In the tech world, Samsung is known as the company who will throw pretty much anything at the wall to see what sticks. This morning at their Samsung Unpacked event, they did not disappoint in showing up with some of the coolest and wackiest technology to ever be tried on mobile devices.
These are the six products that Samsung showed off today that really had us simultaneously curious and scratching our heads:
We’ll start off with the least crazy and most predictable product announcement of the day, which was the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. The device is a pretty normal iteration of the Note line of smartphones, which has always been Samsung’s highest-powered and largest devices. The Galaxy Note 4 is no different with its 5.7” Super AMOLED Quad HD display, a 16-megapixel rear facing camera, and the company’s more refined UX design. The device still has the faux-leather backing of the Note 3 and the Galaxy S5, but now has replaced the plastic frame with a metal one. It’s a nice touch, but still a bit of a letdown considering all the rumors that the Note 4 was going to have a full aluminum body. But now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, onto the crazy.
Much crazier than the device itself, Samsung also announced that for users who find the faux-leather back of the Galaxy Note 4 to be a little off-putting, they will be able to buy a Swarovski Crystal back cover at launch. Although pricing has yet to be announced, they look pretty much how you would expect a Swarovski Crystal phone cover to look, so there’s that.
One of the biggest surprises of the event was a device called the Galaxy Note Edge, which takes the Galaxy Note 4 and adds a uniquely Samsung touch to it—a funky curved display. Samsung is really into curved displays these days, but this might be the most interesting and strange use of them yet. The Note Edge has a curved edge in the display only on one side of the device and gives users contextual buttons, settings, and other things that might otherwise clutter your screen. There were a variety of interesting use cases shown off, some of which seem actually helpful and others which seem downright silly.
The fact that Samsung was going to get into the virtual reality game was no surprise to anyone when leaks first came out earlier this year. However, not many people thought John Carmack of Oculus was going to be on stage showing it off. Working in tandem with Oculus, Samsung’s virtual reality headset turns your Galaxy Note 4 into a completely mobile VR experience when you insert it into the front of the headset. The company has worked with Oculus to get the technology right—and reports show that the experience is every bit as convincing as the Oculus Rift. Now I’m not sure why you’d want to use this thing while riding on the bus or pretty much anywhere public, but hey—it’s kind of impressive nonetheless.
Finally, Samsung officially announced yet another smartwatch to add to their lineup so far which currently includes flagship Galaxy Gear 2, the health-centered Gear Fit, and the Android Wear-powered Gear Live. The Gear S Watch runs on the Tizen operating system (like the Galaxy Gear 2) and features a curved 2-inch display. The primary feature of this big watch though is its ability to make phone calls and get online without the need of a smartphone. While all the others rely on the service from the Samsung smartphone in your pocket, the Gear S Watch is a standalone device that actually lets you leave your smartphone at home.
The Gear Circle headset (yes, that’s really what they’re calling it) is a product that is meant to be used with the Gear S Watch in order to complete it as a standalone experience. The wireless Bluetooth headset can help you take calls and issue voice commands, with up to 11 hours of talk time battery life. The crazier part is that when you aren’t using it, Samsung wants you to wear it around your neck. Why, you ask? So that it can vibrate to alert you of notifications, of course. It hasn’t been shown off to journalists yet, but it’s set to be available in October alongside the Gear S Watch.