Samsung has lifted the wraps on its two new flagships devices, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ at its Unpacked event in New York.
On their own, the new phones and great new features would have helped Samsung do exactly what it needed to – that is moving beyond the horrible brand damage associated with the Note 7 ‘Batterygate’ debacle.
But, just in case that wasn’t enough, Samsung also unveiled a new 4k capable 360-degree camera to replace the Gear 360 and a dock that allows its new flagship phones to be connected to a big screen, keyboard and mouse for desktop-like features.
The replacement camera (simply called the ‘new’ Gear 360) now has a little stem (as opposed to being a round golf ball-like device) and incorporates a great deal more intelligence than its predecessor, which will in turn, unburden the phone from a great deal of the work it was previously tasked with.
This little change also means, as was confirmed by Director of Integrated Mobility at Samsung South Africa Craige Fleisher, that the device will work with ‘other mobile operating systems’ and most notably, Apple iOS.
In terms of pricing and availability, nothing was confirmed at Unpacked. That said, Fleisher confirmed that the new 360 will hit South African shores around June of this year at a recommended retail price of R2 999.
The second major piece of hardware announced – the ‘Dex’ dock – will make an appearance around the same timeframe as the S8 and S8+ (May of this year) and cost R2 499 excluding a keyboard and mouse.
Fleisher says customers will be able to choose between Bluetooth or wired peripherals, as Dex is equipped with both USB and Bluetooth. It’s also equipped with an HDMI port for screen output and an Ethernet port for connecting to corporate networks.
Most notably though, and apart from the ‘Android for desktop’ experience Dex will provide, it’s capable of delivering a ‘Full Windows 10 experience’ through an Azure-based virtual machine deal Samsung has brokered with Microsoft.
While Fleisher wasn’t able to confirm whether or not this feature is an optional extra or a license that will run in perpetuity, or even be limited to 12 or even 18 months, the mere fact that this is there is massively useful for small businesses and their road warriors.
While all of the media attending the event walked away with one of the new Gear 360s (so watch out for Brendyn’s review of this in the next week or so), we had to play with Dex while we were in the demo area.
While I sadly wasn’t able to test the Windows features, it was awfully responsive and I could see the use in having this feature at my disposal. At the price it’s a really-good optional add-on if you’re a Samsung user.
Overall, I got the sense that Samsung wants to put its most recent mistake behind it and means business with its new products, and I get the sense that the market will respond favourably.