Samsung has wrapped up its media event held at IFA, in Berlin, Germany, to seemingly mixed reactions from those lucky enough to have gotten their hands on the three new products announced during the company’s corporate presser, yesterday.
Details after the fold.
Hosted by The Gadget Show’s Jason Bradbury, Samsung company executives, product researchers, and marketing experts unveiled a total of three new products at the company’s second ‘Unpacked’ event of this year.
Held in the same venue used to publicly announce the Galaxy Note 2, products introduced at the event, included; the expected Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition), and finally, the “Galaxy Gear” – (an entirely new product, and the company’s first foray into the “wearables” market).
Galaxy Note 3
Perhaps the biggest visual change to Samsung’s flagship mobile handset you’re going to notice when you get your hands on it, later this year, is the extension of the display’s screen size to 5.7-inches. That’s up from the 5.55″ (140.9mm) display found on the Galaxy Note 2, which was announced last year.
Featuring a slightly thinner bezel than its predecessor, the Galaxy Note 3 has kept the exact same display width — essentially seeing the handset grow “taller” in size, while maintaining that all-important “aspect ratio” for the purpose of watching video content on its super-AMOLED display.
Still carrying that HD 1080p resolution, the device is backed with that previously rumored “new material” – which turned out to be faux leather. While some are bound to try and throw “skeumorphism” jokes out there, leather isn’t as bad as it first sounds — especially when you compare it to the Note 2′s (almost “tacky”-looking) plastic shell.
In terms of software innovation, Samsung isn’t doing a whole a lot with the Galaxy Note 3. For the most part, it has introduced a new and unique dynamic for navigation of its mobile OS, which appeared to be a functionality “bump” rather than anything which could be considered “revolutionary.”
There are three pen gestures you need to remember: Dot, Circle and Box. The company explained that using these three touch aspects of the OS you’ll be able to understand (and navigate) your personal content stored on your Note 3, with ease.
It works like this:
Dot – Wherever you see a dot on the screen you can now use this, with the “S Pen” stylus, to launch the handset’s new “Air Command” ‘Fan’ menu.
Circle – Need to capture web content in a snap? … Samsung is introducing ‘Circle’ which allows you to now physically circle content with the S Pen to save it for later reading, or sharing with friends over the world’s many available social networks.
Box – Perhaps you need to launch another app whilst taking advantage of the content in your current app? — With Samsung’s new ‘Box’ software feature, simply dragging a box region onto your screen will launch a quick access menu the same size as your selection. Just choose an app, and the Note 3 will position that live-working app in the same place as you drew your virtual ‘box’ selection, allowing you to use two apps at once.
In addition, the company showed how the handset will also be capable of split-screen multitasking. Controlled by “Air Command,” the new feature will see you able to ‘snap’ applications into positions on your Note 3′s display, side-by-side, (similar to Windows 8), and activating copy and paste will then allow you to transfer content from one app to another, with just a tap and drag.
Supporting the most advanced LTE technology – “Category 4,” Samsung’s new smartphone is set to ship in both 32GB and 64GB flavors, and will be available globally.
U.S carriers Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are expected to begin taking preorders for the Galaxy Note 3, on Sept 25.
Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition)
Alongside detailing the future of its flagship smartphone handset with Galaxy Note 3, Samsung yesterday also pulled the wraps off the next iteration of its flagship tablet device. The Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) now features a 2560 x 1600 LCD WQXGA display with 300-pixels-per-inch, and is backed by the same faux leather seen on the rear of the Note 3, (available in either solid white or black).
On the front of the device, you’ll also find a 2MP camera which sits alongside a proximity sensor. Meanwhile, on the back of the new tablet you’ll find a 8MP camera, complete with ‘BSI,’ ‘AF’ and ‘LED’ flash modules situated underneath, for taking those low-light photos.
In terms of actual processing power, the ‘3G and WiFi’ version of the tablet is now powered by a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 chipset. There’s also a WiFi-only model, which will run on the 1.9GHz Exynos Octa-core chipset.
Here’s what our good friends at Engadget had to say, after getting their hands on Samsung’s 2014 Edition of the Note 10.1:
“In our brief time with the device, we expectedly had no qualms with the snappy performance, largely thanks to the next-gen silicon. Also, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that unlike the Note 3, the 2014 edition doesn’t come with a removable back cover nor replaceable battery. Still, we doubt that the 8,220mAh battery stuffed inside the device will be much of a reason for anyone to complain; this should give you more than enough life out of your tablet in between charges.”
The 2014 Edition of the Galaxy Note 10.1 is set to be powered by Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) and will arrive sporting support for “dual-band” Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac support, as well as Bluetooth 4.0 and USB 2.0.
The device will be available in either 16, 32 or 64GB models, all of which feature support for microSD storage extension (up to an additional 64 gigabytes). Both the “Jet Black” and “Classic White” models of the tablet will be offered globally, and will be available starting in Q3, 2013.
Perhaps the star of yesterday’s show, though, was the Galaxy Gear. Described as a “fashion statement” which is set to take the world by storm, (we’ll reserve our opinion on that until we’ve had a chance to get our hands on one), the long-rumored “Galaxy Gear” arrived just as predicted — it’s essentially a “smartwatch” with app-driven capabilities.
The device will connect wirelessly with both your Note 3 and Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition), (with software upgrades for older Galaxy devices set to add support for the Gear, shortly), and will largely provide the expected functionality you might have come to expect from a “smartwatch,” such as; the checking of your SMS messages, unread e-mail messages, Twitter notifications, (and more).
What’s specifically interesting about the Gear is its support for existing Android-based applications. Samsung noted that the device will launch with support for approximately 10,000 apps, and more will be added on a continuing basis. With the Gear’s 4GB of built-in storage, though, you’ll only be able to carry with you up to 10 of those 10,000 apps at any one time.
Designed with the idea of “smart freedom” in mind, the device features a square 320 x 320 pixel AMOLED touchscreen display, that arrives at a size of just 1.63-inches.
The wrist-based product is powered by a 800MHz processor, and features a 315mAh battery for up to 25 hours of battery life. The smartwatch is also set to arrive with the nice addition of a BSI sensor (back-illuminated sensor), alongside “autofocus” — both of which are features of the watch’s lens, which is physically ‘mounted’ into the product’s wrist strap.
Using this (almost concealed) spy cam, you’ll find yourself able to take 1.9-megapixel photos, alongside 10-second video clips at full 720p HD. This module supports both 640 x 640 or VGA resolution, and video taken with the wrist device can be recorded with sound.
If you’re at all interested in getting your hands on Samsung’s new smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear will set you back $299 when it starts shipping, later this month. Those in the U.S and Japan, however, will have to wait until next month before they can experience Samsung’s connected “smart freedom” platform for themselves.
If you happened to miss Samsung’s media presser held in Berlin, yesterday, you might be pleased to hear that you can now watch the entire event again (above).