Samsung held a major keynote event, Unpacked, this morning in New York. As one of the two top dogs in the mobile device market, all eyes were on the South Korean powerhouse to deliver the goods. With three major product announcements—including a major shot to its main competitor, Apple—it's fair to say the Android leader has our attention.
First up: the Galaxy Note 5. Samsung's smartphone/PDA hybrid has always struck us as a new school Blackberry, and its newest iteration takes that concept even further. The handset retains its signature bulk with a 5.7-inch screen, but slims down and includes the new curved design to go along with metal and Gorilla Glass casing.
A 16 MP camera with 4K video capabilities give it one of the best cameras on the market, but what really sets it apart is the new click to release S Pen feature, which optimizes on the handset automatically when the pen is in use so you can jot things down on the go. A Samsung-branded keyboard case even gives you an optional QWERTY keyboard, evoking fond memories of Blackberrys past.
The Galaxy S6 edge+ kicks things up a notch. The screen size jumps up from 5.1 to 5.7 inches (same as the Note), and its aluminum build is actually slimmer than the previous generation's smaller handset. Like the Note, the camera is 16 MP with 4K video capabilities. The main draw here is the dual-edge display and app optimization, giving you immediate access to the things you use your phone for the most.
Quick built-in wireless charging (which is also available in the Note) give both phones an edge in the wireless wars—especially if the concept of public charging stations at businesses like Starbucks and IKEA mentioned in the keynote comes to fruition. Both phones are available for pre-order starting today, with an August 21st launch date. Expect pricing to follow the conventional brackets for new releases Samsung has adhered to in the past.
Probably the biggest challenge to Apple came with the announcement of Samsung Pay with the statement "If retailers can swipe a card, they will most likely accept Samsung Pay." Unlike the selective Apple Pay service, Samsung Pay uses already existing tech to make payments, meaning it can be immediately adopted by everyone from huge chains to mom and pop shops so long as they have the right set-up already in place. It'll also support most store-specific credit cards and gift cards, meaning your wallet just got a whole lot lighter. Samsung Pay launches in the US on September 20.
Samsung has thrown down the gauntlet. Expect Apple to strike back hard when it holds its own keynote event on September 9.
Brett Williams is an editorial assistant at Supercompressor. He only makes payments in IOUs.
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