Samsung has recently revealed a wave of announcements, surrounding many of their high tech products, including the Galaxy Gear range of smartwatches and two HDTV beasts, ranging from 98-inches to 110-inches in size. We explore some of the South Korean giant’s reveals, of the IFA electronics convention in Berlin.
Galaxy Gear Smartwatch
Samsung has taken a giant leap with its new range of wearable smartwatches, the Samsung Galaxy Gear range. Samsung now look to be the prime player in this niche market, which will likely spur interest from its rivals, Apple and Google.
Samsung’s research director took to the stage at the IFA launch event in Berlin, proclaiming that they were reinventing a “centuries-old product.”
Critically speaking, the Galaxy Gear device has received seem nice praise, indeed. The tiny device is resilient to dust and water (although I wouldn’t recommend deep sea diving with it) and is highly durable. The display is 1.63 inches in size, sports a resolution of 320×320 and is powered by an 800Mhz processor.
The device is voice activated, using S-Voice technology, a feature that can be implemented to set up appointments in the watch’s calendar or perform basic searches for contacts.
In terms of social networking, the Galaxy Gear will not initially support Facebook or Twitter, which seems like a surprising, if not temporary, omission. However, feeds from these networks can be acquired using an integrated application, called Banjo.
The device also has support for recording video and taking still images through use of its two megapixel camera, which is then transferred to the Gear’s internal 4GB storage. This data can then be downloaded to a synced Samsung device at a later date.
Many tech aficionados have remained unconvinced by their preliminary inspections of the Galaxy Gear. Common complaints seem to center around the device’s $299 price tag, along with irritatingly sluggish applications. In addition, the smartwatch needs to be synced with another Samsung device (e.g. a Galaxy phone or tablet) to unlock its full potential; this is a move that many enthusiasts see as prohibitive and anti-competitive.
The ability to make phone calls using the device is, in part, an advantage. However, the device is not actually a standalone cell phone and will need to use a Bluetooth network to send and receive calls.
Due to the device’s sophisticated array of features, it is also perceptibly heavier than its rival device, the Pebble. Some have criticized the smartwatch’s strap, claiming it is not quite as supple or flexible as it should be for every day usage.
Monster HD Televisions
It’s also time to knock down one of the sides of your house, as Samsung has just recently announced their behemoth-sized range of high definition televisions, with models reaching dimensions of 98 and 110 inches.
Samsung had been promising the demonstration of the new range of televisions, since the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), but now seem to have finally delivered the goods.
This move is in line with some manufacturer’s bids to tout the notion of 4K resolution television sets, on a commercial scale. 4K refers to a device’s ability to display a horizontal resolution of 4,000 pixels. Specifically, the technology offers a resolution of up to 4,096×2,160, which is classified as Ultra HD (UHD).
Although some consider the technology has not quite reached its “mainstream” potential, a number of products are selling with 4K capability, including a number of television sets, projectors, monitors and graphics cards; however, smartphone manufacturers are trailing not far behind.
Firstly, Samsung unveiled the S9 98-inch television set. These TVs are related to the 110-inch HDTV (also an S9 model), which had been briefly talked about at CES.
The techie experts, over at Engadget, described their impressions of the sets in action, boasting about the beast’s color, contrast and visuals. When it comes to aesthetics, Samsung have stuck to the “Timeless Gallery” frame appearance, which is fitted with speakers around its black fascia. The mighty televisions, to all intents and purposes, appear to be “propped up,” using a design similar to that of a whiteboard.
These announcements come in the wake of the unveiling of Samsung’s 85-inch S9 HDTV, during this year’s CES event. The 85-inch TV had new, innovative tech features, including a setting that provides extreme contrast ratios (Precision Black Pro), an upscaler, ensuring smaller 1080p video footage can be displayed without gargantuan-sized pixels bounding across the screen, as well as 2.2 channel audio. Aside from this, Samsung has fitted the television with a quad-core processor and continue to provide a glut of smart TV gimmicks, which include apps and the staple voice and gesture control commands.
According to CNET, the 85-inch UN85S9 variant will be pushed out the doors for a whopping $40,000, almost double the price of similar devices from its LG and Sony competitors. On this basis, it would be likely to presume that the new 98 and 110-inch devices are going to retail at a higher price.
For those on a more realistic budget, Samsung have already recently released two much smaller UHD models. 55 and 65-inch models are currently retailing for $5,270 and $7,910, respectively, representing a much healthier proposition.
So far, Samsung looks set to continue to push the envelope, branching out into sparsely explored territory with their new range of Galaxy Gear smartwatches and their beastly 98 and 110-inch HDTV sets. With Samsung boasting such an impressive lineup, we look forward to seeing what the competition can muster.
By: James Fenner