Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy Watch and Bixby smart speaker at its Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2018 event in New York today
The Galaxy Note 9, though, was the highlight of the one-hour event in which Samsung was keen to assert the interconnectedness of its own products enabling, for example, seamless streaming of Spotify from smartphone to Samsung television to Bixby smart speaker without hiatus.
It comes with a 6.4-inch edge-to-edge display in a glossy chassis - bearing more than a passing resemblence to its predecessor.
The device is IP68 certified for dust and water resistance. It ships with a new and improved S Pen for doodling directly to screen, and the pen has Bluetooth LE - for low energy - for the first time. Users can also use it as a rudimentary remote control to play and pause music, or to take pictures remotely.
It also packs Samsung's own 10nm Exynos 9810 CPU - or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 in the US - and offers 128GB storage with 6GB RAM, or 512GB storage with 8GB RAM. MicroSD expansion can add another 512GB on top of that. The two models come in at £899 and £1,099 respectively.
Samsung described it as the "world's most powerful smartphone" and added that in addition to the monster storage it also offered a 4,000mAh battery capable of providing "all day" power on the big-screen device.
The camera has been upgraded, too. While on paper the specs of the dual 12MP camera appear the same as that on last year's Note, Samsung claims to have packed in more intelligence to the device with new horizontally-aligned sensors and an AI-powered camera app that can advise when an image is flawed in some way.
The speakers on board have been supplied by AKG - who have supplied the speakers to the Bixby smart speaker - while the device comes with a fingerprint scanner on the back, Android 8.1 Oreo, USB-C connectivity, a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, support for wireless charging and Samsung DeX, which can now be run from a big screen with an HDMI adapter.
Samsung showed off DeX featuring the ability to watch a video on the big screen, powered by the Note 9, while using the same smartphone to send text messages at the same time
The Note 9 will come in a choice of four colours: blue, lavender, copper and black.
Next up at the event was Samsung's somewhat chunky Galaxy Watch, about which the company was keen to assert its health credentials. In addition to being able to choose from 60,000 watch faces from the Galaxy Store, the device will sleep patterns and heart rates - sending you an alert to calm down should your heart rate jump unexpectedly from the established norm, for example.
Samsung claimed that the Galaxy Watch is "water resistant and swim ready" and that it "works perfectly with the new Note 9 or you can use it by itself".
The company added: "You can use the Galaxy Watch for several days on a single charge [and] you can even charge it at the same time as the Note 9 with our new Wireless Duo."
While both the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy Watch are available now, the Bixby smart speaker - like Bixby itself when it was first unveiled - will take a little longer to arrive.
Balancing on three legs, the Bixby smart speaker will connect with Samsung's SmartThings network, which is intended to connect together all smart home devices and to control via voice commands.
In addition to AKG speakers pointing in all directions, it also has eight microphones embedded into the device and what Samsung calls "Far-Field Voice Recognition", which means that it can pick-up users' voices and instructions from across the room.
Likewise, the speakers can configure themselves to direct sound at the listener with one voice command using what Samsung calls "Soundsense".
No. This isn't a joke. This is actually what Samsung's #GalaxyHome smart speaker looks like. I can't decide whether to throw a steak on top of it or whip up a batch of witch's brew inside of it. What I definitely wouldn't do is put it in my home. pic.twitter.com/UVTONSxPK2— Derek (@dereknoneya) August 9, 2018
The company claimed that it will form part of an "expanding ecosystem of intelligent devices" but added that more will be revealed at the forthcoming Samsung Developer Conference.
However, the Galaxy Home has come in for criticism online for its "odd" looks, with commenters suggesting variously that it looks like a fondue pot, a barbecue and a witch's cauldron. It also appears to be somewhat large.
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