Samsung is packing 5G support into all of its new Galaxy smartphones, connectivity the devices will likely need, thanks to pro-grade cameras with high-end image processors that use artificial intelligence to render ultra-high-resolution images and 8K video.
The new Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra, unveiled Tuesday during an event in San Francisco, are the first of what will likely be a barrage of new 5G-enabled phones leading into the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month. Samsung typically updates its flagship Galaxy phones at this time of year, but only offered one separate premium 5G capable device in 2019. Overall, 5G-capable smartphones accounted for about 1% of overall unit sales, of which Samsung captures nearly half, company officials said, citing research from Counterpoint Technology’s Market Pulse.
Even though 5G service is in the early phases of starting to appear in pockets of different markets, Samsung is gearing up for 5G-capable devices to account for 18% of all smartphone sales this year. By equipping all of this year’s Galaxy phones for 5G networks, the company is signaling that while 5G service is still rolling out, even those who buy new phones will want to ensure they can use the higher speed services as they do become available this year and into 2021, especially commercial customers.
“They want to make sure that whatever they’re purchasing, [it’s] future-proof,” said Samsung product manager Ray Couey.
“Samsung is making 5G available to more people, more quickly than anyone thought possible,” said TM Roh, president and head of Samsung’s mobile communications business at the launch event. “It begins with our vision to be the innovator in new mobile experiences.”
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Roh underscored that the Galaxy’s new capabilities will create demand for the new 5G services with the phone’s AI and IoT capabilities, in the form of software and hardware component engineered image processing capabilities.
The phones will test customers’ appetites to spend more than $1,000 for a smartphone, with the entry model S20 starting at $999, supporting sub-6Ghz, low-band 5G and millimeter wave. Samsung is the first to address both, as well as full 5G support with the two higher-end units. The fully spec’d Samsung S20 Ultra with a formidable 6.9-inch display will cost $1,599, though it promises to raise the bar for what a user can do with a smartphone.
“These things are absolute spec monsters, but you’re going to pay accordingly,” said mobile industry analyst Avi Greengart of Techsponential. “They’re trying to reestablish themselves as the premier flagship smartphone vendor after having lost some ground to Google, Apple and Huawei in imaging. This aims to correct that.”
Samsung’s S20 Ultra is loaded with a 108-megapixel camera that the company says uses AI and new image processors capable of rendering 100X zoom, and using a technique called “nona-binding,” its sensor can combine nine pixels into one. The base Galaxy S20 with a 6.2-inch display and mid-range, 6.7-inch S20+, will come with respectable 64 MP cameras. All three devices will offer a new capability called Single Take that can capture an ideal image by holding the shutter and creating a short string of images. Samsung also showcased the new phone’s image stabilization capability and its 8K video capture support.
Designed to attract consumers who like to take and share images and gamers, with support for the new Forza Street Xbox game from Microsoft for Android planned for this spring, the new Galaxy phones also introduce new features for enterprise and commercial customers.
Notably, it will allow native connections to corporate networks by …