Thursday, 27 July 2017

Samsung flaunts its curves in bid to outshine Apple

By Nick Wood, Total Telecom, in Barcelona
Sunday 01 March 15

Two editions of the Galaxy S6, one with a curved screen, to be launch products for Korean electronics giant's m-payment service.

Samsung on Sunday officially unveiled its new flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6, and S6 Edge – its first handset to feature a curved touchscreen. "Some companies have set themselves on a path of design, while others have set themselves on a path of practicality," said Samsung chief executive J.K. Shin, at a high-profile launch in Barcelona on the eve of Mobile World Congress. "People want both." Shin is confident that his new devices can meet these two requirements…

Samsung on Sunday officially unveiled its new flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6, and S6 Edge – its first handset to feature a curved touchscreen.

"Some companies have set themselves on a path of design, while others have set themselves on a path of practicality," said Samsung chief executive J.K. Shin, at a high-profile launch in Barcelona on the eve of Mobile World Congress. "People want both."

Shin is confident that his new devices can meet these two requirements.

The Galaxy S6 Edge's most striking feature is its screen, which is curved at the left and right edges. Rather than just an eye-catching piece of hardware, it also serves a practical purpose: a secondary notification bar. To use it, the customer assigns individual colours to up to five contacts. When one of those people calls or texts, the curved edge of the screen glows with the corresponding colour, so the customer knows who it is without having to even touch their phone.

Both the S6 Edge, and its un-curved sibling, the S6, come with built-in wireless charging and a battery that can provide up to four hours of everyday use after just 10 minutes of charging.

"Zero to 100 [percent] takes half the time of the [Apple] iPhone 6," said Justin Denison, vice president of product and strategy at Samsung.

It was one of many comparisons that were unflattering towards Samsung's fierce rival.

Younghee Lee, EVP of Samsung's global marketing division, also talked up the smartphones' toughness. The screens are made from Corning's latest Gorilla Glass, and the metal used in the case is 50% stronger than its predecessors. It was another unsubtle jab at Apple, which came under fire after nearly 200 iPhone 6 Plus customers complained that the device bends easily when placed in pockets.

"This stuff will not bend," said Lee of Samsung's latest efforts.

They also pack new cameras designed to work well under low-lighting conditions. To show off just how good they are, Denison compared two videos of a couple sat in front of a fountain at night. One was dark, unusable and – unsurprisingly – shot with an iPhone 6. Even less surprisingly, the other – shot with a Galaxy S6 – was much better.

Perhaps the most crucial battle line to be drawn up though was the announcement of Samsung Pay, which will go head-to-head with Apple Pay in the U.S.

Integrated into both versions of the Galaxy S6 is Magnetic Swipe Transmission (MST), a technology that enables the user to make a contactless payment by touching their smartphone onto the part of the merchant's terminal normally used for reading a credit card's magnetic strip.

"For any payment service to be successful, it needs to be universally accepted. NFC is not universally accepted," Denison said.

Indeed, the advantage that MST has over Apple Pay is that it can be used by 90% of payment terminals, whereas Apple Pay – which uses near field communications (NFC) technology – is currently only used by 10%. Samsung acquired the patented MST technology when it bought LoopPay in February.

"That's what we mean by getting mobile payments right," said Denison.

In addition to consumers, Samsung is also pitching the S6 range at business users.

Both come with built-in enterprise-grade mobile security courtesy of Samsung Knox. They are also compatible with a raft of mobile device management (MDM) platforms, including BlackBerry, Airwatch and Mobile Iron, among others.

Both the S6 and S6 Edge will launch on 10 April in 20 markets and come in a raft of colours, and offer a three memory options: 32 GB, 64 GB and 128GB. Prices have yet to be announced, but it is understood that the S6 Edge will likely be the more expensive of the two.
 

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