Samsung’s DJ Koh announcing the Galaxy Note7 (Photo credit Patrick Moorhead)
I attended today Samsung Electronics Unpacked event today in New York City and wanted to provide a quick, industry analyst take on Samsung, Galaxy Note7 and the Unpacked event:
- Samsung Electronics on a bit of a roll: In the last year, Samsung has made up a lot of ground they lost in 2015. First off, the SGS7 is selling much better than the SGS6. Some research outlets (Kantar) are even saying it is outselling the iPhone 6s in the U.S. the last quarter. This could makes a lot of sense to me as the SGS7 was a much-improved product and competes better with the value proposition of the 6s. Samsung added back SD-card support, made it water-resistant and put in a much better processor and graphics subsystem with the Qualcomm. Also, they are leading in smartphone VR playback with their Gear VR HMD, selling more than anyone, and are about to release for sale their VR 360 camera. So between these three devices, they have a complete end to end VR workflow. Samsung has had a very good 2016 so far, significantly better than 2015.
- Note7: The biggest step from the Note7 is the iris scanner, its new design style and a much faster Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset.
- Iris scanner: Samsung Electronics iris scanner gives users more choice, let’s say for users with things on their hands, in biometric logins with both fingerprint and now iris, and when added to Knox Workspaces, both iris and passwords can be used for the same application or data file. Generally speaking, iris could be more secure than fingerprint because there are more points to check than fingerprint and irises don’t change after the first 18 months of life, but researchers will need to test this specific SN7 implementation to validate this. It’s very important for Samsung to share that research as soon as they can so IT shops know which method (iris or fingerprint) to choose.
- Design language: The new design language puts it in the same design class as the SGS7 Edge which is very attractive and more modern-looking. It’s very important that Samsung keeps adding value to the Edge functionality over time so that it is more usable.
- Qualcomm chipset: The new Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset is the same as the SGS7 and in many cases will deliver up to 30% performance improvements on mobile workloads over the Note 5. Some regions will have the Exynos SoC. Net-net that’s a really huge improvement for the experience.
- Other Note7 notables: Also, compared to the prior Note 5, users will appreciate the increased memory, storage, larger battery and a USB-C connector. The S-Pen is better, too, with the added IP68 protection and “Screen Off” note capability. I’m not a huge pen user but the off-screen utility could turn me into one.
- New GearVR: I also like some of the modest improvements to the VR headset, the biggest one being the improved field of view. While it may seem small, the experience improvement will be noticeable to an end user.
- National promotion: I think the national promotions are impressive. With 256GB, you could literally store all of your work files onto the device. That will mean a lot to business people with files and maybe even consumers who take a lot of 4K videos will appreciate the 256GB card.
All in all, Samsung Electronics had a very good day rounding out their premium Galaxy line with the Note7, upping the security ante with iris scanning and Secure Folders, and making slight improvements to the Gear VR. Samsung also threw their axe into the sea of consumer storage starting with free 15GB. Net-net, Unpacked was a good addition to a very positive year so far from Samsung. This is a quick take on the event and I will be following up with more details on the commercial side of the house from an enterprise IT point of view with a deeper dive on Knox, Workspace, Iris, S Pen, etc.