(Editor's Note: Updated thoughts at bottom of article.)
Samsung unveiled the latest generation of their flagship Galaxy phones today, this time in San Francisco—affording me the opportunity to witness the spectacle first hand.
While they showed off some fun and fancy new phones, they were unfortunately a little light on enterprise news, at least ahead of the show. Still, this was my first time attending such an event, so I was jazzed to check it out, regardless if they had anything relevant to the EUC audience to announce there.
Check back later to see my additional thoughts after the show! For now, learn about the latest features and my thoughts.
General announcements: new phones--even the foldable one!
They showed off four new models of the Samsung Galaxy S10: the S10, S10+ S10e, and S10 5G (has an even bigger screen and more features like a bigger battery and a 3-D depth camera). Much like other phone manufacturers out there, they will start selling a smaller, more competitive model. S10 and S10+ are what you’ve come to expect, while the S10e is budget phone in a smaller form factor.
Not everyone loves how big smartphones have become, so the S10e is an option for those interested in a new Samsung Galaxy smartphone, but want something easier to hold. That said, even the big phones are fairly easy to handle. This is both due to the slim size of the phone, while still boasting a large edge-to-edge screen, but also with their One UI, which started rolling out this week to existing Samsung customers. The goal is to keep the user interface close to the bottom of the phone, making it easier for anyone to easily navigate the phone. It’s not perfect as you’ll still need to reach for the top of the screen from time to time, but the majority of the UI remains at the bottom.
My favorite feature they showed off was Wireless PowerShare. In addition to being able to wirelessly charge, the Galaxy S10 can charge other devices. You simply enable the feature from the menu and plunk down whatever you want onto its back. Samsung would probably prefer you use it to charge their branded products, but it can be anything capable of wireless charging, even other phones. It’ll stop charging when the phone itself hits 30% battery charge. Reduces the amount of cables needed on trips, essentially.
Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor
You can still unlock the device with your fingerprint, just not from the same spot. The Galaxy S10 and S10+ have a brand-new ultrasonic fingerprint sensor built into the screen itself, keeping bezels to a minimum. The sensor can be activated with the screen on or off. The fingerprint sensor will be on the side of the device for the Galaxy S10e, not the screen. They also removed the iris scanner, but it still retains facial recognition.
All three phones feature three rear-facing cameras, with the new one being an ultra-wide angle lens, alongside the wide angle and telephoto, with 123 degrees field of view. The Galaxy 10+ has dual front-facing cameras. Both the front- and rear-facing cameras can take 4K video.
Everyone loves talking about the notch on the iPhone X (and newer); well Samsung clearly wants to avoid that and has the camera on the right side of the screen with only the one or two lenses showing. It allows for a little more of the screen to be used for video, but to me a notch was never a big deal.
Machine learning comes to the Galaxy
The Samsung Galaxy S10 joins the ML trend with Bixby Routines. Basically, the phone will monitor usage for the first three to five days after activation. Then, it will suggest routines the phone can follow when it senses you’re driving or heading into a meeting. They mentioned the meeting example where the phone will shut off personal apps when heading into a meeting and display your calendar. There are six pre-created routines, but users can manually tweak and adjust them.
Preorders for the Galaxy S10 generation begin February 21, and they will go on sale March 8. Samsung will throw in a pair of their wireless earbuds if you preorder a Galaxy S10 or S10+.
They held back on this surprise from us until the show. This is what I was really hoping for after the mysterious (it stayed in shadow when shown off) reveal back at Samsung Developer Conference. The Galaxy Fold impressed me and I'm curious about getting time to see it in person, if possible. The Fold has six cameras, two batteries, but costs a whopping $1980 (curious what people will say about that--you get a lot, but it's not cheap) and will be out on April 26. They stressed a seamless experience during the show and it will be interesting to see just true that is. Unfortunately they did not have any for us to play with after the show. Maybe another time!
Ahead of Samsung UNPACKED, we were curious what their next enterprise-focused product moves would be. Jack previously wrote about how Knox has been a hit, but wasn’t sure where they would pivot to next.
Unfortunately, they had nothing new to announce here before the event. I’m hoping they’ll surprise us during the presentation and reveal something. They did mention several pilot programs revolving around DeX, though we knew about one already. Police departments are trying out Samsung DeX in their squad cars, while healthcare practitioners are testing it out as a thin client option. They also want to partner with public safety to pilot using the Galaxy S10 like a body camera.
At Mobile World Congress, Samsung did quietly drop some relevant news: Samsung Knox would now support OEMConfig.
Additional thoughts (post-show)
Other than the Galaxy Fold, they didn't show off anything I didn't previously mention. They did spend a good amount of time toward the end of the show talking up the Galaxy S10 5G. Given that there's questions around the 5G that companies have begun rolling out announcements and hype for and whether it's true actual 5G, I have questions. Hoping to connect with Samsung to learn more as I work on understanding the 5G debate.Don't want to pass judgement until I know more.
I also got to speak with Chris Briglin, director of Enterprise Mobile Product Marketing, and Jen Langan, VP of Mobile Product Marketing, from Samsung after the event. It was a quick sit down, so I only got to ask a few quick questions, but I focused on seeing what enterprise news they may have had. Nothing really new on the DeX or Knox front; they just told that Samsung continues to evolve both products according to customer comments and with DeX have built in additional capabilities around Knox. They spoke more around the DeX pilot programs, telling me that several of the pilots have started transitioning into actual deployments. They also have newer pilots around retail, public safety, and manufacturing in progress.
I asked them about their thoughts on BYOD and what trends they see. They explained that organizations have actually started moving away from BYOD a little bit and back toward COPE as mobile devices become more integrated into business use cases. One example they mentioned was healthcare practitioners using the devices to pull up patient info, which can't very well be on personal devices.
Lastly, I was curious about what devices fit where. They said that the Galaxy S10e works best for specific verticals, like public safety, because of its flat screen, smaller form factor, and price. The flat screen lends itself better here due to working with partner peripherals.
Overall, the event was a blast and it was nice witnessing it in person!