just the next big thing, but the next big thing in business communications.
“Bigger screens have gone from nice-to-have to must-haves,” he said. “The mobile phone is also now the primary screen in our lives.”
As such, it will continue to be called up for more powerful processing to keep up with more and more tasks. To handle the increased load, the new devices boast more RAM than Samsung has packed into any of its previous devices, a whopping 4GB, which will allow even the biggest multi-taskers to keep up.
Of course, the key benefit to the Note is the famous S-Pen, which Samsung has also enhanced for the Note 5, creating a more solid and balanced feel in the hand along with a more precise and sensitive tip, and a spring-enabled click mechanism to remove the stylus on steroids for use.
“The S-Pen is to the Note what the mouse is to the PC,” said Denison. “The new S-Pen is like writing with a ballpoint pen on your screen.”
The Note 5 also features enhanced scroll-enabled screen capture, allowing users to more efficiently capture more information, and without having to collect multiple screenshots. It results in a simpler way to gather ideas and save them for later use. In fact, transferring the saved images—and any other files—between the phones and laptops and PCs is an absolute breeze. There’s no more emailing to yourself then saving the files from your emails. Instead, SideSync allows direct connectivity between the phones and any Bluetooth-enabled PC or laptop for drag-and-drop file transfer, as well as the ability to control the any-phone features from the larger screen. Think Windows, with one window being your phone and the other your laptop folder.
If you would prefer something more stylish—which the curved screen of the edge certainly qualifies as—the edge+ is a larger version of the Galaxy S6 edge, but still a single-hand device when needed, according to Alana Cotton, vice president of mobile computing marketing, Samsung Electronics America. With the edge version, users also get the edge-enabled features from the original Galaxy S6 edge, as well as the Apps edge feature, a customizable edge menu that keeps most frequently used or most important apps, contact and features at users’ fingertips for easy access.
I mentioned the 4k video capability earlier. In addition, users of both devices will be able to share experiences with friends, family, colleagues and literally anyone else they need to, literally in real time, thanks to Live Broadcast, a streaming feature in partnership with YouTube that allows live streaming, accessible via a YouTube link, for live sharing—move over Periscope and Meerkat. Whether you need to collaborate on a wiring issue in your data center or want to let your in-laws see your infant take her first steps, Samsung makes it easy.
And, because there is still a sizable user base that prefers the old BlackBerry physical QWERTY keyboards—including many that are holding on to their old BB devices because of it—Samsung is also featuring a protective case that doubles as a physical keyboard, which simply snaps onto the front of the device for easy typing. Sensors recognize the keyboard and shift the touchscreen content upward, so nothing is lost. Good news for BlackBerry owners who have been looking for a reason.
With all these features and apps, one would imagine the battery drain would be significant. If the initial S6 phones are any indication, that isn’t the case at all and, even when the battery does get low, the devices boast a very short charge time, as well as built-in wireless charging, currently requiring Samsung’s wireless charging pad. But, Denison predicts this is only temporary, and the not-very-distant future will feature a world where charging surfaces (not pads or cradles) will be found in homes, retail stores, restaurants and businesses.
“It will eventually become the most common thing to simply place your phone on a surface and it will charge,” he said. “We are betting on a cord-free future.”
The bottom line is that, while none of these new capabilities may be a total game changer alone, collectively, they support Samsung’s drive toward both a unified mobile existence for users and an understanding that mobile is the new normal. They also continue to drive Samsung’s message that, while it continues to enhance its consumer features, at the same time, it has developed an enterprise-grade mobile device line, which will only continue to evolve as partners and customers create new ways of using the innovation Samsung continues to unpack.
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