Thursday, February 21, 2019

Galaxy Unpacked 2019

John Gruber:

Samsung introduced five new phones today at a big show at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco (in addition to the gimmicky Galaxy Fold): the S10 (6.1"), S10 Plus (6.4"), S10E (5.8"), and S10 5G (a whopping 6.7") — and the Galaxy Fold.


Samsung is sticking to its guns on a couple of fronts: fingerprints instead of facial recognition, and good old-fashioned headphone jacks on every model. And while they didn’t spend much time showing the system software, it looked to me like their interaction model is still home button-based, rather than gesture-based.


I’m not sure about the S10E, but the bigger S10 models not only support wireless charging for input, but they also can serve as charging pads for other devices, like wireless headphones, a Samsung watch, or even another phone.


Second, Samsung has built Instagram into the system Camera app as its own shooting mode.

Mark Gurman:

In using the new Galaxy phones (briefly), Samsung is beating Apple to triple camera by 7 months, 5G and rear 3D by ~ 1.5 years, and screen design by ~1.5 - 2.5 years. But their software/services feels 1-2 years behind.

Nick Heer:

During the unveiling, Samsung emphasized the Fold’s versatility in being able to transform from an ordinary smartphone into a tablet just by opening it up. But this device — and others like it — are bad phones, and worse tablets. Every shot of the closed phone looks like it’s begging to be unfolded; its display looks narrow, uncomfortable, and cramped. It seems far better in its tablet-like configuration, but it is at best a diet version of a tablet.

Josh Centers:

People aren’t seeing the big picture here: Samsung is proving that a device with a folding screen can be mass produced. Yes, it’s clunky. No, it won’t be a huge product at first. But this is a big step forward.

Nilay Patel:

Are we all just taking it for granted that an actual folding phone exists and will ship next month? It might be a medium-good product, but holy shit this was absolutely the stuff of dreams when I was a kid. There wasn’t even CGI to fake it properly.

Update (2019-02-26): Steve Troughton-Smith:

Apple is the only company with a viable ecosystem of phone apps that can transform into amazing tablet apps at runtime. It’s gonna take a lot of restraint to not ship a foldable iOS device too early, because even a token implementation would have way more compelling sw than these

Matt Birchler:

But all that said, I’m very excited about this tech getting into real products people can actually pay money for and use. These are not concept devices, they’re consumer products that will sell very poorly, but will at least be in the world.

John Gruber:

Way more compelling design [for the Huawei Mate X] than Samsung’s Galaxy Fold. Because it folds outward rather than inward, you don’t need an extra display. It sounds like a better design and it looks like a better design. But at €2,299 (that’s $2,600) it’s clearly not priced to sell in serious quantities, and the crease doesn’t seem to exactly disappear.

Update (2019-03-04): See also: Accidental Tech Podcast and The Talk Show.

Update (2019-04-17): Dieter Bohn:

Look closely at the picture above, and you can see a small bulge right on the crease of my Galaxy Fold review unit. It’s just enough to slightly distort the screen, and I can feel it under my finger. There’s something pressing up against the screen at the hinge, right there in the crease. My best guess is that it’s a piece of debris, something harder than lint for sure. It’s possible that it’s something else, though, like the hinge itself on a defective unit pressing up on the screen.

It’s a distressing thing to discover just two days after receiving my review unit. More distressing is that the bulge eventually pressed sharply enough into the screen to break it. You can see the telltale lines of a broken OLED converging on the spot where the bulge is.

Update (2019-04-18): Walt Mossberg:

This is incredible. Three separate specimens of a $2000 product breaks within days of being sent to three different reviewers - in three different ways. No matter what happens with replacement units, nor what the explanation, why would you have confidence in the product?

Four reviewers! Not three! I love big tech advances, like the idea of a foldable phone. But, ideas and everyday usable products are different things.

See also: Marques Brownlee’s impressions of the Galaxy Fold.

2 Comments RSS · Twitter

[…] The other downside to the large display is the greatly increased physical size. This bothers me much less than I expected in hand, but it’s unpleasant in my front pants pocket. It’s less comfortable to walk around with the phone in pocket, and I find myself removing it if I’m going to be sitting for an extended time. Overall, I don’t think I’d want to go back to a smaller display, but I kind of miss the innocent days when we could pretend there wasn’t a trade-off here. Perhaps when Apple makes a foldable phone. […]

[…] Previously: Galaxy Unpacked 2019. […]

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