Samsung wants to change our perception of the smartphone even as it remains the big constant in the industry. So in Samsung’s scheme of things the smartphone can become your notepad, your smartwatch and even a 360-degree virtual entertainment screen. The Korean company has been endeavouring to achieve the first the first two for a few years now, but the third is a completely new front in innovation.
On the sidelines of the annual IFA tech show in Berlin, the Korean tech giant on Wednesday announced the fourth verison of its flagship device, the Galaxy Note. The Galaxy Note 4 will be an upgrade in many ways, primarily with its note-taking abilities thanks to the improved S Pen and the addition of the Smart Select and Snap Note features that add new functionalities — the former lets you clip and share just a small part of the screen, the latter lets you clip just a part of the new photo even as you take it.
The phone will also have a 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED 2560x1440p screen which will set it apart from other such screen in the market and a 16MP rear camera to make use of this screen. The selfie culture gripping the world gets a new boost with the addition of a 120-degree wide angle lens to the 3.7MP front camera.
While the phone will be powered by a 2.7 GHz quad-core processor, we in India are most likely to see the 1.9 GHz Octa-Core (1.9GHz Quad + 1.3GHz Quad-Core) version as was the case with the Samsung Galaxy S5. The Note 4 has an improved fingerprint scanner which blends well into the familiar design language.
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But the real innovation here has come in the form of a new device called the called the Note Edge, which adds a curved screen extention to the Note 4. The rest of the device is the same, but the curved glass just gives it a new dimension by displaying news tickers from partners like Yahoo, or just showing your notifications or night clock in a more subtle manner.Though both the Note devices will hit the market in October, the Edge will not make it to all countries.
Pushing the innovation a step ahead, the Note 4 will power a completely new form factor called the Gear VR. This is basically a wearable virtual reality goggle like the Oculus Rift, but powered entirely by the Note 4, which is the screen that gamers and movie enthusiasts for whom this device is intended will peer into. For the hundreds of tech journalists and bloggers who had thronged the Tempodrome set amidst the historic locales of the German capital, this was indeed the Aha! moment of the afternoon. While Samsung has tied up with Oculus to fine tune the device, the Gear VR shows the immense confidence the company has in pushing a smartphone to become a processor straining, graphic hungry virtual reality device.
Samsung also announced the next of its smartwatches, the Gear S, which will now come with a curved AMOLED screen and will be able to live a unfettered life thanks to inbuilt 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. Except for the first set-up and later software upgrades, the Gear S will be able to de-hyphenate its existence from the Galaxy devices it was yoked to in the past. It will be able to function as a full fledged phone in the process.
With all these devices, Samsung showed a clear intention to target the premium market which is fast getting separated from the volume segment. So the phones will come Swarovski cover options and watch will have also have a crystal studded strap option. Plus, there will a Stylus option from Mont Blanc.
The writer is in Berlin on the invitation of Samsung India.