Leading off Samsung's CES press conference Monday with the promise of introduction of a 5G smartphone within the first half of 2019, H.S. Kim, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Division of Samsung Electronics, vowed that products in that 5G realm as well as in the Artificial Intelligence (AI), IoT and 8K categories would carry through to the company’s “bold vision of connectivity,” and he went on to highlight these as the foundation for next-level consumer experiences across Samsung’s product portfolio.
His remarks set the stage for a comprehensive product category presentation emceed by Yoon Lee, senior VP, Samsung Electronics America, encompassing connected and intelligent devices across the home appliances, home entertainment, mobile computing, automotive, and robotics areas.
Central to the company’s strategy is the incorporation of its voice assistant platform, Bixby, throughout its product ecosystem, as a scalable, open-AI platform spanning Samsung’s mobile products as well as its QLED and premium UHD TVs and smart appliances including refrigerators, washers, air conditioners, and AI speakers. Bixby is also being migrated to Samsung robotics to help manage activities of dialing living for the aging population demographic.
Samsung’s plans for deeper infusion into consumers’ daily experiences are off to a good start; Lee pointed out that 70 percent of American homes have at least one Samsung device and 25 percent have at least three.
Here’s a rundown of some of the categories seeing introductions by the company:
• Entertainment – In 8K TVs, Samsung is following its introduction of an 85-inch model late last year with the unveiling of the 98-inch QLED 8K – its largest yet.
Its 8K lineup now also includes 65-, 75- and 82-inch models, which are being offered for preorder through retailers including Southern California’s Video and Audio Center.
The line uses Samsung’s Quantum Processor 8K chip. The company’s AI-based technology recognizes and upscales content, regardless of the native resolution, to enable it to be viewed on the 8K sets. The 2019 line of Smart TVs also offers an AI algorithm to learn user preferences and make it simpler for them to find content to watch. Content search and control on these sets has also been enhanced to work with the Bixby platform and the AI Remote as well as through Amazon Echo and Google Home.
Samsung further announced it will offer iTunes Movies and TV Shows and Apple AirPlay 2 support on 2019 Samsung Smart TV models beginning this spring, with 2018 Smart TVs being brought up to speed through a firmware update. Alos, a new iTunes Movies and TV Shows app will debut only on Samsung Smart TVs in more than 100 countries. AirPlay 2 support will be available on Samsung Smart TVs in 190 countries worldwide.
• Appliances – The Samsung Family Hub refrigerator has been made more intuitive and intelligent this year, with a redesigned screen – the Family Board - for a better experience, said John Herrington, senior VP and GM of Home Appliances for Samsung Electronics America. The Family Board lets family members communicate in a “creative space” on the front of the fridge, and adds new Bixby capabilities that include response to natural-language commands. It can be used to preset the oven, search for recipes, and even call an Uber. These new features will also be available via automatic update for most earlier Family Hub models. The new front load washer handles a full load in 30 minutes with the SuperSpeed feature, and Bixby can be used to control its smart features such as getting recommendations for the best wash cycle, scheduling a cycle to be completed at a users’ preferred time, automatically connecting the dryer cycle when the washer is done, or monitoring usage to efficiently manage laundry appliances.
• Computing – Among introductions was the Notebook Odyssey, optimized for eSports gamers, powered by the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20-series GPU. Also new, the Samsung Space Monitor offers a unique footprint - a minimalist, fully-integrated clamp stand that grips to the desk, tilting back and forth to free up desk space The 27-inch model offers QHD resolution and the 32-inch model presents content in 4K UHD.
• Connected Driving – Samsung showed its latest automotive development with Harman: the Digital Cockpit 2019 offers an enhanced, personalizable connected-car experience focused on safety. Again, using Bixby, drivers can remotely check how much gas they have before going on a long road trip or set the car temperature before getting into the vehicle. Onboard cameras recognize specific drivers and passengers and set up the car’s personal space accordingly – adjusting the display preferences, seat height, lighting, and queuing up favorite playlists. Passengers can also connect to in-vehicle Samsung DeX to get work done on the go. The Digital Cockpit 2019 also provides a safer driving experience with the mirror replacement vision system and camera-based safety solutions.