14th February 2020

POV: Samsung Unpacked 2020

Background:

It’s been a big week for Samsung with plenty of announcements from its Unpacked 2020 event. Amongst the announcements, Samsung launched four new phones ranging from the somewhat expected progressions to something quite different with the new Z Flip phone. That’s not all; Samsung also announced partnerships with Netflix for exclusive content and Microsoft for cloud gaming.

Details and Implications:

Galaxy S20: Three variables of the same handset were launched by Samsung – the Galaxy S20, the S20+ and the S20 Ultra. The Ultra is the largest of the handsets and comes with a huge 6.9inch screen. The hooks are the camera, which can shoot at a full 108 megapixels, and the 48-megapixel telephoto lens which offers 4x optical zoom. And if that’s not enough, the camera can record 8K videos which can be edited in the included editing tool so that users can then share the footage on the compatible 8K QLED TV. Through a deep integration with Google Duo, device owners can tap Duo to start a video call and experience FHD quality. Lastly, worth noting is the Galaxy S20’s Space Zoom technology that uses Hybrid Optic Zoom and Super Resolution Zoom, which includes AI-powered digital zoom. All three of the handsets support 5G which promises to bring more and better streaming content. The display will take full advantage by making it look as good as possible, whether it’s for gaming or movies.

Galaxy Z Flip: But what about the fourth phone?  Well, the foldable future starts now with Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip. The phone has a Snapdragon 855+ chipset, plus 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, plus a hole-punch camera in the front, but the biggest draw is of course the fact that it flips. It is a glass screen that folds in half to form a square and can be propped up to take selfies or for a hands-free video call. Samsung worked with Google to design the Flex mode user experience, which automatically splits the display into two four-inch screens when the device is free-standing. This allows the user to view content, images or videos on the top half of the display and control them on the bottom half.

Xbox Partnership: Samsung also announced a partnership with Xbox, owned by Microsoft, through which they will provide gaming related content to Samsung device owners, the first game being Forza Street, a racing game from Microsoft. At the moment, the two tech giants are keeping their cards close to their chests, but there is speculation that the partnership could involve bundling Microsoft’s xCloud streaming services with Samsung devices. This will let people experience desktop-like graphics and sophistication on their mobile devices. Samsung’s David S. Park said: “Both Samsung and Xbox share a vision for bringing great gaming experiences to mobile players around the world. With our 5G-enabled portfolios and Microsoft’s rich history in gaming, we are working closely together to create a premium cloud-based game streaming experience. You’ll hear more about it later this year”.

Netflix Partnership: And last but certainly not least, Samsung announced another partnership this time with Netflix which appoints the video streaming company as Samsung’s exclusive entertainment partner. Netflix will provide exclusive content to Samsung device owners that will have been shot on Samsung S20 phones. The partnership will also give Samsung owners access to bonus content for some Netflix Original series.

Summary:

Samsung is elevating itself beyond hardware to compete with Apple’s iOS ecosystem. Unlike Apple, Samsung is steering clear of creating its own content and is instead forming the partnerships that will lead it into the future – content and gaming. The Xbox partnership is another step toward gaming becoming more accessible and seamless on-the-go gaming more ubiquitous. This means it will be more important than ever for brands to look for a meaningful role in the gaming community – whether through ads, content integrations, licensing deals or in-game purchases.

Further Reading:

Wired | Engadget s20 z flip | Engadget s20 | Business Insider | The Verge | Forbes |

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