HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 3, 2013 – 12:00am
They were at it again.
I am talking about the Samsung guys who invited both traditional and social media practitioners to the unveiling of their new products for 2013. Samsung, the mega tech company which had a net growth of 31 percent last year of which 61 percent was in Southeast Asia made sure that they had dazzling products to show.
Samsung did not disappoint. As I write this, I am in my hotel room in Jakarta and down at the ballroom of the Hotel Mulia is the amazing display of cutting-edge technology applied on Samsung’s newest aircons, kitchen ranges, refs, vacuum cleaners, cameras, printers, phones, tablets, laptops, speaker systems, and televisions.
Samsung SEA Forum 2013
There are air-conditioners that you can control via Wi-Fi for those who want their rooms cool by the time they get home, washing machines that do not get clothes tangled, speakers that are turned on and controlled via NFC, very modern refs with new, cutting-edge features, etc. The Series 7 Chronos and ultra laptops are dazzlingly powerful, sleek, super fast, versatile, multifunctional and have batteries that last hours more than their competitors
The innovation, creativity and the “wow” factor Samsung products are getting recognized for were clearly evident. I particularly was impressed with the Ultra HD and the OLED TV (both Smart televisions), the Galaxy Note 8 and the NX300 Camera.
The Smart Ultra HD television in all of its 85-inch screen glory undeniably hogged a big part of the show. The clarity of the images on screen are the clearest I have even seen on any screen bar none! That’s probably because the Ultra HD has four times more pixels than the full HD that is the standard today. It is also ultra thin and its speakers are inconspicuously embedded on the frame that supports the television.
And all Samsung Smart TVs are now capable of being upgraded to the latest specs via a gadget called the “Evolution Kit,” which you can attach to the back of the TV. This means that if you bought a 2012 Smart TV, you can easily enjoy the features of the latest 2013 model, and get a new pack every year for the latest upgrades.
It is important to note that soon enough, all TV broadcasts will be going digital. And the Samsung Smart TV you already own now will be the only television sets that can be upgraded to receive the new signals via the Evolution Kit. This is a big advantage since you most likely may not have to buy a new TV to enjoy clear digital broadcasts.
The main feature of the OLED TV is one of the most innovative technological function I have seen in a television since its dawning. Its most impressive feature is this: its beautiful LED screen can show two video sources at the same time. No, I am not talking about the usual split screen that other TVs do. This is way better! By wearing a pair of glasses with ear speakers, two people can watch and listen to two separate channels of their choice, privately. Imagine your wife watching Discovery channel on the usual 2D broadcast while you are watching a Blue-ray disc of the latest Oscar-winning film in 3D at the same time with no image or sound leak. The execution is flawless. When you actually see how it works, you will really want one.
Enter the Samsung Galaxy Note 8! This new gadget is clearly riding on the success of the Note 1, 2 and the 10.1 tab. I am quite familiar with the whole line since I have all of those devices. When I heard that they were presenting a Note 8, I must confess I initially felt it was overkill until I actually held and played with it.
The Note 8 is a “bridge” gadget between a full-size tab and the Note 2. It has an 8-inch screen and the OS is the latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The size and feel to this user (to borrow Goldilock’s comments upon trying Baby Bear’s bed, chair and porridge) is, “This one is just right.” If you’ve had a Note before, it will feel comfortable to use with its similar apps and S-Pen. While it is obviously being positioned against the Mac iPad Mini, Samsung suggests other uses to also include a diary and e-reader among other things. The price? No one knows as of now. But going by the way Samsung prices its products, it will probably be close to the Mini iPad even if it has a lot more features.
A big surprise of the forum was the Samsung NX300 camera. It’s a mirrorless camera that allows a 3D lens attachment for both still photos and video. The results are quite impressive, and awesome, even if you will need a 3D capable TV to appreciate it. I am speculating that the NX300 camera can make 3D more accessible to people and can even really popularize 3D photography.
And if that were not impressive enough, I was surprised and pleased to discover that the NX300 has a number of lenses from fixed ones to zooms. This camera has a shutter speed of up to 1/6000th of a second, and ISO settings from 100 to 25,600. Throw in a movable back monitor where you can angle your view up and down. It is important to note that all these features can be found among the big players.
Samsung has recently embarked on going beyond the point-and-shoot camera and developing more advanced consumer cameras lately and its efforts are beginning to pay off. Its recent launch of the popular Galaxy Camera is testimony to this. The NX300 is a step in the right direction in bringing Samsung to the arena of big contenders for serious photo enthusiasts to consider.
There were other wows in the forum like refs with sparkling water and crushed ice dispensers, TVs that could mirror your gadget’s screen, and a lot more.
The only thing missing in the forum was the introduction of the much-awaited S4 phone which almost everyone in the world, especially the guys at Cupertino, have been anticipating.
But that is another story about to happen soon. They’ve got plenty more surprises up their sleeves!