Samsung consigns 2016 and Note 7 debacle to history with new products at CES 2017
With such a broad consumer product portfolio, Samsung's CES 2017 press conference packed a lot in to a single hour, ranging from washing machines and TVs to gaming laptops, speakers and notebooks.
The Korean technology company used the CES stage to address the devastating Galaxy Note 7 recall from the outset, promising that it would share the findings from its investigation into the exploding smartphone soon and acknowleding that it must now work hard to regain customers’ trust.
“As you know, this year was a challenging year for Samsung,” said Tim Baxter, president and chief operating officer of Samsung Electronics America, somewhat understating the issue. Baxter said the company is continuing with its “intensive efforts” to establish the root cause of the Note 7’s exploding batteries.
Perhaps as a tacit show of humility, Samsumg’s CES press conference was somewhat muted, effectively a string of product announcements, refinements and updates, albeit delivered to a packed room – so full, that an overflow ballroom had to be set up to accommodate the media scrum.
Baxter stated that the new products show that Samsung is “reaching higher with a wide range of innovations to provide consumers with their best experience yet. By listening to our consumers and building on our heritage of innovation, we are delivering on our vision of the future – one that is powered by connected and elegantly-designed products and services that put consumers firmly at the centre.”
What this amounts to in 2017 is a 75in Q8C QLED TV; the H7 wireless speaker and soundbar; the FlexWash and FlexDry twin laundry system (the former boasting the world's largest front-loading capacity at 50 cubic feet, with another cubic foot available in a separate unit on top for washing smaller loads separately from the main load); the Family Hub 2.0 voice-activated fridge (building on 2016's connected fridge); the Chromebook Plus and Pro laptops; a new 15in Notebook 9 and a somewhat bizarre “gaming laptop” called the Notebook Odyssey.
The metal-body Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro laptops are designed for Google Play and can switch between notebook and tablet operation. The 15in Notebook 9 will be running on seventh-generation Intel Kaby Lake processors and will feature a powerful GPU for what Samsung referred to as the most “hardware intensive tasks, from photo and video editing, to running programs on multiple monitors”.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the Notebook Odyssey, Samsung unveiling its return to the dedicated gaming laptop arena after several years of absence. The Odyssey will be available with either a 15in or 17in anti-glare screen and is powered by Intel’s Core i7 processor. Both models will feature a dedicated button that boosts the performance of the processor, graphics and memory, theoretically giving more power to run games more smoothly.
A special cooling system has also been designed for the laptop, comprised of a bright-colour ventilation technology called HexaFlow on the underside of the device. This section can also be opened to allow future storage and memory upgrades.
While the concept of a gaming laptop itself is intriguing, Samsung’s execution [pictured above] left many people pondering the importance of taste and style in determining commercial success, the vividly illuminated design of the Odyssey proving divisive amongst the audience.