Samsung Debuts New Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy Watch, Wireless Charger Duo, and Galaxy Home Smart Speaker

Samsung this morning debuted its latest flagship smartphone, the new Galaxy Note 9. The Galaxy Note 9 is equipped with a 6.4-inch 2960 by 1400 Super AMOLED screen, and like previous Note models, it works with the S Pen stylus. Design wise, it looks quite similar to the Note 8.

Inside, the Galaxy Note 9 features Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 processor, 6 to 8GB RAM, dual AKG speakers, and a 4,000 mAh battery. Samsung is using the same 12-megapixel dual-aperture camera system it used in the Note 8, with the addition of an Intelligent Camera function that's able to detect what you're taking a photo of.


Samsung says that with the Snapdragon 845, it has included "Water Carbon Cooling System" inside the phone for improved performance with processor intensive apps such as Fortnite.


The S Pen that comes with the Galaxy Note 9 introduces new Bluetooth-enabled features that allow it to be used to control the camera of the device for taking selfies and other photos, control video playback, and more. Samsung has created an SDK that will let developers integrate the S Pen into their apps, and that will be available later this year.


The Galaxy Note 9 works with DeX, Samsung's feature that allows a smartphone to be docked to a desktop and used with a mouse and keyboard. The Note 9 DeX implementation does not require a dedicated dock, instead using a USB-C to HDMI adapter.

The smartphone also features a USB-C port, a headphone jack, a front-facing iris scanner, and a fingerprint reader that's centered at the back of the device. Though Google just introduced Android 9 Pie, the Note 9 will come with Android 8.1.

Samsung is pricing its Galaxy Note 9 at $1,000, the same price as the iPhone X, with the entry-level model coming with 128GB of storage and 6GB RAM. A version with 8GB RAM and 512GB of storage will be priced at $1,300. Pre-orders for the Galaxy Note 9 start tomorrow ahead of an August 24 launch.

Alongside the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung introduced the new Galaxy Watch, an LTE-enabled device that's been designed to look like "a real watch" with a circular face and bezel that doubles as a control unit. It offers up Corning's DX+ glass and better battery life than previous Samsung smart watches, with Samsung claiming that it will last several days on one charge.


Much like the Apple Watch, it offers a breathing guide to calm you down, heart rate monitoring, Bixby support, 39 workout types for fitness, and it's able to detect six common exercises automatically. Unlike the Apple Watch, though, the Galaxy Watch tracks sleep quality.


To charge the Galaxy Note 9 and the Galaxy Watch, Samsung has introduced an AirPower-like Wireless Charger Duo that's able to charge the watch and the phone at the same time.


Samsung is also getting into the smart speaker market with the Bixby-enabled Galaxy Home, which is designed to compete with Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod, Google Home, and other smart speaker options on the market. Galaxy Home works with Bixby, and Samsung says that its design is able to send sound in every direction.


For Galaxy Home and across Samsung's other devices, Samsung has teamed up with Spotify for a "true cross-listening experience" that lets Spotify be used seamlessly across Samsung devices. Spotify will be part of the setup process on all Samsung devices, including Samsung smartphones, the Galaxy Home, and Samsung Smart TVs, with Bixby integration coming to Spotify.


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Samsung Says ‘Bixby 2.0’ Smart Speaker Will Feature Multi-User Voice Recognition

Samsung has announced at the Mobile World Congress that version 2.0 of its Bixby voice assistant will launch with the Galaxy Note 9 and come with support for recognizing individual voices (via ZDNet).

Samsung mobile chief D J Koh said that Bixby 2.0 is being tested by approximately 800 partners and is helping the company to develop a "wider scope of voice assistant features", one of which is the ability to recognize individual voices on devices supporting multiple users.


Development of the feature makes sense given Samsung's plans to launch a television set with built-in Bixby next month, as well as a Bixby-enabled smart speaker set for release in the second half of 2018.

Amazon's Echo devices and Google's Home smart speakers already include voice matching settings which let multiple users access personalized services, however Apple's HomePod lacks such a feature.

For Siri commands that interact with user-specific information, only the Apple ID account holder who sets up the HomePod speaker is able to use the additional functionality, and Apple hasn't revealed any plans to bring multi-user voice recognition to its Siri virtual assistant anytime soon.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Tags: Samsung, Bixby
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Samsung Announces ‘Bixby 2.0’ Designed for Smart Home Products Like Refrigerators and TVs

Samsung today announced the second-generation version of its Bixby voice assistant, seven months after Bixby was first unveiled ahead of the launch of the Galaxy S8.

According to Samsung, Bixby 2.0 is a "fundamental leap forward for digital assistants" and a "bold reinvention of the platform," designed with the aim of making Bixby available on "any and all devices."


Bixby 2.0 will be available on smartphones, TVs, refrigerators, home speakers, and other connected technology products. Bixby 2.0 will be "open," allowing developers to choose how users interact with Bixby in their services.

Samsung says Bixby 2.0 features enhanced natural language capabilities to support more natural commands and complex processing, so it can "really get to know and understand" who you are and who members of your family are.

Bixby, a Siri competitor, was designed to be deeply integrated within apps, differentiating it from other AI-based assistants like Siri and Cortana. Samsung ran into trouble with Bixby early on, though, and was not able to include the assistant in the English versions of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ due to performance issues.

While Bixby performed well in Korean, its English voice recognition capabilities lagged behind, and so Bixby was not added to the Galaxy S8 and S8+ models in the United States until July, three months after the devices launched.

Galaxy S8 owners have complained that Bixby can be confusing and frustrating to use, and a lack of enthusiasm for the feature has even caused Samsung to implement a feature that allows the dedicated Bixby button on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 to be disabled.

Bixby was built using technology Samsung acquired from Viv, an AI assistant that was developed by some of the creators originally responsible for Apple's Siri.

Samsung is launching a private beta program with the Bixby SDK, available for select developers.

Tags: Samsung, Bixby

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