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'Samsung plans to add video to smartphone messaging'

3D renders of Galaxy Z Flip phones by LetsgoDigital (https://nl.letsgodigital.org)
3D renders of Galaxy Z Flip phones by LetsgoDigital (https://nl.letsgodigital.org)

Samsung Electronics’ upcoming smartphones -- possibly including the clamshell device unofficially dubbed “Galaxy Z Flip” and the flagship Galaxy S20 series -- are expected to feature a new video chat service supported by Google’s Android system, according to sources on Wednesday.

There are ongoing trilateral talks among device manufacturer Samsung, mobile carrier SK Telecom and Google on starting a video messaging service on Samsung’s Android-powered phones, a high-ranking official from the related industry said.

The plan includes linking Google’s mobile video chat service Google DUO with the current rich communication services available on the latest Samsung phones -- the Galaxy S9 and S10 series. This would advance cross-device messaging services for videos of less than 5 megabytes, free of data charges, competing against popular over-the-top messaging services like WhatsApp and KakaoTalk.

Currently, Google provides the video chap application for Android smartphones, along with Chrome, Gmail, Google Photo, Google Play Movie and Google Drive apps.

With Samsung, the video chat service would be usable alongside the phone’s default messaging feature supported by mobile carriers SKT, KT and LG Uplus here, without the burden of downloading the app or paying extra data charges.

“Considering the trend of young users preferring video chatting, talks are underway to enhance the current RCS by connecting it with Google DUO,” the source said.

At the Consumer Electronics Show 2020 in Las Vegas earlier this month, SKT CEO Park Jung-ho hinted that Samsung’s upcoming foldable phone may feature a video chat service.

“New form factors like the Samsung clamshell foldable device will be good for making video calls,” Park said. “The Samsung clamshell phone is very suitable for video calls and chats, because the upper part of the device can be erected (for video chats while multitasking).”

“Because both Samsung and SKT are pretty much on the same page to further develop the RCS, there is a serious need to consider the option,” the industry source said.

Slated for debut on Feb. 11, the Samsung clamshell smartphone is a foldable device designed to vertically unfold into a 6.7-inch screen.

It is likely to be called “Galaxy Z Flip” or “Galaxy Z,” according to some posts on social media.

A Samsung official told The Korea Herald during the CES 2020 that Samsung is planning to launch various types of foldable phones under the Galaxy Z series.

Meanwhile, Roh Tae-moon, the new head of Samsung’s mobile business, said, “We are still discussing the final name (of the clamshell device).”

By Song Su-hyun (song@heraldcorp.com)
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