Thursday, 21 September 2017 22:45

Galaxy Studio to feature Galaxy Note8 in Fed Square for six weeks, Note8 media launch wrap

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Melbourne’s Federation Square will be host to the Samsung Galaxy Studio experience, which for six weeks will showcase Samsung’s Note8 and more, with as much interactive magic as possible.

From 25 September, Samsung is going all out in Melbourne’s Federation Square where, via the “Galaxy Studio”, visitors “will have the opportunity to experience the Note8 and Galaxy ecosystem through a range of interactive experiences".

Following “the success of Australia’s first Galaxy Studio in Sydney’s Westfield Parramatta earlier this year”, Federation Square will take visitors through “an immersive journey across Samsung’s latest mobile technology, including with virtual reality, 360 content capture and a suite of Samsung’s new to market products".

Garry McGregor, director, IT and Mobile, Samsung Electronics Australia, said: “Samsung’s mobile innovation has reached an incredible level of refinement that needs to be delivered first hand, we want to encourage our customers to come along and interact with our products.

“For devices like the Galaxy Note8 it is not until you hold it in-hand that you can feel the difference and understand the strength of the Galaxy ecosystem.”

Obviously designed to be far greater and vastly more magical than just a pop-up store, Samsung says its newest Galaxy Studio “has been designed to immerse visitors in all aspects of Samsung mobile technology and is centred around six core product experience zones, including":

  • Hands-on tables – Experience the Samsung ecosystem and discover the features of the Galaxy Note8, Gear VR, Gear 360, DeX, Gear Sport, Gear Fit2 Pro, Gear S3 and Gear IconX.
  • Gear VR ‘4D’ virtual reality zone – Be transported into a new world with Samsung Gear VR and enjoy a virtual reality game with a motion-sensing controller.
  • Interactive table – Visitors can explore the key features of Galaxy Note8 by uniquely interacting with the screen on the table.
  • Portrait pool – Visitors can immerse the Galaxy Note8 in water to create bespoke underwater portraits using the device and S Pen.
  • 360 by Galaxy – Be swept away by lights dancing to the whispering wind and the beautiful melody of the Galaxy Note8 ringtone. Capture the magical moment in 360o motion pictures with Gear 360.
  • Galaxy fitness – During the experience of fitness, either cycling or rowing, visitors can find that Gear Sport can record their HRM in real-time, and let them know their consumed calorie after a workout.

But that’s not all. There are no steak knives or kitchen sinks on offer, but something even better, as Samsung partners with KIIS FM “to give away over $100,000 worth of prizes where entrants can win cash prizes, trips to New York, Bali, Paris and Las Vegas, as well as an array of Samsung products".

For the chance to win, visitors will need to visit the Samsung CUBE, which will be open at Galaxy Studio Federation Square daily.

Article continues below, please read on!

As for the Note8 itself, it has been available for pre-order since 25 August, and finally goes on wider retail sale from 22 September, in two colours, Midnight Black and Maple Gold, and priced at $1499 RRP.

A fast wireless charger is available for $119, although those who pre-ordered by the end of 21 September were able to receive one of these chargers as a bonus gift via redemption.

If you missed out on the pre-order timeframe, Samsung is still offering a sweet carrot to those who order a Note8 before 31 October and register by 14 November.

If you register by this crucial timeframe, you will be granted “free access to Samsung’s Screen Assure programme. This will provide one free screen repair should the screen be damaged within the first 12 months of receiving the device".

Garry McGregor, director, IT and Mobile, Samsung Electronics Australia, said: "The Galaxy Note8 builds on features that Samsung has pioneered across our flagship Galaxy devices including, infinity display, fast and wireless charging capabilities, biometric security, as well as the much-loved Note S Pen which provides a beautiful handwriting experience. 

“We believe innovation only becomes meaningful when it can create a purposeful outcome for our customers, which is why we always focus on improving the features that our customer love most while at the same time pioneering experiences that breaks new ground for our smartphone offering.”

At the Note8 launch for the media earlier this week, the aforementioned McGregor noted the uniqueness of the Note8, which is the most premium Android available at the moment. 

McGregor noted that the last 12 months “had its moments”, in subtle reference to the Note7 issues, and thanked not only the media present, but all of Samsung’s loyal fans for sticking with the company, and for everyone’s trust, guidance and support.

He then noted that the Galaxy S8 and S8+ were, five months ago, the most successful smartphone launch for Samsung Australia, and continuing to go from strength to strength.

McGregor then proudly boasted of a record number of pre-sales, which even led to Samsung agreeing with carriers to release Note8 models early to customers eager to get their hands on Samsung’s latest and greatest as “demand was so high".

He then spoke of the smartphone being the most important piece of tech we use today, and said that Note users “push the boundaries, they don’t take no for an answer”.

This led to Samsung bringing the category back, after some suggested last year that Samsung eliminate the Note range, or change its name, or do something. But customer feedback was key in helping Samsung stay the course.

McGregor noted that Note8 customers are multitaskers, people who know what they need from tech, people who know how tech enhances their life.

He said that, historically, the Note product was purchased by C-level execs, people who relied on the advanced features that the Note range offered, but that this had changed.

Today, “you can be a stay home parent, business owner, C-level exec or a student”, and that everyone wants to get more from their technology, and that “this time around, especially in Australia, we think the Note8 will appear to more users".

He also quoted the stat that “just under 90% of Note users love their smartphone”, and said this was “particularly fascinating".”

McGregor said “I use the word love. We talk about family and fiends, we love them, work colleagues, we love them, the press, we love you."

“We tend not to talk about loving our technology,” he said, and "that shows the strength of feeling by the public for the Note8.

“We want to make sure Aussies have the best experiences – innovation has to be great but it has to be meaningful.”

McGregor asked: “How do we optimise this for Australians? We worked very hard with out carrier partners in Australia – this was back many many months. The Australian landscape experience is unique in terms of high-density population in the cities and we want to keep the regions connected as well.

“To make sure that happens seamlessly, we work with carriers.”

And McGregor was proud to note that the Note8 “has achieved the Blue Tick with Telstra, and the Optus top pick for regional accreditation”, giving you “the confidence in this device as you move around Australia freely".

“Also partnerships,” continued McGregor, “we also work with the developer community - a to of exciting work going on in the developer community - particularly with VR - there’s a lot more in the coming weeks and months in what we’re doing with VR.”

He added that “we work very closely with partners”, and elaborated on Samsung’s partnership with Speedo, which was “so made for Australians”, with “swimming such a popular Australian pastime”, but one that has traditionally been a fairly solo activity.

To that end, McGregor said Samsung is “creating with a community – compete with friends, Olympians or yourself, measure laps, strokes” and more to see how you’re going.

Then McGregor spoke of sports apparel brand Under Armour, and how Samsung’s partnership was helping to build a connected sports community, talking up what Samsung could bring in terms of mobile device technology, noting that it was “particularly exciting”, with more partnerships to become “a common theme going forward".

Then this led us to what McGregor was building on top of the “Galaxy Foundation”, and spoke about a number of technologies that Samsung had “pioneered over the years".

He mentioned IP68, and emphasised the 8 in 68 given some competitors were only IP67-compatible, with an evolution from splash- and dust-resistant with caps and seals to far more water- and dust-resistant at IP68 levels, without those pesky seals and caps of the past.

The Samsung S Pen can be used whether the screen is wet or dry, something not possible before.

McGregor said it is pushing the boundaries of innovation to make that happen, and the freedom that delivered.

Another innovation was wireless charging, which Samsung brought “over two years ago” to the marketplace, with today’s evolution being fast wireless charging, which continues to evolve.

Biometrics was another area McGregor mentioned, “whether facial, finger or iris recognition”, stating customers “can make the choice as to how they unlock the device and feel secure about it".

Listening to music? Samsung gives you the choice of wireless streaming or a 3.5mm headphone jack: “We give you those choices."

Stating the Note8 was some of the best tech from Samsung, coupled “with some of the best insights we have gleaned from our customers”, he said Samsung was “particularly excited".

He also noted his ownership of a Note8 “for the last three weeks, and I’m extremely excited about the 6.3-inch cinematic quality screen” and the multitasking this allowed, being able to read and respond to emails on a split screen, while YouTube videos played in the other.

McGregor said the S-Pen was so natural to work with, and said he was “that guy that woke up in the night with a great idea”, after which “he writes that great idea down and goes back to sleep".

He was proud of the “dual-lens camera featuring dual-optical image stabilisation”, and noted his fortune at having “three wonderful children of eight months, three and six”, with the Note8’s quick launch feature coming in particularly handy to capture the shot desired, rather than missing it.

Indeed, he noted he’d been doing “the mum’s party circuit the last three weeks”, taking photos galore, and having convinced a stack of people “getting ready to switch based on the quality of the photos I’ve been taking".

We also saw a display of some pretty amazing looking photos on Samsung Frame TVs on one of the walls at the launch, which had been taken by a professional photographer over the course of a day, but with all the photos taken with the Note8’s “auto mode” and “no filters".

Unquestionably the photographer had taken some very cool photos, which shows just how advanced today’s cameras are – while also showing the fantastic results you can get, especially if you have an eye for photography, or a propensity to take stacks of photos in the quest for various “money shots".

After this Eric Chou, head of Category Management at Samsung Electronics Australia, spoke

Chou took us through the Galaxy range on offer, and three mini “tours” that shows us some of the features, such as Live Messages, Bixby, photographic capabilities, and the impressive DeX device that turns your S8, S8+ or Note8 into an Android-based computer, which looked like a hassle-free version of Windows 10 but with all of the Android apps you could imagine – including Microsoft Office apps, cool games and more, all working seamlessly with keyboard, mouse and monitor.

It’s a feature I’d be keen to see Apple emulate at some point, even if Apple wants us to live in the stylus and finger-based world, just because there are times when a keyboard, mouse and large screen are perfect for text – although Apple has its MacBooks for that.

In any case, those three mini tours came after Chou’s talk, where he took us “though a journey of the last 12 months".

He explained how the Galaxy A-Series had debuted in February, which brought some of the best features of the S7 and Note7 to Samsung’s mid-range models, and how the launch of the A5 and A7 “was a defining moment – reaching more Australians with the features that we have with flagship devices".

The S8 and S8+ was another “defining moment” with “a lot of anticipation” that saw Chou claim Samsung had “smashed it out of the ballpark” and “exceeded our expectations,” as it “redefined what a smartphone should look like and be capable of doing".

Looking to the metaphorical horizon, presumably multiplying infinity times infinity plus one in his mind, Chou noted the S8, S8+ and presumably now Note8’s “infinity display” had now become “the industry standard in terms of what a flagship looks like,” while talking up Samsung’s 10nm processor technology “for improved performance while reducing battery consumption".

He spoke of DeX, turning Samsung’s flagships into PCs, and talked up the VR experience and the 360 degree camera.

Chou reminded us of the launch of the Windows-based Galaxy Book and the Android based Tab S3 tablets from July, and how the stylus included and the Staedler partnership was part of Samsung’s “unwavering commitment to lead pen technology”, and how that lead to the S Pen with the Note8 today.

He spoke of the “tremendous amount of positivity” the Note8 had received since its unveiling four weeks ago, and then moved on to speak of some of Samsung’s services, moving “beyond the hardware itself".

Chou noted that Samsung Pay was now available with more than “50 bank and debit card issuers on board,” and how this was leading Samsung “closer to achieving the vision of being a true wallet replacement”, with more than 100 loyalty cards able to loaded into Samsung’s wallet app”, and how he hoped this would take a real load off your physical wallet, with the future coming where you could do it all from your smartphone.

He also talked up Bixby, finally made available just over four weeks ago when it came to the Australian market at last, which has “a big percentage of S8 customers now engaging and using Bixby on a regular basis”, and how the more you use it, the more it tailors itself to you.

Chou then talked about going from “the best services to the best hardware”, such as the gear 360, Gear VR, Gear Fit 2, Gear Sport and second-generation Gear Icon X wireless headphones.

He noted that “health and fitness” were “a passion point for Australians” and how not only were the Speedo and Under Armour partnerships important, but that fitness was more just steps and heart rates for Samsung, but part of a holistic wellness endeavour, including the measuring of nutrition, the quality of sleep, the automatic detection of different types of activities and more.

He also noted how Samsung’s engineers had “worked closely with sports scientists”, on things like measuring lap times accurately, and ensuring Speedo’s experts could measure the accuracy of that work for the benefit of Samsung’s customers.

And, it was just the beginning, he said, and that this was just the year so far.

After that, we had that mini-tour of various Note8 and accessory features, after which the assembled media had a chance to once again inspect Samsung’s entire Note8 and smartwatch range thus far.

In all, it was an impressive launch, which it naturally needed to be for the flagship Android smartphone maker, outdoing even Google and its Pixel range, and upon which Samsung places a great deal of hope for the future, for the happiness of its customers, and for the future of its continually evolving range of technologies for humans, not that Samsung put it in those words, but simply as I see it.

So there you go. Here now are a range of specific local quotes for the Samsung Galaxy Note8 that were provided, which I’ll reprint for your interest below. More on the Note8 and its varied accessories in the future!

  • “The Note8 builds on generations of innovation, refinement and improvement that has come to define how Samsung delivers the ultimate smartphone experience for our customers.”
  • “The Note8 is the most powerful and refined device we have ever launched. It has been designed to help our customers do more to support their lifestyle – across work and everyday life.”
  • “Through a combination of features synonymous with a Samsung Note device, like the S Pen and infinity display, the Note8 will give Australians the ability to do far more with their device.”
  • “The Note8 has been designed to support the demands of our busy lifestyles, whether we’re coordinating work during the week, or managing our home life in between and over the weekend,
  • “Samsung Note customers are among the most loyal we have, so we’re incredibly excited to introduce them to the most advanced smartphone Samsung has ever produced.”
  • “By listening to our customers, rather than telling them what they want, we’ve created a device that refines much-loved features like the S Pen, IP68 water resistance, curved design, Infinity Display, but also introduces a range new features that will support the best Note experience we have ever offered.”
  • “We understand that the smartphone has become perhaps the most important piece of technology to support our lifestyles. That is why we have made such an immense investment in delivering a smartphone that combines a beautiful design and user experience, with the power and tools to help our customers do more throughout their day.”

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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