Samsung held a virtual event and dropped a bunch of new products, including wireless headphones, the new Note device, tablets, and more. What all is this stuff?
Five devices were revealed during the event:
- Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Note20 Ultra, the fastest in the Note series yet.
- Tab S7 and S7+, versatile tablets for productivity and creativity.
- Galaxy Watch3, a premium smartwatch along with advanced health features.
- Galaxy Buds Live, stylish and ergonomic earbuds with amazing sound quality; and
- Galaxy Z Fold2, the next-generation foldable smartphone with enhanced refinements.
And, a partnership with Microsoft to make the integration between Android devices and Windows work more seamlessly.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20
Samsung wants you to know that they’re faster, with better cameras, and with the toughest glass ever used in a smartphone thus far.
Ultra is Samsung’s way of saying, this is the larger phone with higher specs.
The regular Galaxy Note 20
- AMOLED Full HD screen
- F2.0 telephoto
- 64MP camera
- $999.99 for a model with 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM.
The Note 20 Ultra
- AMOLED Quad HD screen
- F3.0 telephoto
- 108MP wide lens camera
- $1,299.99 for the 128GB storage / 12GB RAM model and $1,449.99 to bump that storage up to 512GB.
Basically, you get more RAM, a better screen, the same F1.8 wide angle lens, way higher pixels, and a slightly faster telephoto on the smaller phone.
According to NPD data, Android tablet sales are up 40% during the pandemic. That’s on top of a 28% increase in 2019.
What that means is, there’s a market the Tab S7 and S7+ can address. If you’re all in on Android and Android works for you, then it’s possible that a tablet version makes sense.
What’s this partnership with Microsoft?
Of course, you could also run Android apps on a Chromebook, and get sort of the phone and tablet experience on a device with a keyboard.
But if your computer is a Windows computer, there’s an interesting partnership with Samsung taking place.
You can link select Android phones with Windows. When you do, all your phone’s apps will appear on the desktop in a window. You can click on them, and they launch the Android app on Windows, so you don’t have to move your hands from your computer if you get a notification.
And, to keep things at the ready, you can pin Android apps to your desktop or Start Menu.
At launch, you can run a single Android app on Windows. Later on, they say this will expand to multiple apps.
In a way, it feels a lot like what Apple is doing in macOS Big Sur, bringing iOS apps to the Mac. Or, it’s like what Microsoft was trying years ago with UWP apps for Windows Phone.
Some companies are trying to run the same apps on the full-size computer, others are bringing mobile versions over. In either case, it’s a unification of the experience.
Microsoft is also syncing Samsung reminders to MS To-Do, Outlook, and Teams.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
You could be forgiven for thinking the Galaxy Watch 3 runs on Android Wear OS. It does not; it’s Samsung’s own Tizen OS.
The Galaxy Watch 3 comes in 41mm and 45mm sizes, and is lighter and thinner than previous Galaxy watches, which should make them more comfortable to wear. The design is the result of a partnership with IWC Schaffhausen.
The Galaxy Watch 3 comes in stainless steel, and will be available in Titanium later this year. But what does one do for you?
- sleep tracking
- step tracking
- fall detection (like the Apple Watch)
Later this year, the Watch 3 will gain
- blood oxygen (SpO2 and VO2 Max) monitoring,
- and in Korea, it will be able to monitor blood pressure and electrocardiography (EKG).
Samsung is working with the FDA to obtain clearance for those features in the US, but hasn’t obtained it yet.
Galaxy Buds Live
Wireless earbuds that don’t have stalks sticking out of your ears!
I’m just gonna quote Joanna Stern’s tweet, and then my own.
Samsung Buds Live review unit just came in pic.twitter.com/zVCVyfuAhX— Joanna Stern (@JoannaStern) August 5, 2020
Samsung Buds Live review unit just came in pic.twitter.com/WLDQvLKc2y— victor marks (@vmarks) August 5, 2020
Yes, the beans are really earbuds. No, not the coffee beans, the coffee-colored beans, which are a limited edition colorway.
Galaxy Z Fold2
Samsung thinks it’s learned from its past mistakes on folding screen phones.
The Galaxy Z Fold2 tries to combine the size of a phone with the usefulness of a tablet. Mostly, I hope they learned from having used tech reporters as beta testers. Problems in the past were screen peeling, screen not functioning after a short period of folds, and other signs of it just-not-being-ready.
Now, it’s back, and the two screens are impressive, edge-to-edge, and large: the Cover Screen is 6.2-inches and the Main Screen is 7.6-inches. Foldable devices are one of these kinds of products where it’s going to take people using them for the software to develop enough to make the experience worthwhile.
The Galaxy Z Fold2 is not available at this time, but more information will be available in September.