Samsung Galaxy Fold: An expensive but flexible mobile future

000_galaxy_fold_product_image_allWhat do you get when you mix an ambitious technology company, a saturated mobile device market, cutting edge technology, and an eye-watering price tag? 

I will tell you. 

The Samsung Galaxy Fold.

The device, according to Tracy Kyei, Head of Marketing at Samsung Electronics West Africa (Ghana), has been in the lab since 2011. It has been undergoing tests and developments over the years. However, with the outdooring of the first true foldable smartphone device in Ghana, we learn a few things:

  • There are possibilities for mobile devices you have not even imagined yet.
  • Folding screens, as scary as they might seem, are a delight to behold. 
  • Samsung is leading the charge for a new phone category but will need to learn and adapt quickly. 

 

The Past

The Samsung Galaxy Fold was the first mainstream foldable smartphone. A prototype of the device was first seen in November 2018. The initial rollout of the device to reviewers did not go very well as Samsung was forced to recall the handsets. This was because the foldable screen was breaking after just a few days of use.

 

The Present

002_galaxy_fold_product_image_black_back115The device retails at GHC 12,999. 

There is a need to put that fact out there before I go further so you understand the kind of waters we are swimming in. The Samsung Galaxy Fold device is not for everyone. 

“We created Galaxy Fold also for those who want to experience what a premium foldable can do, beyond the limitations of a traditional smartphone.” That was how Tracy described it and for good reason as well. 

The Galaxy Fold has a 4.6-inch cover display. When unfolded, it has the world’s first 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display. The device has six cameras in all (yes, six). There is the 10MP selfie camera on the cover; a triple rear camera set made up of a 16MP ultra-wide, a 12 MP wide-angle and a 12 MP telephoto lens; then there is the 10MP selfie camera and the 8MP depth camera when you flip the phone open. 

Packed with 12GB of RAM, 512GB of internal memory, the mobile device pushes the boundaries a step further. The phone accepts one Nano SIM card and one eSIM card for the LTE version and only one Nano SIM for the 5G version. The fingerprint sensor is on the side of the phone. 

The LTE version of the phone has a battery capacity of 4380mAh from the two batteries inside it while the 5G version packs a 4235mAh battery. With wireless powershare, you can charge other devices with the phone (something we have seen from the Galaxy S10 and the Note 10 range of devices).

Aside from all of this, Samsung Ghana is promising what it terms “premium service” with this device. Firstly, upon purchase, there are a number of goodies that come in the box. You get a pair of Galaxy buds (retailing at GHC 700), a case made of Kevlar material and a disposable screen protector. What you will also notice is a lot of warnings and notices in the box giving you indications on how to use the device, care, and support. Its a GHC 12,999 phone for a good reason. 

You get a 24-month warranty on the device from Samsung Ghana. 

005_galaxy_fold_product_image_silver_open_back

The Future 

Now that the specs and bells and whistles are out there, let us look beyond the numbers. 

The price tag is a clear indication of the sort of people who will end up using this device. It is a luxury device, plain and simple. It is not the kind of phone you should be taking to the beach or the swimming pool or to the club for that matter. It is not certified water-resistant or dust resistant either. 

There is a learning curve any owner will need to get over with the Galaxy Fold. For example, though most Google services such as maps are optimized for the device, other apps such a Snapchat are not. Also while notification will be swiped from the left section of the open device, navigation keys will be on the right side of it. These new ways of interacting with a device could put someone off but if you spent the money to buy the device, I am sure you will not mind. 006_galaxy_fold_product_image_silver_open_front

What is clear though is it the device is one of a kind. It is a surprisingly delightful piece of tech to hold in one’s hand and play with. It felt solid and durable when I had my chance with it at the launch event and I have to confess that the 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display was so good. I played Asphalt 9 on it and it was a charm. I can imagine watching a few Netflix hours on it as well to great delight. The device can easily serve as your phone and tablet at the same time, which is what I believe Samsung was gunning for in the first place.

In all, the Samsung Galaxy Fold is a glimpse into the future of mobile telephony and the experiences we could be having. The Fold is a device you should experience to understand and appreciate. The opportunities are countless with the flexible display options but, how functional will these devices actually be and at what cost will it come?004_galaxy_fold_product_image_black_front115

Philip Ashon is Eva Lokko ICT Journalist 2019

WhatsApp Image 2019-09-08 at 14.16.11Host of the #CitiTrends and Head of TV Production at Citi TV, Philip Ashon, has been adjudged the Eve Lokko ICT journalist of the Year at the Mobex Innovation Awards 2019.

The award is in recognition of his efforts at spreading digital literacy across the country and ensuring the empowerment of citizens through technology based applications.

This is the second time Philip Ashon is picking the award, having won it in 2018.

Philip holds a Masters Degree in International Journalism from Cardiff University and has been hosting the show since its inception in 2014.

#CitiTrends, Citi FM flagship technology-focused radio show also retained the title of Technology Media Programme of the year at the MOBEX Innovation Awards 2019.

The award was in recognition of the pivotal role the show plays in advancing technology literacy across Ghana.

The judging panel included: Dorothy K. Gordon, Ghanaian technology activist, and development specialist; Dr. Ayorkor Korsah, Head of Computer Science Department, and Prof. Nii Quaynor Nii Quaynor, scientist and engineer.

WhatsApp Image 2019-09-08 at 13.51.03Speaking to citinewsroom.com, Philip noted, “It is humbling to be picked out of the hundreds of incredible journalists across the country. I am however encouraged to go farther in the quest to see a more prosperous and technology savvy citizenry.”

“Technology is changing the world and Ghana must be leading that charge for Africa. I am fully committed to ensuring that the platform given me by Citi FM and Citi TV are used to drive the message of technology inclusion and empowerment.”

He added, “this award is dedicated to my wife and daughter Nissi, Mr. Samuel Attah-Mensah for his direction and teaching, Bernard Avle, my parents and my producers, Jeffrey Owurako Sarpong and yaw Antwi.”

The event was organized by Coaster Company limited.

Samsung Galaxy Note10 and Note10 Plus: An initial Overview

galaxy-note10_highlights_phone_smallAfter weeks of leaks and rumours, we finally get to see the next iteration of the Samsung Galaxy Note series; the Galaxy Note 10. Regardless of the rumours, finally getting my hands on the device at the unveiling event in Ghana gave me the answer to a question I asked last year; how was Samsung going to top the Note 9? 

The release of this device, in a lot of ways, answers that question.

The Look and Feel

Since 2011, the Galaxy Note range has represented the very best that Samsung has to offer in the world of mobile telephony technology. With Note 10 and the Note 10 Plus extends that notion both on the outside and the inside of the device. 

For the first time, ever, there are two Note devices. The Note 10 which retails at GHC 5,299 flaunts a 6.3-inch display while the Note 10 Plus which parades a 6.8-inch screen goes for GHC 6,199. What you get is a truly exquisite and premium feel in your hand. The device feels sturdy and well put together with very little to dislike. The volume controls and the ‘power’ button are on the left side of the phone while the right side is left as clean as a whistle. A few things to note here (pardon the pun); one press of the ‘power’ button puts the screen to sleep or wakes it up, press it twice and the camera turns on and with an extended press, one can activate the Bixby voice assistant. The weird thing here is that by default, the ‘power’ button does not offer options to shut down the phone. There is a button in the notification section which will help you do that. Weird.

banner_galaxy-note10There are four colours available on the Note 10plus which are the Aura White, Aura Black, Aura Blue, and Aura Glow. The Aura glow will be extremely popular in Ghana. You see so many colours when the light hits the body of the phone. 

You cannot miss the punch-hole camera in front of the device which sits dead centre at the top section of the phone. This houses the 10-megapixel selfie camera. What this means is that the edge effect is extended a little further. 

The big surprise (for those who do not follow the rumors): There is no headphone jack on any of the new devices. Samsung says this design decision is to allow bigger batteries and other features. The question remains, however: How come Samsung fun of rivals Apple some years ago about the same thing? 

The Battery

The Note 9 I have holds a 4,000mAh battery which easily got me through a day and more. The Note 10plus wields an impressive 4,300mAh which will clearly offer you more hours regardless of the use. The Note 10, disappointingly, holds a 3,500mAh battery. The power management tools in the Note 10, per the announcement at the unveiling event should however come in handy here. One wonder though, why did Samsung not maintain the 4000mAh from the  Note 9?

The Camera 

fRdzNV8jgFxv35jRByjLJAThere are three main cameras on the back of both devices. These are the 12-megapixel (wide angle), 16-megapixel (ultra-wide angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto). The Note 10Plus however, has an extra 3D depth or AR lens which gives the depth-sensing effect for blurred backgrounds. The AR lens also allows you to use the AR Doodle where you can annotate the things or people you are capturing. In video mode, when the people move, the drawing also moves. Really cool. 

The image stabilization in the camera is something you must experience to appreciate. It works really well and will compete favourably with others already in the market. There is a night mode in the camera section. This, in some ways always been there, but it is nice that we finally get to see it out as an officially dedicated mode. 

Video editors will be pleased to find out there are now native video editing tools built straight into the device. You can add music and other effects to you video packages right from the device. 

A really neat feature in the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus is the zoom mic feature. With this, the sound in the frame where you are zooming into is amplified as you zoom further. 

The S Pen

The most iconic feature of the device saw a massive upgrade in the Note 9 and Samsung has thrown in a few extras with the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus. You can now use gesture controls like waving you S pen in the air to interact with your device. One is able to flick up and down or also twirl the pen to access different camera actions and options. You can still use the S pen as a remote for taking pictures or as a clicker during a powerpoint presentation. galaxy-note10_highlights_spen_handwriting

Handwritten notes in the Samsung notes app can now be turned into text and exported to many formats including Microsoft Word. You can even convert handwriting to text which can be indexed for easy retrieval.

The Others

The major things of note include 

  • You can now use the USB C provided for charging as a connector to enable Samsung’s DeX feature.
  • The DeX feature is now accessible on a laptop. To be honest I struggled to work out why I will use DeX on a laptop. 
  • There is a micro SD card expansion slot on Note 10 plus but none on a Note 10.
  • There is Wireless Powershare in both devices. This where the Note 10 or 10 Plus can charge other devices using the wireless charging technology.
  • There is a fingerprint sensor built into the screen of the phone. 
  • There is a 5G version of Note 10 Plus. 

Final Thoughts 

galaxy-note10_highlights_spen_screenwriteSamsung has listened and made available devices that suit the times and seasons. The devices will compete favourably with the offerings from other device makers. The devices, at first glance and with initial interaction with it, are great. 

I will always go with the ultimate device which is the Galaxy Note 10 Plus. It packs all the highest specs from the device maker and has all the bells and whistles in place. Though pricey, it serves my purposes just fine. 

#CITITRENDS S05 EP9: Building and Sustaining Communities Online for Offline Impact

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-08 at 20.03.06Online communities are for bonding and reaching out to one another.
They create the spaces for people to share ideas and help resolve problems.
How do you know which communities to join?  where are the most impacting conversations happening? Who are the leaders and how can you keep the community accountable?
Gameli Adzaho, lead for Facebook Community Leadership Circles, Accra joined me on the show this week to discuss BUILDING AND SUSTAINING communities online for offline impact.
Jeff, Mr Antwi and Farida were on the show with the Apps, Your Tech and Trending segments of the show.

#CitiTrends S05 EP 8: Gaming – Beyond the Entertainment

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-10 at 15.13.56Fifa, Prince of Persia, Oware 3D, Mortal Kombat, PES; you name it.
Incredible game titles that have shaped so many lives across the globe.
Today, the gaming industry is worth billions and more investment continue to flow in that direction.
However, is it an issue of just playing for the entertainment sake or there is more to it.
Paul Ziem who is an Entrepreneur, Indie Game Developer and Consultant Founder at NerdCore Studio was my guest to discuss the issue.