Samsung today unveiled its latest products at the Samsung South East Asia, Oceania and Taiwan Forum 2013 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Many of the products have been seen before, at international shows like CES and MWC, but the annual forum brings these products to Asia with updated launch information and revelations about the local markets. Here are some of the highlights.
All eyes were on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0. With an 8 inch screen and Samsung's S Pen technology, the Note 8.0 is the latest, compact addition to the Galaxy Note family. The 8" WXGA screen has a resolution of 1280 x 800, and comes with 16 or 32GB of internal storage, with an external microSD card slot. It's expected to arrive in Singapore in Q2. Check out our in-depth hands-on preview of the Galaxy Note 8.0 to find out more.
New to the Samsung Galaxy smartphone family are the Galaxy Young, Fame, Express, Xcover 2 and Grand.
The Galaxy Young is an affordable smartphone for the…young…with entry-level specs. It comes with a 3.27" screen, a 1GHz processor, 768MB RAM, 4GB of storage with a microSD slot, and a 3MP camera. It's a small phone, measuring 58.6 x 109.4 x 12.5mm and weighs 112g.
The Galaxy Fame comes with a slightly larger screen and higher resolution camera but less RAM. Its screen measures 3.5" and it runs a 1GHz processor with 512MB RAM, 4GB of internal storage with a microSD slot and 5MP camera. Size and weight are also identical with the Young at 113.2 x 61.6 x 11.6mm and 120.6g.
Both the Young and the Fame run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Their launch dates are to be confirmed.
The Samsung Galaxy Express is billed as "LTE for everyone". Described also as "value-driven", expect this to be an affordable model but with 4G LTE support. It comes with a 4.5" Super AMOLED Plus display, a 1.2GHz quad core processor with 1GB RAM, a 8MP camera, all running on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The Express is expected to arrive in Singapore in Q2.
The Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 is a tough smartphone for the adventurous. It's dust and sand-proof, and even water-resistant to a depth of one meter for up to 30 minutes. It also comes with pre-loaded Google Maps data, enhanced GPS, a 4" display, 5MP camera, 1GHz dual core processor with 1GB RAM, running on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
The Samsung Galaxy Grand has a large 5" display, with a 1.2GHz dual core processor with 1GB RAM, a 8MP camera and runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It also supports dual SIM cards, letting users manage two phone numbers using a single phone.
Samsung's user interface for their 2013 Smart TVs has been redesigned. The new Smart Hub organises content into three main panels: Apps, Photos, Videos & Music, and Social. Apps are apps made for Smart TVs, you can store your own content in the cloud and access them via the Photos, Videos & Music panel, and Social lets you share your favourite online videos with your friends and family. We first covered these details at Samsung's keynote from CES 2013.
Samsung says that the motion and voice controls have been enhanced in their 2013 models, with improved language recognition and Smart TV models now understanding about 300 commands. You can also use your hands now to rotate images, as well as to zoom in and out.
Samsung also talked about its S-Recommendation with Voice Interaction technology, which can analyse your on-air viewing habits and offer personalised program suggestions. This service is only available right now in select markets though, like Australia.
Finally, Samsung introduced an interesting way to keep older models relevant with the 2013 Evolution Kit. Installing the Evolution Kit, which looks like a simple black box that locks onto the back of a compatible TV, owners can upgrade their Smart TV with the new 2013 features as well as quad-core support.
The NX300 is Samsung's new flagship mirrorless system camera, with a 20.3MP APS-C CMOS sensor and a new hybrid auto-focus (AF) system which combines both phase and contrast detection AF. It comes with a very fast 1/6000 shutter speed which will combine nicely with fast lenses for shooting wide open in good light, and a 8.6fps continuous shooting speed for capturing action.
The NX300 can also capture 1080p Full-HD video in both 2D and 3D, when coupled with the new 45mm f/1.8 2D/3D lens. The NX300's large 3.31-inch AMOLED touch-screen is the first NX camera to come with a tilt screen. For even more hands-on info of both the camera and the new lens, check out our preview from Samsung's booth at CES 2013.