Samsung didn’t disappoint at its annual CES press conference. With lines starting to form two hours before it even began, CES wanted to see what Samsung would bring to the table after the disastrous 2016 the tech giant had with the issues surrounding the Note 7.
From its new QLED TV technology to advancements to its Family Hub smart refrigerator technology, Samsung surprised everyone by announcing its first Windows-based gaming laptop and more.
Let’s look at what Samsung presented, what we can expect from the show floor, and more from their CES press conference.
A Recap of the Samsung Press Conference at CES 2017
I was pleasantly surprised when Tim Baxter, President and COO of Samsung Electronics America, came out, he immediately addressed the elephant in the room. While never saying “Note 7” directly, he talked about what Samsung did, is doing, and what they hope to achieve from their investigation into the issues with the smartphone that led to global recall.
This theme emerged throughout the press conference as it seems Samsung may have taken to heart what damage the Note 7 controversy did to its brand and that they need to work hard to regain the confidence of consumers this year.
From there, Mr. Baxter focused on a recap of Samsung over the last ranging from TVs to smart homes to the internet of things. The Galaxy ecosystem was touched on, highlighting Samsung’s goal to make all its products interact with one another and play nice with those outside of that world.
He touched on the success of the Gear VR and Oculus partnership, along with some of the focus areas for 2017. He also highlighted the success of the global rollout of Samsung Pay.
Samsung’s Big Announcements During CES 2017
Mr. Baxter also introduced the Samsung Next initiative, looking to help startups and tech companies develop IoT technology with grants and support from the tech giant.
Next up was Joe Stinziano, Executive Vice President of Samsung Electronics America, who introduced updates to Samsung’s core product lines. Stinziano touched on the growing TV market in America and how Samsung has for 11 years in a row captured that market and that almost half of the televisions in the US are from the company. This lead into the introduction of Samsung’s take on quantum dot technology in the QLED TV line.
While the QLED TV itself and the tech behind it is impressive, we’re used to TVs being announced by the big three (LG, Sony, and Samsung, of course.) However, when Mr. Stinziano introduced the invisible connection these new TVs would offer, the crowd went wild even surprising him.
The invisible connection is a single cord for the TV that is used for powering it, cable, HDMI, and more. It’s paper thin, almost unnoticeable under the right circumstances. With TVs being a focal point of design as Samsung and others have stressed, this was a welcome developmental and technological announcement.
Samsung teased a new television announcement that looked more like a picture surrounded by a frame than a traditional TV set but that’s all we really found out at the moment.
Samsung One Remote and Smart View
Stinziano introduced WonJin lee, Executive Vice President, Samsung Electronics, to talk about developments with its Samsung One Remote introduced last year. Its next version introduces voice control, similar to other products on the market like Amazon.
Lee then went on to introduce one app to rule them all: Samsung Smart View. This app, available on Android and iOS platforms, lets you control your Samsung smart TVs from one place. It’ll offer notifications when programs start, even when your TV is turned off.
Audio and Video
Samsung’s next version of its sound bar from last, the Sound+ was introduced. It integrates subwoofer technology into the design, so you no longer have two standalone devices when using many sound bars on the market.
It also features a flush base, making it easy to install it below a TV when mounted. Samsung also introduced its second Ultra HD Blu-ray Player to capitalize on the success of last year’s announcement.
John Herrington, Senior Vice President, Samsung Electronics America, came out next to talk about Samsung’s smart home appliance lines. The big reveal here came from the introduction of the FlexWash and FlexDry washer and dryer system.
This allows consumers to customize up to four loads of laundry at once. With a small one cubic bin on top of each unit, and a five cubic bin below; these 6-cubic units are the largest capacity washer and dryer system on the market.
Samsung also introduced the concept of built-in appliances for kitchens, showcasing just how the technology can be integrated into new home construction or remodels.
Herrington revealed version 2.0 of Family Hub, Samsung’s highly publicized smart refrigerator technology from last year’s CES press conference. In 2.0, it brings voice connectivity to households. All fridges currently using Family Hub 1.0 will be eligible for the upgrade in the near future.
Alanna Cotton, Vice President, Samsung Electronics America, came out next to discuss Samsung’s developments in wearables and computers. She capitalized on the success and integration of the Gear line of smart watches and a look at the partnership with Arik Levy to bring more stylish choices to consumers.
Next up came the reveal of two new Chromebook models: The Chromebook Plus and the Chromebook Pro. Since Samsung’s partnership with Google in 2011 to bring consumers the first line of Chromebooks, Samsung has only improved upon the concept.
New with the Plus and Pro is the inclusion of a digitizer pen that allows you to draw, take notes and more on the Chromebook models. Each model weighs less than two pounds and uses an NVIDIA-based GPU to boost its power.
Samsung Notebook Odyssey
The biggest reveal from the Samsung press conference came with the introduction of a pure gaming laptop form the tech giant. The Samsung Notebook Odyssey, powered by Microsoft’s Windows 10, wants to change the way consumers game at a relatively affordable (gaming!) price point of $1399. Here’s at look at the specs we know of from Microsoft.
While many were wondering what Samsung would bring to the table to make consumers forget about 2016, it’s clear the South Korean company wants to make a difference with those unsure after the Note 7 issues.
With two new Chromebooks, the Odyssey, and more fashionable choices for those with the Gear line of smartwatches, Samsung showcased just how they’re an innovation leader – good, bad, or ugly!
Learn more about Samsung at CES here.