Samsung CES 2016 Press Conference: 18K gold Gear S2 Classic, Galaxy Tab Pro S hybrid

The TrustedReviews team is out in force at CES 2016 in Las Vegas, and we’re reporting live from the Samsung Press Conference.

Tim Baxter, president and COO of Samsung Electronics America, opened the conference.

“Last year, we talked about how the intersection of great technology…would shape the future,” said Baxter. “In 2015, we kept our focus.”

“Samsung is recognised for breaking barriers and pushing boundaries,” he continues. “We’re delivering innovation that matters. Easy-to-use technology that makes our lives better.”

Baxter adds: “Samsung is one of the fastest growing brands in home appliances. We remain the number one mobile brand in the world.”

The Internet of Things

Samsung announced the introduction of the new SmartThings Extend USB adapter.

“This will enable users of our 2016 SUHD TVs to control IoT features directly from their TV screens via the SmartThings platform,” explains Baxter.

The adapter can control more than 200 SmartThings-compatible devices, including baby monitors.

What’s more, it’s available free of charge for every customer who buys a 2016 SUHD television.

iot

Solving Consumer Pain Points

“The way consumers watch TV is rapidly changing,” Baxter told press.

He described the pain points of switching between apps and traditional linear TV, asking “does it have to be this complicated? Why can’t it be as easy as changing channels?”

Samsung hopes to change that in 2016, with upcoming revisions to its televisual strategy.

Mobile

“For nearly 10 years, mobile industry growth came from new subscribers and smartphone penetration,” said Baxter.

He explained how there are new opportunities for growth, coming courtesy of the Samsung Galaxy ecosystem.

The company confirmed Samsung Pay would be arriving in Singapore, Australia and Brazil, in addition to the planned rollout for the UK, Spain and China.

samsung pay

Gear VR

Samsung will show off Project Beyond, with Baxter describing it as the world’s first fully automated 360-degree professional VR camera.

It’s designed to support the Gear VR, the company’s existing virtual-reality headset, which is already on sale in the UK.

Samsung SUHD TV

“Consumers are loving SUHD’s incredible brightness…and clarity,” said Joe Stinziano, executive VP of Samsung Electronics America, who took to the stage after Baxter.

“In 2016, we’ll continue our focus, strengthening our commitment to go beyond anything we’ve ever done before,” he adds.

Samsung announced the flagship SUHD TV for 2016, the KS9500, with a quantum dot display.

Stinziano described it as the world’s first bezel-less design, confirming that Samsung would offer five different series of sizes ranging from 49-inches to 85-inches.

He also sang the praises of the quantum dot display technology featured in the TVs, making a strong case for the new TV’s brightness potential.

“Our new ultra-back technology reduces light reflection,” he continues, “and the increased brightness helps to express a higher level of contrast, so you can see the intensity of bright sunlight.”

He adds: “It’s truly remarkable. If a TV can’t do all this…it’s not UHD.”

suhd

Tizen TVs

Another Samsung spokesperson took to the stage, lauding the Tizen TV experience.

He reeled off a number of Tizen statistics, including:

  • 20 million Tizen-powered TVs globally
  • 600 premium partners for Tizen
  • 20 billion hours of TV consumed via Tizen

According to Samsung, Tizen TV addresses a number of the pain points suffered by consumers with rival services such as Android TV or LG’s webOS 3.0.

The company has made improvements in terms of speed for switching between services
, saying it’s as easy to switch to an app such as Netflix as “switching between channel one and channel two”.

The system also offers new and recommended content that’s universally available immediately. As such, you can see content available on Netflix, without even launching the Netflix app.

It’s a similar story for gaming; new Sony games will show up without ever launching a dedicated app.

“As we all know, television viewing behaviour is changing rapidly. At both Samsung and Time Warner Cable, we care deeply about the things that matter most to our customers,” explains Mike Angus, senior VP Time Warner Cable, speaking on stage.

He continues: “We know that in addition to the services that Time Warner Cable provides…our customers subscribe to other services as well. So we’re making it easier and more intuitive for them to find and watch their favourite TV shows and movies, whether that’s on Hulu, Netflix or Time Warner Cable.”

“We’re very proud to announce today the seamless integration of Time Warner Cable and Samsung’s Tizen platform,” adds Angus.

uhd

UHD Alliance

Samsung also announced that the UHD Alliance’s new Ultra HD Premium certification will arrive on every 2016 Samsung SUHD television.

The company also plans to launch its first Ultra HD Blu-ray player – the UBD-K8500 – in March this year.

uhd

Smart Home

“2015 was a great year,”  says John Herrington, senior VP of Samsung Electronics America, praising its smart home innovations from the last 12 months. “And it gets even better this year.”

The company has added an easy-to-reach touch-control panel to its flagship Active Wash top-loading washing machine, set to launch globally this spring.

Samsung also showed off AddWash, a washing machine technology that lets you just add in items mid-wash – for those who often find random socks mid-cycle, perhaps?

It’s not exactly a new innovation, mind – LG showed off the exact same technology in the first half of 2015. This is really about playing catch-up for Samsung.

“Another example of a thoughtful solution for a real-life problem,” says Herrington, describing the AddWash technology, which will be available on three front-loading washer models in the first half of 2016.

addwash

“We’re launching a whole new category of home appliances,” Baxter continues, moving onto other home appliances.

Samsung confirmed it would be adding IoT capabilities to its Range line, which means you can turn off your oven remotely.

Baxter also waxed lyrical on the Samsung Family Hub refrigerator, which features a touch panel on the front – this was actually first revealed earlier this week, however.

You can leave notes to your family from afar using the display, and even share photos using Instagram.

family hub

Perhaps the most exciting feature is the built-in camera setup inside the fridge, which lets you view the innards of your refrigerator on your smartphone. Perfect for when you’re doing your weekly shop.

A partnership with MasterCard for – wait for it – Groceries by MasterCard was also revealed by Baxter. This connects to several shopping services such as Fresh Direct to let you shop for food using your fridge. It doesn’t just accept MasterCard mind – most US credit/debit payment services are supported.

Samsung Gear S2 Classic – Platinum and Gold

“Today our devices keep us connected on the go, and are an essential part of our lives,” says Alanna Cotton, VP of Mobile Computing Marketing at Samsung Electronics America.

“We’ve taken our powerful Gear S2 Classic…and added high-end

materials,” she continued, revealing luxurious platinum and 18K rose gold versions of

the watch.

gear s2 classic

It’s a clear attempt to de-throne the ritzy Apple Watch Edition, currently the most high-end luxury smartwatch on the market.

There will be custom-designed watch straps, and new watch faces to pair with the fancy new Gear S2 Classic models.

Gear S2 compatibility will also be arriving for iOS later this year. Yes, you read that right.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S, powered by Windows

The assault on Apple doesn’t stop there, however. In a blatant attempt to battle the iPad Pro – and Microsoft’s Surface series for that matter – Samsung showed off the Galaxy Tab Pro S.

“With this device, we’re combining the beautiful design of a Galaxy Tab with the power of Windows,” explains Cotton.

The Galaxy Tab Pro S will land as the thinnest and lightest 2-in1 tablet on the market today, and will run the full version of Windows 10.

tablet

It’s also the first Windows tablet to offer Samsung’s 12-inch Full HD AMOLED display, and is “designed for powerful business performance”.

That power comes courtesy of an Intel Core M processor, which isn’t exactly a powerhouse chip, but should be plenty for on-the-go productivity.