It is interesting to see the wheels in motion when it comes to dealing with the big technology companies particularly in the area of app stores. I’m going out on a limb to speculate that Google will probably avoid the worst of it since they already allow people to ‘opt in’ to be able to side load but I don’t think they’ll go unscatched – they’ll probably demand that developers can go through third party payment solutions, maybe cap the percentage that the app store take as a cut. Regarding Apple, they could easily allow side loading and keep it relatively secure using notarisation like they use on macOS – put it behind some sort of setting where you have to enter your pin; agree to a warning then get an activation code sent to the phone that is entered which confirms you wish to go ahead.
Samsung is having their Unpacked today (at the time of typing this I have the video playing in the background):
It appears that some of the rumours are paying off – they’ve consolidated the Note and Ultra line into a single product which will mean the Ultra will include an S-Pen. It makes sense given that Ultra was essentially a Note but without an S-Pen. Then is the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra – they’ve really leaned into the tablet, particularly when it comes to DeX mode (which teamed up with the Samsung equivalent of a ‘Smart Cover’) which turns it into a full on convertible laptop – based on the video demonstration it will definitely give Apple a run for their money particularly when you consider the expandability, memory and not to mention the long term software support (which was lacking in the past).
They’ve announced that the Google Assistant will be coming to the Galaxy Watch 4 which makes me wonder whether we’re going to see Samsung gradually move away from Bixby in favour of moving to Google Assistant over the long term.
Samsung has also made an interesting shot across the bow to Apple when it comes to talking about balancing security with openness, focusing on privacy not just being able what is and isn’t shared but also when something is shared that it is kept secure. Keeping in mind that this is based off the Unpacked presentation but it is interesting that it was raised – as a point of differentiation where I think that Samsung is hoping that it might win over some Apple users but I think the greater focus is winning over users from other Android OEMs. At the moment the impression I get from Samsung is that they’re trying to win the ‘bang for your buck’ – privacy, security and long term software support. If they cannot compete on price when compared to the Oppo and Xiaomi then it appears they’ll argue the case that paying a little bit extra is worth the price in the long run.
Something else I noticed is the lack of specifications when it comes to the SoC – no details given other than it being very fast and using the latest 4nm technology but nothing mentioned about which markets will receive the Exynos 2200 or the Qualcomm 8 Gen 1 (there have been rumours that Samsung will be going with Qualcomm 8 Gen 1 globally but I guess it’ll be a situation of ‘wait and see’ given how regularly rumours can be wrong). They are offering a $500 online eVoucher and 5% Samsung Rewards, I’ll hold off from making any judgements until they come out with the specifications of the SoC. The other thing that’ll be interesting is the software given that Samsung sometimes introduces changes when they introduce new hardware – it’ll be interesting to see whether there will be fewer apps of their own that use their own cloud offerings vs. utilising Microsoft’s or Google’s cloud services.
Edit: Spark has updated their website and according to the website the phone range use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 895 for their entire range in New Zealand – it includes a new modem, all manufactured on their latest fabrication (4nm).