Samsung launches new flagships, including one 5G smartphone
By Edwin Yapp February 26, 2020
SAMSUNG Electronics Co Ltd is poised to bring to market its first mass-market 5G handset to the world, including in Malaysia, with the global launch of the Samsung Galaxy S20 series of smartphones.
The South Korean electronics company claims its new line of flagship smartphones will bring to market a brand-new camera architecture that combines artificial intelligence (AI) with Samsung’s largest image sensor yet for stunning image quality.
The global launch took place in San Francisco, California on Feb 11. Samsung Malaysia made the announcement at a pre-launch event on Feb 12 in Malaysia. The new smartphones are expected to be officially launched on Feb 28, according to company officials.
“As we enter this new decade, 5G will completely change how we communicate and how we experience the world around us,” said Dr TM Roh, president and head of mobile communications business at Samsung Electronics.
“As all three Galaxy S20 variants come with 5G connectivity, Samsung is providing a next-generation device for transforming people’s lives,” he added.
However, officials from Samsung Malaysia noted that of the three variants to be launched on Feb 28, only the Galaxy S20 Ultra will support 5G technology, while the Galaxy S20 and the Galaxy S20+ will only support 4G.
The Galaxy S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra are priced at RM3,599, RM3,999 and RM4,999 respectively.
[RM1 = US$0.23]
The launch of Samsung’s new flagship of “S” series of smartphones equipped with 5G capabilities had long been expected. Samsung first launched its 5G smartphone last year when it introduced the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and the Samsung Galaxy Fold in the United States. Digital News Asia (DNA) reviewed the non-5G Galaxy Fold last year.
Malaysia has yet to officially launch 5G commercially although it has showcased various trials and demonstrations and inked a number of collaborations between industry players. The Malaysian government has indicated at a recent 5G event that it expects 5G prospective players to accept its idea of allocating spectrum to a single consortium.
According to Neil Shah (pic), research director at Counterpoint Research, Samsung leads the premium segment of the smartphone market – defined at more than US$400 – in Southeast Asia with close to 45% share ahead of Apple Inc.
“The new Galaxy S20 series will help Samsung to expand its market share in the premium segment in Southeast Asia in the coming quarters,” he told DNA in an email interview.
Asked what struck him about the S20 series of smartphones after the launch, Shah said he believed Samsung is pushing the envelope in terms of camera innovations, display performance, strong components with advanced memory, storage, and processors.
He added that Samsung has improved on its software user interface (UI) with the introduction of its second-generation One UI.
“Various Chinese brands have made strong inroads over the last couple of years – the likes of OPPO Mobile Telecommunications Corp, Xiaomi Inc and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd,” Shah highlights. “This has kept Samsung’s overall market share in check.”
As for challenges facing Samsung, Shah said that the base S20 model will continue to be challenged by the popularity of Apple’s iPhone 11, which is still a hot-selling model in Southeast Asia.
“Samsung will also have to be prudent about how they go about doing its promotion as it will need to stretch out is publicity throughout the year and not just concentrate on it for the initial few months, as some countries in Southeast Asia will be only launching 5G later this year.”
The new line of S20 smartphones feature souped-up photography capabilities. For starters, the S20 and S20+ have 64-MP cameras, while S20 Ultra has 108MP camera.
They also feature larger sensors that take in more light, which enabled richer image quality even in low light situations, the company claims.
Samsung also boasts of being able to shift dynamically between a high resolution 108MP mode and a 12MP mode on the S20 Ultra, thanks to nona-binning technology which combines nine pixels into one at the sensor level.
As for zoom capabilities, the S20 uses a combination of ‘Hybrid Optic Zoom’ and ‘Super Resolution Zoom,’ which includes AI-powered digital zoom, which means a user can zoom in close even when his is far away from the object.WIth AI-powered, multi-image processing to reduce quality loss at high zoom levels, users can experience Super Resolution Zoom up to 100X with a clearer view ever than before, Samsung claims.
Other features include 8K video shooting. Users can stream the video capture directly to a Samsung QLED 8K TV and enjoy its best-in-class viewing experience or grab a still from an 8K video and turn it into a high-res photo. Video recording also features Super Steady capture and its anti-rolling stabilization and AI motion analysis to ensure videos are steadily recorded.
Other S20 series specifications can be found here.