For the first time ever, Malaysia plays host to the annual Samsung Southeast Asia Forum – a showcase of innovative technologies that focuses on smart living in the region. Key highlights at the event include the almost bezel-less SUHD TV with Quantum Dot technology; handy AddWash Washing Machine; the cool Family Hub refrigerator; and Windows-powered Galaxy TabPro S. There were other surprises too including announcements on the mySamsung app, preview of the Galaxy View tablet and Samsung Pay.
Life at the top
At the ‘Asia’s Top 1000 Brands’ annual online survey conducted by Campaign Asia-Pacific in collaboration with Nielsen, Samsung was named the best brand in Asia in 2015. Impressively, it’s a fourth year in a row win for the Korean electronics giant.
That’s not all, it’s also ranked top give in at least 14 consumer electronics sub-categories.
It also leads in mobile phones, refrigerators and TVs.
The Quantum Dot TV future
Samsung has been pushing its SUHD TVs for the past few years. Its 2016 lineup this time round though, features Quantum Dot display, unlike Nano Dot in the previous year. The headliner is the JS series with the world’s bezel-less curved design.
The cadmium-free, 10-bit Quantum dot SUHD TV line-up promises true-to-life picture quality, amazing brightness (up to 1,000 nits), exceptional contrast with HDR and brilliant colours. All this packaged into a premium, sexy, incredibly thin form factor.
The new cutting edge Smart TVs run Tizen OS, now enhanced and simplified for a better viewing and user experience. Whether you’re watching Blu-Ray content, streaming OTT or watching YouTube videos, getting about is quick and easy. There’s a new Smart Hub, sleek Smart Control remote and Smart View mobile application.
Aside from the sexy new SUHD TV range, Samsung revealed its first Ultra HD Blu-Ray Player – the UBD-K8500. Offering four times the resolution and 64x detailed colour expression of a conventional Blu-Ray player, it also supports HDR.
There was also bits and pieces of Samsung’s premium audio range, nothing we’ve not seen before, as well as new Soundbars to complement the new displays.
The digital household future, now
The Samsung Forum was always about digital appliances, a market Samsung dominates globally. This year, it’s no different. Several cutting-edge innovations were revealed and demonstrated including the new Samsung AddWash Washing Machine and Family Hub Refrigerator.
Last year, we saw the active dualwash top-loading washing machine that lets your pre-treat your laundry before you add it to the main drum below.
This year, Samsung has brought time-saving innovation and convenience to its front-loader. The AddWash Washing machine features an additional access door for you to add any item of clothing (yes, we do tend to forget that sock) without having to open the main washer door mid-cycle. You can also add hand-washed items or softener anytime during the cycle. Simple but effective.
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The connected fridge
The big eye-catcher though, at least for me, was the Family Hub Refrigerator. With the super multi-tasking new age fridge, Samsung is really making the connected home, real. IOT isn’t just a fancy buzzword anymore.
With a 21.5-inch Full HD touch screen on the front door, the fridge becomes a Family Hub that allows you to post, share and update calendars; pin photos; leave notes – all from your smartphone.
What’s fantastic is that the Family Hub sports three high quality cameras inside the fridge to capture an image every time you open and close the door. This allows you to ‘peek’ into you fridge from your smartphone. You can tag your groceries and put expiry dates on them or reminders to re-stock, so you’ll always have your fridge fully stocked. In the future (depending on region/markets), you’ll be able to buy groceries via the Family Hub for added convenience.
The Family Hub also allows you to listen to music via its built-in speaker, streamed from your smartphone or home network. You can watch your favourite TV programs on the display using Screen Mirroring with your Smart TV. I don’t know about you, but I want one.
Aside from that, Samsung also revealed its new top-mounted freezer (TMF) refrigerator – the RT7000, featuring the unique Twin Cooling Plus technology.
Mobile and wearables
There were no smartphone reveals at the forum. However, Samsung announced two new colour variants for its latest Gear S2 classic smartwatch. No changes in hardware or features though.
Devices aside, Samsung announced that Samsung Pay will hit the Southeast Asia and Oceania region in 2016, starting with Singapore and Australia. Unfortunately, Malaysia isn’t anywhere on the list. Yet.
To further enhance customer experience and improve customer support, Samsung rolled out its regional mySamsung program. Accessible via a free app, Samsung users can manage their devices, gain access to customer support as well as get exclusive privileges.
And then there’s…
At the B2B showcase where Samsung Pay was demonstrated, I got a chance to play around with the new Samsung Galaxy View – the humongous US$499 18.4-inch Android tablet. More about this later.
2016 here we go
Not everything revealed and announced will be available locally, and while I’m excited about Samsung Pay, it’s not going to hit Malaysian shores any time soon.
In summary, the Samsung SEA Forum 2016 showcased some interesting innovations especially in the area of IOT and the smart living room. I’m particularly intrigued with the Family Hub refrigerator, and hope it’s available locally soon.