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Having a device that connects seamlessly with other devices is a different story, altogether.
Having five devices that can talk to each other seamlessly, connect with other services and still give with a unique user experience; that is the holy grail.
Brett Jones of the Nielsen Connect Partner Network, refers to that holy grail as an ecosystem. First used by British ecologist Arthur Tansley back in 1935 to describe the relationship between organisms and their environment, an ecosystem has become a sort of buzzword within technology circles. Brett refers to ecosystems as being about dynamic interactions between people, software, data, systems and services and how they connect, share, grow and transform together.
During Samsung Mobile’s first ever virtual Galaxy unpacked event held on August 5, the gospel of Samsung’s growing ecosystem was repeated throughout the 1hour 33 minute sermon; and for good reason. Five devices were outdoored:
Galaxy Note 20/Note 20 Ultra: The flagship smartphone range
Galaxy Buds Live: The flagship wireless ear piece
Galaxy Watch 3: The flagship smartwatch
Galaxy Tab S7/S7+: The flagship tablet
Galaxy Z Fold2: “Cutting-edge smartphone with a 6.2-inch screen which unfolds into a 7.6-inch tablet-like display
Marketing Manager at Samsung Electronics West Africa, Tracy Kyei in an interview indicates that the growing Galaxy ecosystem, “works together seamlessly so you can spend your time focused on what matters most. The Note20 when paired with the Galaxy Buds Live, Galaxy Watch3 and Tab S7 delivers a connected experience across fitness, health, entertainment and even more.”
That is an ideal world, when you think about it.
Imagine receiving a call while driving and picking up on your watch instead of on your phone. Imagine having a genius idea for a building project while in the bathroom and being able to sketch it on your phone with an enhanced stylus with a latency of just 9 milliseconds! Imagine being able to check in at the airport with your watch while your phone is tucked away in your backpack. That is what the power of an interconnected ecosystem is able to help you do; connect, share, grow and transform.
With the introduction of five new devices to the Galaxy family in one event, it will appear to the average industry watcher that Samsung is poised to further pursue that interconnected dream. Here are three reasons, i feel, guide Samsung’s renewed vigour.
Samsung is making money, let us not kid ourselves. But their biggest rivals, Apple Inc reported an incredible $22.2 billion in profit for the last quarter of 2019 with $91.8 billion in revenue making the fourth quarter of 2019 Apple’s most profitable in history. Samsung, on the other hand, dropped 38 percent in profit. Apple also shipped over 72 million iPhones in the fourth quarter, according to Counterpoint Research, while just about 70 million Galaxy phones were sold by Samsung. Those figures will make any company worried when global dominance of the smartphone market is your ultimate goal. Samsung’s A-series was the main sales driver while S20 series sales didn’t perform as well as anticipated due to the to the COVID-19 shutdowns. The drive for an ecosystem is clearly a strategy by the South Korean multinational conglomerate to get back in the big money zone of the device manufacturers.
There are two major companies Samsung is battling with in the global smartphone category.
Huawei, the Chinese multinational technology company showed strong sales in China helping it edge Samsung to become the world’s biggest smartphone vendor in the second quarter of 2020. Apple, the Cupertino-based technology company, has been making a killing since the launch of the iPhone 11 with revenues hitting the $55.96 billion mark in the second quarter of 2020, up by 8% from the previous year.
The competition is not only about smartphone sales between Samsung and Apple, for example. It is deeper than that. Samsung has for years been the main chip supplier for Apple. The company even provided the flash memory used in the iPod. The relationship turned sour when Samsung decided to make their own phones in 2009. The relationship has been fractured since then.
With the release of the five devices and the bold statements Samsung sought to convey, one gets the sense the ecosystem mantra are not just words but a clear indication of its readiness to win the smartphone contest. Perhaps to prove a point to Apple for all this years of mockery.
There is something that makes anyone go back for more of a product or service. It can be the service quality, the other services or products from the provider or sometimes just bragging rights.
With five devices, Samsung is betting on getting you to come back for more. If you have the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra phone for example, there is an incentive to get the Galaxy Watch 3 because then you have a device that will manage your health and a bit of your life as well. Grabbing the Galaxy Buds Live could be the next item to purchase to add to your collection. The list goes on and on. The association with Microsoft further illustrates this point. Imagine having access to all your Microsoft Office products across multiple devices from your phone to your tablet. Imagine accessing high end video game console experience on your mobile phone while on the go. There is an incentive to keep purchasing because the benefits go beyond simply purchasing one device. The added benefits make economic sense due to the added value. With a budding 5G industry coming into effect, Samsung will be looking to benefit greatly with all its devices it has released since 2019. Users of their devices will always feel the brand is a step ahead in the 5G race; seeing how slow other competitors have been in the area.
According to Investopaedia, “Samsung has three divisions – consumer electronics, device “solutions,” and IT/mobile. Consumer electronics means big boxes – TVs, kitchen appliances, air conditioners and washing machines. Device solutions refers to semiconductors, integrated circuits, LED panels, hard drives and other components. IT and mobile, includes the cell phones and tablets that are traditionally associated with Samsung.”
Imagine a world where all the devices in these categories are able to speak to one another. That is the ecosystem, i believe, Samsung is gunning for. The question though is how well will the company be able to fit all of their galaxy of devices into that one ecosystem.
What 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 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 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.
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.
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?
Host 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.
Speaking 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.