This year at CES 2013, it seems that Samsung might actually be in touch with what real people are looking for in their cutting-edge new gadgets.
With its "see what sticks" approach - an you name every Galaxy Tab form factor? If you said. "Yes," you're lying - the company commands a massive empire of products across a vast array of markets - and it's hell-bent on making them all play nice with each other. Happily, the company is adding some cool bells and whistles along the way.
Connect All The Things
"We're committed to providing different form factors, screen sizes and operating systems," said Tim Baxter, President of Samsung Electronics America, at the company's CES press conference. "One screen isn't enough anymore. Consumers want their devices to be connected and they want their content to move freely between them.
Actually Smart Smart TVs
But beyond weaving an interconnected web of devices under its banner, Samsung is pulling some nifty tricks in its new product lines. Samsung's surreal new OLED TVs, set to hit shelves later in 2013, can convert regular content to ultra-HD, so buyers aren't stuck watching prehistoric-looking content on their entertainment hardware of the future. In its Smart TV fleet, a little device the company calls an "evolution kit" - "a brain transplant for your TV" - can plug into your 2012 Samsung set to bring it up to speed with the features of a 2013 model.
But here's the most bizarre twist: On the new OLED TVs, a feature called Multi-View employs 3D glasses sporting earbuds to allow two people watch completely 2 completely different programs on the same screen at the same time, supposedly with no deterioration of viewing quality. (But not in 3D, obviously.)
The Clever Future Of Smart Appliances
Samsung has all kinds of crazy stuff cooking in the home, too:
- A four-door LCD fridge that can turn into a modular freezer on the fly. (It's even integrated with Evernote.)
- A "Flex Duo" oven that can cook two meals at two different temperatures simultaneously. (Kind of like that Multi-View TV!)
- A "speed oven" that combines a convection oven, broiler, microwave and traditional oven.
Cameras And Computers Round Out The Deck
Of course, even when these bleeding edge products finally hit the market, they'd be priced well beyond mainstream consumers' budgets. At least at first. Still, it's nice to see that Samsung's future of a smart, well, everything includes ways to extend the shelf life of its products and expand their utility beyond conventional parameters. At its CES 2013 press conference, the company also announced updates to its acclaimed Series 7 notebooks and the NX300, the latest in its well-regarded mirror-less camera line.
Samsung Eclipses Sony
Samsung has come a long way. Sony, former electronics top dog, missed the boat on big trends - like mobile - and has been hurting ever since (See ReadWrite DeathWatch: Sony), posting a massive $6.4 billion loss for fiscal 2012. The Korean upstart has filled the vacuum - and then some.
Samsung now dominates the all important smartphone market, and is working aggressively to connect the dots from mobile to its other product areas.