Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 28th 2014 Contents A31
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
A week ago, Samsung introduced its four flag-
ship smart devices for the local market to a small
group of influencers and journalists at the Hyatt
Regency in T&T.
Over the last few years, the company s touring
events have fluctuated in size, but this year s seemed
unusually cosy, with just a dozen people in the
hotel s boardroom space gathered to hear the pitch
for the four products that will be publicly launched
on November 1 at the Samsung Experience Store
at Gulf City Mall.
Of the four, only one is pushing aggressively into
a new market space. Samsung s new Gear S is a
beefier version of its wearable computer that seeks
to liberate the smartwatch from being a satellite to
The Gear S, running Tizen, has specifications
that would have been acceptable on the smart-
phones of five years ago, with 512MB of memory,
4GB of solid state storage, a SIM slot and its own
3G and WiFi radios. When paired with a smart-
phone, users can finally channel their inner Dick
Tracy and make and receive calls directly from their
Samsung uses the 360 x 480 pixel screen to
show off dazzling graphics that mimic the look of
high-end phones, but this is a screen, curved and
sharp, that looks usable for doing something beyond
checking the time, health stats and e-mails.
The Note 4 is an evolutionary upgrade to the
company s market-defining line of larger smart-
phones, and it s one that s surprisingly small, tidy
and neat for its physical specifications.
At least part of the reason for that is Samsung s
thinner bezel, which pushes the screen much closer
to the edges of the device, creating the illusion of
a smaller box.
Samsung has invested significant design work
in making the phone feel lighter, slimmer and small-
er generally while preserving the large screen that s
always been the device s big draw.
The new Galaxy Tab S is an evolutionary upgrade
to the company s underrated line of tablets. The
10.5-inch screen is sharp and crisp, packing in
2,560 x 1,600 pixels and the processor is crisp and
responsive. The company has mercifully dropped
the faux leather of the previous version in favour
of a sleek finish and profile that s likely to get
dropped into an appropriate protective case at the
first opportunity by any serious user.
The Galaxy Alpha is the curiosity of the bunch.
A slightly smaller device than the flagship Galaxy
S5, the Alpha is an almost perfect first smartphone,
but it s also a no-compromise device with spec-
ifications that place it close to the S5 Mini with
a price to match.
Final local pricing is likely to decide the posi-
tioning of this device in the T&T market, but Sam-
sung could do more to improve its pricing and fea-
ture differentiation among its midrange devices.
The smartphones and tablet all run Android
4.4.4 with a refreshed TouchWiz (Nature UX3.0)
interface that s fashionably flatter and more colourful
that previous versions.
Beyond those cosmetic touches, improved device
specifications and shaving-down of the physical
size of the devices comes the decision to replace
the long-standing "menu" button that s lived next
to the home button on Samsung s smartphone and
tablet devices for, well, forever, with a "window"
button. This one small change is likely to cause all
kinds of muscle memory spasms for longtime Sam-
sung device users who are used to accessing addi-
tional app features using that feature.
By putting multi-window access just to the left
of front and centre on these new devices Samsung
is sending a not-so-subtle message that its efforts
at building differentiation through more convenient
multi-tasking will be a core of its future feature
set for TouchWiz, which is evolving from a desktop
metaphor to a more aggressively touch-driven inter-
face that makes more use of icons for visual cues.
On the count of four
focus of the
Gear Fit with
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