Samsung’s 2012 South East Asia, Oceania, and Taiwan regional forum in Bangkok, Thailand, is a celebration in itself. The Korean giant achieved record sales of $143 billion (when converted to Philippine pesos… let’s just say that it includes many zeros). In the region, it achieved 41 percent revenue growth; retained its leading position in TVs, monitors, and refrigerators; and became the market leader in phones for the first time.
Of course, the event is for Samsung to primarily show Southeast Asian media, bloggers, and dealers the products that will become available in the region. Top on my list are the following:
• Samsung Galaxy Beam. A 15-lumen DLP projector stuffed into a 4-inch Android smartphone. See the demo here.
• Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. The manufacturer’s first tablet in 2012. It runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich and comes in 7- and 10-inch flavors.
• Samsung Notebook Series 9. The second generation is 21 percent thinner and 28 percent smaller than its predecessor. Powered by an Intel Core i7 processor, the 15-inch notebook powers up in only 9.8 seconds and wakes in just 1.4 seconds.
• Samsung WB850F. Leads the new lineup of Wi-Fi-enabled cameras. This is sharing [of photos] made easy.
There’s one that I’ll mention to Santa in the months to come, though: the Samsung Smart TV.
If the Samsung Galaxy S II grabbed me by my imaginary balls at last year’s forum in Singapore, this year, the Smart TV is the apple (no pun intended) of my eyes. You can communicate with it via voice and motion control and face recognition. Say “hi, TV” and voice control is activated, or use your hands to change channels, thanks to a built-in camera that recognizes movement in the foreground and two microphones that recognize voice.
It’s the stuff that the Microsoft Kinect and the Nintendo Wii are made of. Think Mission Impossible if you like. That may be stretching it a bit, but the foundation of the technology shown by Tom Cruise in the movie is apparent in the Smart TV’s DNA. Check out the short demo below.
It’s not only “smart interaction” that Samsung’s TV strategy is built on. “Smart content” is also critical here. In fact, three new exclusive services are introduced at the forum, and their contents can be pushed or pulled — regardless of your location — from device to cloud and device to device for limitless sharing.
• Family Story. You can organize pictures and see slideshows on the big screen.
• Fitness. Track your progress both on the Smart TV and on the go. Cheaters not allowed.
• Kids. Children-friendly content at your kids’ disposal but something that you can also control and monitor.
This convergence is what they call AllShare Play, the tie that binds Samsung’s products, content, and services, just as iCloud ties Apple’s products, content, and services. A good move because it makes sharing between devices easier and a sheer genius if implemented flawlessly because it will most likely suck consumers into a company’s ecosystem. The more manufacturers like Samsung get people to buy their interconnected products, the more ka-chings of the cash register it is for them.
Samsung’s commitment to “smart evolution” is also in play here. Consider: Select 2012 Smart TV models have a slot at the back where you can insert an evolution kit. The kit will include all necessary software and hardware enhancements using proprietary system-on-chip technology. This is to let you upgrade to the latest tech services without having to buy a new TV. It’s like renewing your TV every year but with more savings on your part. Awesome, right?
So Santa, if I call you one of these days, you know what to expect. Talk to you soon!
Alora Uy Guerrero has covered the technology beat since 2002. She was last seen distorting the minds of tech-savvy Filipinos at another big media company near our future HQ in Mandaluyong. You can check out her site at www.techlokal.com or read her updates at the following: www.twitter.com/aloraguerrero, www.facebook.com/alora.guerrero, www.gplus.to/alora, and www.pinterest.com/aloraguerrero.