Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Note Edge


Samsung has something to prove. The company sells more smartphones than anyone else. It is the only Android hardware maker that matters. But it doesn’t have Apple’s brand power. Samsung isn’t cool.

That’s why Samsung took pains getting its latest message out one week before Apple’s carpet-bomb publicity for it iPhone launch.

Samsung has two new Galaxy Note models. First, there’s the updated standard Galaxy Note. It comes with improvements to the screen, camera and pen. There are also microphone updates that improve voice recording. Just as important, the Galaxy Note has moved from a plastic case to a metal frame.

Samsung’s first meaningful smartphone innovation


Samsung fans will argue otherwise, but for my money the Galaxy Note Edge marks the company’s first truly innovative smartphone idea. The right hand side of the phone’s display curves around the phone’s edge. That effectively gives a second touch screen that can be used for icons acting as buttons, notifications or even an alarm clock when on your bedside table.

Although the idea is innovative and it looks clever, Samsung hasn’t done a great job explaining how a curved screen is useful in practice.

Given that the Edge will sell at a premium over the everyday Galaxy Note 4 price and earlier Notes already cost the same as an iPhone, I suspect this is strictly for well-heeled users looking for something different from an everyday phone. I’m prepared to be convinced otherwise.

Low key Galaxy Note


For some reason Samsung treats the Galaxy S as its flagship relegating the Galaxy Note to a lesser role.

For my money, the Galaxy Note is a more interesting device, mainly because it attempts something different. The Galaxy S range tries too hard to be an iPhone. It misses the point by cramming in a bewildering array of hard-to-manage apps and features. Then there’s the build quality — it simply doesn’t feel as nice as an iPhone.

In contrast Samsung’s Galaxy Note is more comfortable in its own skin. It’s large 5.7 inch screen and stylus input put it in a different category. You’d buy one of these to do something different to what you’d do with an iPhone.

Smartwatch, VR goggles


Last night’s product launch also included virtual realty goggles and the sixth Samsung smartwatch in a year. It’s hard to get excited about virtual reality goggles without information about the games and content that will work with the device.

It’s even harder to get excited about another Samsung smartwatch. This one is different because you can add a Sim card and use it as a phone. The smartwatch is still large and ugly. It almost certainly has too short a battery life to be useful for most people.

In truth Samsung’s VR goggles and latest smartwatch are niche products that will excite a limited number of people — going by previous experience, readers of this post are among them.

There’s nothing wrong at all here, it’s just that I don’t see the watch, the glasses or the Note Edge taking off. If there’s a potential hit product among Samsung’s announcement it is the Galaxy Note 4. For that to succeed Samsung needs to do a better job of explaining to users why it might be a better choice than an iPhone or a Galaxy S.

Samsung’s locally released (New Zealand) press statement has no specifics about prices or availability, although it does say the products will be on sale this year. This suggests to me the launch was more about getting the jump on next week’s iPhone launch. That’s smart, once Apple’s machine kicks into gear everyone else will find it hard to be heard.

Overall, last night’s release is confirmation Samsung can innovate and is able to act confidently in the face of competition from Apple. Samsung’s smartphone sales dropped last month, the Galaxy S5 didn’t provide the boost the company was looking for. There’s nothing here to fix that unless Samsung finds a better way to sell the benefits of the Galaxy Note.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 


Philip Temple: Hang On A Minute, Mate
Peter Dunne quietly omits some salient facts when arguing for retention of MMP’s coat-tailing provision that allows a party to add list seats if it wins one electorate and achieves more than 1% or so of the party vote... More>>


Cheap Grace And Climate Change: Australia And COP26

It was not for everybody, but the shock advertising tactics of the Australian comedian Dan Ilic made an appropriate point. Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a famed coal hugger, has vacillated about whether to even go to the climate conference in Glasgow. Having himself turned the country’s prime ministerial office into an extended advertising agency, Ilic was speaking his language... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Funeral Rites For COVID Zero
It was such a noble public health dream, even if rather hazy to begin with. Run down SARS-CoV-2. Suppress it. Crush it. Or just “flatten the curve”, which could have meant versions of all the above. This created a climate of numerical sensitivity: a few case infections here, a few cases there, would warrant immediate, sharp lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, the closure of all non-vital service outlets... More>>


Dunne Speaks: Labour's High Water Mark
If I were still a member of the Labour Party I would be feeling a little concerned after this week’s Colmar Brunton public opinion poll. Not because the poll suggested Labour is going to lose office any time soon – it did not – nor because it showed other parties doing better – they are not... More>>



Our Man In Washington: Morrison’s Tour Of Deception

It was startling and even shocking. Away from the thrust and cut of domestic politics, not to mention noisy discord within his government’s ranks, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison could breathe a sign of relief. Perhaps no one would notice in Washington that Australia remains prehistoric in approaching climate change relative to its counterparts... More>>



Binoy Kampmark: Melbourne Quake: Shaken, Not Stirred

It began just after a news interview. Time: a quarter past nine. Morning of September 22, and yet to take a sip from the brewed Turkish coffee, its light thin surface foam inviting. The Australian city of Melbourne in its sixth lockdown, its residents fatigued and ravaged by regulations. Rising COVID-19 numbers, seemingly inexorable... More>>