Samsung Electronics on Thursday announced the global launch of the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5.
Both devices, says the company, represent Samsung’s commitment to the big screen smartphone market, which Samsung pioneered in 2011 with the original Galaxy Note.
The Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5 “blend form and function with industry leading features, including: the best screen technology, the most advanced camera for high quality photos and videos, the latest fast wireless and wired charging, and an incredibly powerful processor”.
With increased 4GB RAM, both smartphones offer the most powerful capacity and processing power on the market, enabling more seamless multi-tasking, faster posting of updates to social networks, and better performance with graphic-heavy games.
With its curved 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED screen, the Galaxy S6 edge+ makes the edge experience even bigger to provide a more immersive multimedia experience. The newly-designed Galaxy Note5 provides a productivity tools such as SideSync, along with a more refined 5th generation S Pen capabilities to better serve the major multitasker.
“At Samsung, we believed in the promise that large screen smartphones could actively address some consumer needs by providing users with a better viewing experience and more productivity on-the-go,” said Craige Fleischer, Director of Integrated Mobility at Samsung Electronics South Africa. “With the launch of the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note5, we’re re-emphasising our ongoing commitment to bold, fearless innovation that meets the needs of our consumers.”
Galaxy Note5 perfect for multi-taskers
The Galaxy Note5 is an upgrade to Samsung’s flagship Galaxy Note range – more powerful and more personalised than ever. Inspired by the design legacy of the Galaxy S6, it ergonomically fits in one hand with a narrower bezel and curved back. The flat screen is great to write on and the curved shape makes it easier to use the phone with one hand.
Engineered to help people get more done faster, the Galaxy Note5 includes an all new S Pen that feels more solid and balanced in the user’s hand, offering improved writing capabilities and a variety of practical applications. A unique clicking mechanism makes the S Pen pop out with just one quick click. Users can now quickly jot down ideas or information when the screen is off without even unlocking the phone. The ‘Air Command’ feature has become more intuitive and practical as well; now the icon hovers for instant access to all of S Pen uses from any screen at any time. Users can also annotate on PDF files and capture lengthy web articles or long images simultaneously via ‘Scroll capture’.
Powerful Core Galaxy Features
Both the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note5 feature multimedia capabilities with deeper screen contrast and details thanks to Samsung’s industry-leading 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display.
As social networking becomes more ubiquitous, consumers expect to share the moments of their lives through photos and video and Samsung is enabling that desire with improved video capabilities.
These include Steady Video, which provides Video Digital Image Stabilisation on both the front and rear cameras for sharp, crisp video on-the-go, and Video Collage Mode, which allows users to record and edit short videos easily in various frames and effects. The Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note5 also feature 4K(UHD) video filming and Live Broadcast, which let users instantly live stream Full HD video straight from the phone to any individual, group of contacts, or even the public through YouTube Live. Anyone who receives the YouTube link from a Galaxy S6 edge+ or Note5 user is able to enjoy a live stream video from his or her smartphone, tablet, PC or Smart TV with YouTube connectivity.
Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5 users will also benefit from Samsung’s advanced camera system, including Quick Launch (double click the home button to launch the camera in less than one second), Auto Real-time High Dynamic Range (HDR), and Smart Optical Image Stabilisation(OIS) and brand-new filters.
The Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note5 feature Samsung’s fast wired and wireless charging technology and the embedded wireless charging technology is compatible with virtually any wireless pad available today. With wired charging, both devices can be fully charged in approximately 90 minutes, and through Samsung’s latest wireless charger, each device can be fully charged in approximately 120 minutes.
Samsung’s newest devices are further upgraded to support SideSync, which offers both wireless and wired PC-smartphone integration for seamless connections across devices. Thanks to auto-detection and an ultra-quick setup, users can instantly connect their Samsung device to their PC or tablet for easy access to files and data across all platforms and operating systems.
In addition, Samsung’s Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note5 display enhanced security features with KNOX Active Protection (built into devices / out of the box) and My KNOX (app with simple/fast setup) to further protect sensitive personal and work data.
The Galaxy S6 edge+ will be available in South Africa from September 2015 and the Note5 from November 2015. Both have 32GB or 64GB storage options and are available in White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum and Silver Titanium depending on market and carrier.
Samsung S10 in lock-step with its rivals?
Tonight Samsung will kick off the next round in the smartphone wars with the S10 range, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.
When Samsung unveils the new S10 smartphone at an event in San Francisco today, it will mark the beginning of the 2019 round of World War S. That stands for smartphone wars, although Samsung would like it to be all about the S.
Ever since the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4 in 2013, Samsung has held both technology and thought leadership in the handset world. Back then, Apple’s iPhone 5 was the last device from the American manufacturer that could lay claim to being the best smartphone in the world. With the 2013 launch of the iPhone 5s, Apple entered an era of incremental improvement, playing catch-up, and succumbing to market trends driven by its competitors.
Six years later, Samsung is fighting off the same threat. Its Chinese rival, Huawei, suddenly wrested away leadership in the past year, with the P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro regarded as at last equal to the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and Galaxy Note 9 – if not superior. Certainly, from a cost perspective, Huawei took the lead with its more competitive prices, and therefore more value for money.
Huawei also succeeded where Apple failed: introducing more economical versions of its flagship phones. The iPhone 5c, SE and XR have all been disappointments in the sales department, mainly because the price difference was not massive enough to attract lower-income users. In contrast, the Lite editions of the Huawei P9, P10 and P20 have been huge successes, especially in South Africa.
Today, for the first time in half a decade, Samsung goes into battle on a field laid out by its competitors. It is expected to launch the Galaxy S10 Plus, S10 and S10 e, with the latter being the Samsung answer to the strategy of the iPhone XR and Huawei P20 Lite.
Does this mean Samsung is now in lock-step with its rivals, focused on matching their strategies rather than running ahead of them?
It may seem that way, but Samsung has a few tricks up its electronic sleeve. For example, it is possible it will use the S10 launch to announce its coming range of foldable phones, expected to be called the Galaxy X, Galaxy F, Galaxy Fold or Galaxy Flex. It previewed the technology at a developer conference in San Francisco last November, and this will be the ideal moment to reclaim technology leadership by going into production with foldables – even if the S10 range itself does not shoot out the lights.
However, the S10 handsets will look very different to their predecessors. First, before switching on the phone, they will be notable by the introduction of what is being called the punch-hole display, which breaks away from the current trend of having a notch at the top of the phone to house front-facing cameras and speakers. Instead, the punch-hole is a single round cut-out that will contain the front camera. It is the key element of Samsung’s “Infinity O” display – the O represents the punchhole – which will be the first truly edge-to-edge display, on the sides and top.
The S10 range will use the new Samsung user interface, One UI, also unveiled at the developer conference. It replaces the previous “skin”, unimaginatively called the Samsung Experience, to introduce a strong new interface brand.
One UI went live on the Note 8 last month, giving us a foretaste, and giving Samsung a chance to iron out the bugs in the field. It is a less cluttered interface, addressing one of the biggest complaints about most manufacturer skins. Only Nokia and Google Pixel handsets offer pure Android in the local market, but One UI is Samsung’s best compromise yet.
It introduces a new interaction area, in the bottom half, reachable with the thumb, with a viewing area at the top, allowing the user to work one-handed on the bottom area while still having apps or related content visible above. One UI also improves gesture navigation – the phone picks up hand movements without being touched – and notification management.
The S10 range will be the first phones to feature the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip, at least for the South African and American markets. That makes it 5G compatible, for when this next generation of mobile broadband becomes available in these markets.
They will also be the first phones to feature Wi-Fi 6, the next generation of the Wi-Fi mobile wireless standard. It will perform better in congested areas, and data transfer will be up to 40% faster than the previous generation.
The phones will be the first to use ultrasound for fingerprint detection. If Samsung gets it right, this will make it the fastest in-screen fingerprint sensor on the market, and allows for a little leeway if one pushes the finger down slightly outside the fingerprint reader surface. It does mean, however, that screen protectors will have to be redesigned to avoid blocking the detection.
Not enough firsts? There are a few more.
Most notably, it will be the first phone range to feature 1 Terabyte (TB) storage – that’s a thousand Gigabytes (GB) – at least for the top-of-the-range devices. Samsung last month announced that it would be the first manufacturer to make 1TB built-in onboard flash storage. Today, it will deploy this massive advantage as it once again weaponises its technology in the fight for smartphone domination.
- Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee
IoT set to improve authentication
By Sherry Zameer, Senior Vice President, Internet of Things Solutions for CISMEA region at Gemalto
As it rapidly approaches maturity, the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to continue a transformational trajectory, introducing new efficiencies in multiple fields by allowing measurement and analysis on a scale that has never been possible before. From agriculture to logistics, from retail to hospitality, from traffic to health, from the home to the office, the applications for monitoring ”things” are limited only by the imagination.
And South African (and African) businesses are showing abundant imagination in their practical deployments of IoT solutions in multiple settings, creating a better tomorrow through almost universal measurement and the introduction of new levels of convenience – including how to access locations, devices and services securely.
Any company, whether South African or international, should bear in mind that understanding consumer expectations can be the key to unlocking the full potential of IoT devices and related smart services.
According to Gemalto’s latest Connected Living study, improving the way consumers authenticate themselves to services is one of the most anticipated benefits of IoT, highlighting a desire for a more seamless and secure IoT experience.
Consumers are interested in advanced ways of authenticating themselves through automatic (based on behavioral patterns) or biometric techniques, lessening the need to have to intervene manually, all in the name of a much more streamlined authentication process. Smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Samsung have already placed fingerprint and facial recognition high on the agenda. There is also a widespread positive sentiment towards IoT’s potential for improving the quality of home life through connected, smart appliances.
Personalised services is something else that wins consumers over. In fact, a fluid, personalised and unified experience with continuity of services, together with security and privacy, is critical for the successful implementation of any technology.
And those types of services are today quite possible. With everything being connected – from small gadgets to digital solutions for large enterprises – IoT is no longer just a buzzword. That much is clear in a piece from Vodacom IoT managing executive Deon Liebenberg. Writing for IOL Online, Liebenberg provides insight into the sheer range of applications for IoT: the 20 use cases he cites range from the obvious, like transport and logistics, to the connected home and wearables; he even suggests tagging pets with IoT transmitters, for those who always need to know the whereabouts of the family cat.
Low-cost tags fitted to cats, dogs, lamp posts, shipping containers or other items are just one part of the puzzle, however. There are other two pieces; arguably the most complex part is the availability of communication networks in areas where there aren’t any WiFi networks, or indeed, anything else.
And that’s where the bigger takeaway from Liebenberg’s piece and other IoT trends articles becomes apparent. The communication networks are there, as are those tags: dedicated IoT networks (like LoraWAN, SigFox and narrowband IoT) are all available in South Africa.
So, too, is the third and final essential component. Software which is able to process the data generated by the tag and transmitted over the IoT network and into the internet. In this regard, there’s no shortage of solutions available from cloud providers like AWS and Azure; electronics giant Siemens, too, is in on the action, having recently launched a new cloud-based IoT operating system to develop applications and services for process industries, including oil and gas and water management.
This combination means it is quite possible right now to enable just about any use case. Business owners, who will know best how IoT can add value in their organisation, can now see their ideas becoming reality. Most crucial of all, IoT solutions delivering new levels of efficiency and convenience are not only possible, they are able to be offered with the simple and effective security that will drive consumer acceptance.