Samsung Electronics took the wraps off the seventh generation of its flagship Galaxy smartphone in Barcelona on Sunday, a day before the opening of the Mobile World Congress trade show.
The firm, which is the world’s largest smartphone marker by sales, also unveiled the next generation of the Galaxy’s variant model with curved displays.
Koh Dong-jin, president of Samsung Electronics’ mobile communications business, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shake hands at Samsung’s launch event for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge in Barcelona on Sunday. (Samsung Electronics)
At first glance, the 5.1-inch Galaxy S7 and the 5.5-inch S7 Edge appear similar to the preceding S6 and S6 Edge models, but Samsung has integrated refined features into the new mobile devices, which cater to avid mobile gamers, virtual reality enthusiasts, and selfie lovers.
At the launch event on Sunday, the new smartphones were impressive enough to elicit an enthusiastic response from the some 5,000 spectators who also got to try out Samsung’s virtual reality headset Gear VR.
Notable features of the smartphones include an expandable memory slot that supports cards up to 200GB, the industry’s highest level of dust and water resistance -- they can be submerged under 15 meters of water for up to 30 minutes -- and an always-on display that notifies users of battery status and schedules when the display is turned off.
Some critics had pointed out that the lack of expandable memory and dust and water resistance in the S6 and S6 Edge had disappointed some Samsung fans.
The new smartphones boast several world-first features including a Dual Pixel camera, which delivers brighter and sharper images in low light, according to Samsung.
The S7 and S7 Edge, equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 mobile processor, support Vulkan API technology, which improves graphics to offer a PC-quality gaming experience. This is a first in the mobile sector.
The improved mobile graphics indicate that high-quality VR content will soon be available with the smartphones.
The new mobile gadgets’ hardware and software updates, bigger battery capacity, and an internal cooling system, will provide an optimal mobile gaming experience for users, the company said.
Koh Dong-jin, president of Samsung Electronics’ mobile communications business, introduces the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge at the firm’s launch event in Barcelona on Sunday. (Samsung Electronics)
“We believe in a world that is brighter, sharper, more convenient, and more fun. We strive to deliver on that vision with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge by marrying elegant design with functionality and providing a seamless mobile experience,” said Koh Dong-jin, president of Samsung’s mobile communications business, adding that the tech firm would push the boundaries of the mobile experience into the VR sector.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made an unannounced appearance at the event to endorse Samsung and talk about progress in the emerging VR tech. The U.S. social network firm has maintained a partnership with Samsung in VR since 2014,
“Pretty soon we’re going to live in a world where everyone has the power to share and experience whole scenes as if you’re just there, right there in person,” said the Facebook CEO, adding that “VR is the next platform where anyone can create and experience anything they want.”
The social network firm and its Korean partner vowed to work together to bring new VR technology to the market.
Kwon Sung-ryul, an analyst from Dongbu Investment and Securities, anticipated that Samsung would be able to ship around 40 million units of the Galaxy S7 this year.
“The Galaxy S7 has made improvements in areas such as battery, mobile processor, DRAM, and camera, but price will be the most important factor for consumers,” the analyst said in an investment report.
By Kim Young-won (email@example.com