It’s time to see what Samsung has been cooking up for the past year. After weeks of speculation, Samsung is taking over the CCIB in Barcelona right in time for Mobile World Congress. This year’s Unpacked conference is a big deal. The company wants to make a splash and make Samsung great again. Samsung has plenty of competition when it comes to Android devices with many brands undercutting the company, but Samsung is also the only one pushing the virtual reality angle so much.
The event starts at 7 PM CET (6 PM GMT, 1 PM EST, 10 AM PST) and TechCrunch’s Frederic Lardinois and Romain Dillet will be there bringing back the up-to-the-second news. We should go live at least a half an hour before the event starts to bring back photos and commentary from the scene — so be sure to join us early!
And we’re now going to get our hands on the new devices. Thank you for tuning in and we already have posts on the new devices
(Loud Inception-style music) D.J. Koh leaves the stage, the first screens are coming down to close the ring-style stage
It looks like D.J. Koh is concluding
D.J. is now shaking Zuck’s hand and calling the photographers to get a sweet pic with Zuckerberg
Zuckerberg finished by saying “the best is still to come.”
“Facebook, with Oculus, are committed with this for the long term.”
“I’m excited to announce that we’re going to bring all this technology to Gear VR in the next few weeks”
“This allows us to deliver a video with a much higher resolution while also reducing the network bandwidth.”
“An example of an important breakthrough is dynamic streaming for VR videos”
“In the last year, we’ve been working to make Facebook the best platform for 360 videos.” YouTube too!
Gear VR users have watched 1 million hours of video in total
“There are already more than 200 games and apps in the Oculus Store for Gear VR”
Because Zuckerberg is walking in circles, photographers are running around the stage to take photos
“Together, this is by far the best mobile experience you can get.”
Reminder: the Gear VR is made in partnership with Oculus. Facebook owns Oculus
“Gear VR is by fare the best mobile VR experience. And that’s because it combines the best hardware from Samsung and the best VR software from Facebook.”
“Imagine attending a group meeting or an event anywhere in the world. All of these things are going to be possible. And that’s why Facebook is investing so much and so early in VR”
Clearly Zuckerberg really believes in VR
“VR is the next platform where anyone can create and experience anything that they want.”
I can’t see him anymore
He’s here to say how Samsung is great. Photographers are running around to take close-up shots of Zuck. WHAT IS HAPPENING?
“Since then, I’ve been interested in this idea of virtual reality. Now today, thanks to this partnership between Samsung and Facebook, this is now possible. And it will be possible to deliver this experience at this scale and this price without Samsung’s experience in hardware.”
(Yes, that Zuckerberg)
Mark Zuckerberg is taking the stage
We’re getting another VR demo. On the headset, you can see a 360 video that was shot in Barcelona. A couple of men are playing soccer, making dribbles.
“With S7 and S7 Edge at the center, we’re truly redefining what a phone can do.” There are so many 360 cameras out there that I’m not sure about that…
“Now, you can create 360 virtual reality experiences.”
It connects to your S7 and S7 Edge. You can preview live from your phone once paired with your phone.
Mistry is showing a Gear 360 unit. It’s made of two F2.0 lenses
“Because they’re using Gear 360, you can see the full picture.” Really looks like a tennis ball.
“We designed Gear 360 to help you tell your story. To capture your life in new ways.”
Project Beyond is for professionals. “But what about the rest of us?”
“We gave you a glimpse of it last month at CES”
“The world isn’t in one direction. It’s anywhere, all around us. We started the 360 journey with Project Beyond, the first true 360 camera”
VP of Research Pranav Mistry is taking the stage
A video showing the 360 camera. It looks like a tennis ball. You can see fotage from your Samsung phone and pan around. And of course, you can look at videos using the Gear VR.
Samsung is announcing a new 360 camera
Samsung Connect Auto brings cloud analytics and data to your car as well as connectivity.
D.J. is now going through a list of partners — gaming partners, Google, Samsung Knox…
Samsung Pay is expanding over the next few months in several more countries including Spain
Samsung stands on three pillars — partners, products and services. That’s a lot of “three things”
“Each one is more than just a smartphone. It is the gateway that links you to new opportunities.” He’s talking about VR
“We’re here to show you that what others see as limits, we see opportunities to redefine the possibilities.”
He’s saying how far we’ve come for the past 10 years when it comes to smartphones
“Today, we stand at the beginning of a new era.”
D.J. is back on stage
Looks like Samsung realllly wants to ship these Gear VRs
“You’ll get a Gear VR as a gift when you pre-order.”
The S7 and S7 Edge will be available on March 11. Pre-order is starting in “a matter of days.”
Justin Denison is back. He’s thanking the Samsung teams.
LOUD MUSIC! EXPLOSIONS! And it’s a demo showing a Galaxy. Get it?
You can see reflections and particles and explosions on what looks like a phone display. This was filmed with a camera above a phone display.
Epic Games is taking the stage for a game demo.
This pack contains over $200 in in-game currencies for popular games. Looks like Samsung loves crappy freemium games
“You can record your own screenplay or you can screen-capture. And we have a special Galaxy Game Pack.”
Talking about gaming. “Vulkan delivers a PC quality experience”
“The long lasting battery and the cutting edge processor makes it the most reliable smartphone you’ve ever owned”
Now let’s move on to the battery — 3000 mAh and 3600 mAh. The S7 probably has a bigger battery given that it doesn’t have the curved edges
And it’s liquid-cooled. “Kinda like air conditioning for your phone.”
The GPU is 60 percent faster
“With every new generation of the Galaxy S series, we’ve made significant improvements. The S7 CPU is about 70 percent more powerful than the one in the S6.”
“Now what’s also impressive is how powerful the hardware is. You expect your phone to keep up with you.”
Samsung is going to sell lens covers with a wide angle lens. “You can capture anything you want in the time you want without limitations.”
It’s like a video panorama.
You can capture motion panoramas with the S7
(Samsung clearly hates the iPhone camera)
Now, there are two videos on the screen showing how the S7 autofocuses much more quickly than the iPhone 6s Plus.
It means that every pixel in the sensor is part of the autofocus system. “On the iPhone 6s Plus, less than 5 percent of the pixels are used this way.”
“Autofocus doesn’t work fast enough.” The company is adding dual pixels to the autofocus system.
Now let’s talk about autofocus
There are now two photos on the big screen shot with the Galaxy S7 and the iPhone 6s Plus. The S7 one looks much better (of course)
“The pixels are 30 percent larger than in the iPhone 6s Plus.” I’m not sure what he means by that. More megapixels?
“You have to have bigger pixels to absorb [more light]”
“It has the largest aperture of any of our smartphone cameras” (F1.7)
“We knew we were up to the challenge.” Samsung was the first company to put a camera into a phone in the 90s
“Most smartphone cameras are optimized for daylight. But that’s only half. What about the other half. Some of your great stories happen at night.”
The new phones have a microSD slot again, bringing back a popular feature that was also dropped in the S6
“They can spend up to 30 minutes submerge in a meter and a half of water. So now you can use your phone in places you’ve never thought before.” like… uh…
“Why not seal it from the inside. It took a lot of effort to make it work.”
As a reminder, the S6 dropped this feature
The Galaxy S7 (Edge) is water proof again!
You can download themes for the always-on screen.
“And because these devices are so personal, we want them to reflect more styles.”
When it’s in your pocket, the screen goes off
The S7 has an always-on display with the time, a calendar and the current battery
“And yet every time you reach for your phone, you have to wake it up” just to get the basic information.
“In fact, I’m tempted to look at my phone right now.”
“And we’ve got a great new feature for those of you who are constantly checking your phone.”
When you swipe from the edge, there’s a wider panel featuring two rows of icons. Third-party developers can develop widgets.
The Galaxy S7 (Edge) is 5.5 inches (compared to 5.1 inches for the S6)
The camera is still sticking out at the back, but Samsung is saying it’s “nearly” flat
“We spent three months perfecting the thermoperforming process” to bring glass and metal together.
(Of course Samsung had weird names like “Black Onyx”, but it’s black really.)
There are four colors — black, gold, silver and white
We now have a video rendering of the new phones. It’s definitely a metal frame as well as a glass on the back.
Justin Denison is now taking the stage, SVP of Product Strategy
D.J. Koh is back with Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge in hands
Aaaaand the VR demo is over
It’s a metal and glass casing.
It looks a bit like the Galaxy S6 Edge, a phone with two curved edges.
In VR, there’s a reproduction of the room that disappears and then an abstract tunnel leading to the Galaxy S7 Edge
I’m going to describe what I see on the screen, reflecting what’s inside the headsets.
Except people who are taking pictures and blogging, of course.
People are now putting their headsets on.
“So please, put on the Gear VR and joy us our new Galaxy unlimited possibilities.”
“We’re humans with all our human failures”, admits D.J.
Challenging, collaborating and improving are the three keywords for Samsung with today’s new products
There have been six generations of Galaxy S phones
“Our beginnings were humble, but our ambitions has always been great.”
“As a company, Samsung has learned how to listen and make bold initiatives.”
D.J. Koh is now on stage. He’s been at Samsung for 30 years now.
“It’s unpacking, eh” says Matt Burns on Slack
There’s a stage behind these four panels
Oooh, and now the four screens in the middle are opening up
Still nothing inside the headets
It’s kinda cute, it makes me think about how things change quickly in tech
We’re seeing Samsung’s last ad right now, showing old imaginary electronics and then Samsung’s products
And the show is starting!
Still a lot of empty seats here…
There are probably hundreds of Gear VR here
As a reminder, the Gear VR works with the Galaxy Note 5, S6 Edge+, S6 and S6 Edge. We can’t look inside to see what they put in these headsets.
Ha! That’s me!
We were promised flying cars but all we got was vomiting journalists
Frederic is wondering whether we’re going to get bags in case we get nauseous
There is really not much else to do right now…
Frederic is just taking pics of people awkwardly trying the VR headset. He’s having fun!
There’s nothing happening inside the headsets for now… What a mystery!
There are 4 giant screens in the center and people are sitting around these four screens, forming a circle
An audio message is giving weird instructions like “please avoid sitting on [the VR]” or “and please, please avoid kicking the VR.”
And we’re inside! This is going to be a weeeeird one. There’s no stage. There is a Gear VR headset on every seat
The line is moving!
As for other products, who knows! A new VR headset? A new smartwatch? We’ll find out in an hour now!
Don’t expect a Galaxy Note or Galaxy Edge+, Samsung usually announces their phablets in September
Last years’s GS6 and GS6 Edge were a bit of a disappointment for Samsung fans as they were no longer water resistant and no longer had a microSD slot. Let’s see if Samsung continues in this direction!
Rumor has it that Samsung is going to announce the Samsung Galaxy S7 as well as the Galaxy S7 Edge — two beasty flagship devices
Let’s do a quick rundown of what we expect
The line outside is quite long now. I hope it’s not going to rain…
And we’re already at the CCIB for Samsung’s latest and greatest devices! It’s a bit early as the conference starts in two hours, but stick around as we settle in and warm up our fingers.
- Founded 1969
- Overview Samsung Electronics is a South Korean multinational electronics company engaged in consumer electronics, information technology and mobile communications, and device solutions businesses worldwide. The company develops, manufactures, and sells various consumer products, including mobile phones, tablets, televisions, Blu-ray players, DVD players, home theater systems, digital cameras, and camcorders; …
- Location Suwon, 17
- Categories Medical Device, Hardware, Software, Electronics
- Website http://www.samsung.com/us
- Full profile for Samsung Electronics