Right off the bat, Samsung makes beautiful devices. The Mystic Bronze colour of the Galaxy Note 20 and Fold 2 devices is beautiful to look at. The new Galaxy Watch 3 and Galaxy Beans, sorry Buds Live are also getting the same treatment.
The devices were not the highlight of the event for me. The integrations, however, were more interesting than I expected. It makes Android devices, specifically Samsung Devices, more appealing to use because of the blooming ecosystem that is coming up.
Microsoft throughout Samsung
This was the highlight of the integrations that were shown off. Microsoft and Samsung started this partnership last year with the Note 10 line of devices. The Your-Phone app from Microsoft came pre-installed on the Samsung Note 10 and Note 10+. The mobile app syncs your text messages and notifications with the Your Phone desktop app on Windows.
The partnership is further blooming to enable the use of mobile apps on the desktop without having to use Samsung’s Dex mode. Previously, this required you to cast your screen through the desktop app in order to use your apps. This is a much cleaner way of doing the same thing. The Your-Phone Desktop app lists all the mobile apps you have installed on your phone. Clicking on any of them will open that app individually in a new tab eliminating the need to cast your screen.
Samsung Notes and Reminders will also be able to sync with the OneNote feed and Windows PC respectively. You can quickly jot down your notes from a meeting with your S Pen on Galaxy Note20 and have instant access to the content in your productivity apps like Outlook and OneNote.
This integration will also extend to the Galaxy Watch line as well. You will eventually be able to make quick notes on your watch and they will sync to your phone and Windows PC so that you can have access to them later and vice versa.
XBox Game Pass.
Microsoft is currently testing its cloud gaming platform dubbed X-cloud. Galaxy phones will be able to use the platform starting September 15th by downloading the app from the Samsung Galaxy Store. This will eventually be available for all Android phones in the long run.
Samsung will also include a bluetooth controller for customers who pre order the Note 20 with the gaming bundle in order to provide a seamless experience while playing games. The bundle will also have 3 months of XBox Game Pass Ultimate.
3 generations of updates
In the past, I have complained about Samsung’s lacklustre software update cycle. Well, Samsung has increased its update cycle from 2 years to 3 years of major software updates. This means that the Note 20 will have the current Android 10 and the next 3 versions of Android as well. According to Samsung, this will also apply to the S10 and Note 10 series meaning they will get Android 11 and 12.
Although a one year increase in support may not seem all that much, it is a welcome move that will see phones be used much longer. However, this promise might only apply to their flagship lines and probably a few midrangers. However, for the price you pay for the flagship line, support should definitely be longer.
Samsung Dex goes wireless
Samsung Dex is Samsung’s solution to making Smartphones more desktop like by providing a desktop experience when connected to an external display. It started with the S8 and at the time, it required a special dock for the feature to work.
Today, with the Note 20 series, it can work wirelessly. Owners of the Note 20 will be able to use their phones wirelessly whilst using Dex mode to enhance their experience even on a TV and not necessarily a monitor.
There is one catch, the device should support Miracast which is a standard for wireless connections from sending devices to display-receivers.
This is not necessarily a Note 20 only feature, Google recently started rolling out Nearby Sharing to Android phones. It is meant to solve the long standing hurdle of sharing files among Android users. It is very familiar to Airdrop on the iPhones. Nearby Share will enable direct sharing between any device running Android 6 and up.
The devices were fun to watch but all these software features being added are going to make Android phones more usable and exciting all over again. Samsung is sort of building a worthwhile ecosystem that will let users seamlessly use their devices. The beauty of Android allows for these integrations to come to more devices in the not so distant future.
For more on the devices themselves, Gadgets Africa has a good breakdown of all that was released.