Samsung is attempting to construct its ecosystem however lacks synthetic intelligence initiatives


Samsung unveiled an array of new products at its Unpacked event in New York earlier this week, including a pair of new phones in its Galaxy Note series, a laptop, a new version of its smart pen, and special smartwatch variants (that build on a watch announced earlier this week). Here are a few of the more interesting developments from that event.

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  • Samsung partnered with Microsoft to bridge the gap between Windows and Android. Microsoft will bundle its Your Phone app on the forthcoming Galaxy Note 10. The app mirrors text messages, notifications, and even the phone screen on a Windows 10 computer. The photo gallery app on the Galaxy Note 10 will also sync to Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service, in a similar functionality to that which Google provides via its Photos app for its Pixel phones. And later this year, users will be able to make calls using their mobile number directly from PCs. Samsung has also updated its Desktop Experience (DeX) software, which allows users to control their phones and use apps from a PC, which could help the company land enterprise deals for its productivity-focused Galaxy Note handsets.
  • The South Korean electronics titan also announced a 5G version of its larger Galaxy Note 10 Plus, but there will be multiple versions with different modems, and none will offer ubiquitous 5G support among the US carriers. The Verizon-exclusive device will debut in the US, include the Qualcomm X50 modem, and only work on Verizon’s 5G millimeter-wave (mmWave) network. Later versions will sport the Qualcomm X55 modem and support AT&T and T-Mobile sub-6 GHz 5G networks. This fragmentation could make it more difficult for consumers to switch wireless carriers.
  • The Galaxy Note 10 series won’t support Samsung’s Gear VR. This is a change from last year, when the company released a special adapter for the Galaxy Note 9 to allow it to work with Samsung’s Micro-USB headset. The shift in approach is likely the result of low demand for the adapter, but could also indicate a strategic shift for the company to differentiate its productivity-focused Galaxy Note lineup from its flagship consumer-oriented Galaxy S series.

The bigger picture: Despite a glut of announcements, Samsung’s AI-based initiatives seemed to be left aside, which could hold the company back from realizing its wider potential across the technology space.

Of almost equal importance was what Samsung didn’t mention, like its long-delayed Galaxy Home smart speaker, or the Bixby voice assistant that comes with all of its Galaxy smartphones and will power that smart speaker.

While Bixby hasn’t been well-received, it’s a key part of Samsung’s attempt to unify its various products in the consumer space, which span both the home and mobile segments. And with the Galaxy Note series seemingly oriented toward productivity and away from consumer-first functions like VR, Samsung could be missing an opportunity to let users buy into a collaborative ecosystem, something that would help the company boost revenue across operating units.

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