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Here’s to the next wave of unparalleled innovation; Samsung Unpacked 2023 (highlights)

In a clear case of a 'good deal gets better', the transformative potential of key innovations awaiting consumers - from the much hyped 200MP camera powering the S23 to the super fast UI and the use of hyper-personalised experiences - is going to be just as game changing as the previous wave of innovations seen with the Z Flip flagship, and even greater, according to Samsung South Africa head of marketing. 

To understand the level of innovation Samsung strives for, and equally so appreciate the scale of research that informs each one of the company’s latest products, one needs to look at the complete consumer behavioral change brought about by Samsung foldables – the Galaxy Z Flip flagship in particular – and the impact it made among the ever so illusive Gen Z.

Samsung South Africa head of marketing, Kgomotso Mosiane, not only goes into this important aspect in great detail, but also gives us the lowdown on some of the upcoming innovations which underpins Africa’s most admired tech brand and key highlights customers should look forward to ahead of the much-awaited Samsung Unpacked event this Wednesday (February 1). 

NOWinSA (QUESTION): To keep with the fast changing consumer behaviors, experience taught us that identifying consumers’ new habits, and meeting them where they are today is very key. What are some of upcoming innovations that underpins Africa’s most admired tech brand and key highlights consumers should look forward to in this regard – ahead of this week’s Samsung Unpacked event?

MOSIANE: One of the key things that has been the focus for Samsung in recent years has been the need for customisation, which is basically what fits into your life. So the world of Galaxy continues to open up with what we at Samsung has termed ‘One UI5’, which is the ‘one user interface experience’ that allows you to take your phone and make it a part of your everyday life.

So what you’ll see coming with the S23 is a new upgrade on the ‘One UI5’, which allows you to now live in this world that is interconnected. Meaning it’s not just the intuitive nature of your Buds, or the Samsung Health integration into your Watch that’s important. It’s your phone as a whole and how we’ve delved deeper into the interaction of smart things, and how your entire home can be controlled from just this one tiny gadget.

So that’s where we’re going as a tech brand; customisation is the name of the game for us. It’s the understanding that people want to feel and be different – it’s something our consumers are constantly telling us and our latest products are a response to that need ‘to be different’.

Samsung newest 200MP ISOCELL HP2 sensor will officially power the S23 edition. Image: NOWinSA

NOWinSA (QUESTION): How exactly would this customisation translate into the new aesthetic design?

MOSIANE: From the way your device looks, you’ll see now that we’ve brought out all the four bolder colours (Bora Purple, Blue, Pink Gold, and Graphite) in all the models. What we used to have for a while is the grey and phantom black. And it was after the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and the Z Fold 4 that we were able to bring out more vibrancy like we did with the Bora Purple, which is quite an interesting one. So it’s basically that; we at Samsung giving you the ability to express yourself and choose your colours. And we are working with Smeg at the moment on our colour customisation, which is absolutely amazing.

But also, when we talk customisation, it’s about how the world of Galaxy can just allow you to live in your own world. You know, you put on the Buds and you can transports yourself to somewhere else. The quality of sound in the Buds is not just for music only, but can be for meditation, which is something we don’t do a lot. We always look at ear devices mainly from the music/entertainment perspective, but who said you can’t put your Buds to a good use and put on loud white noise when you’re working? So for us, that’s what customisation means; being able to escape the world you see around you and go into the world that belongs to you – without actually having left.

Personally I listen to white noise when I’m working. It helps me calm down, get into that space and do what I need to do. And the sound quality of the Buds 2 Pro is something else. In fact, I only ever use one earbud because of the density of the sound. So when I’m walking on Nicolway (the Samsung head office precinct in Bryanston, Johannesburg), people think I’m talking to myself because they can see I have nothing on the one ear. That’s just how absolutely amazing the sound is, both on a call and when listening to music. 

For us, customisation means being able to escape the world you see around you and go into the world that belongs to you – without actually having left! – Samsung SA head of marketing, Kgomotso Mosiane

NOWinSA (QUESTION): Any customer concerns worth mentioning, that specifically speak to the Samsung SA market?

MOSIANE: Battery life; that has become an issue for most South Africans, and it has a lot to do with loadshedding.

As you know, we walk around a lot with our phones and emergency chargers, and I remember someone saying to us ‘guys please don’t judge us, the minute we get electricity back, we switch on our phones’. So ‘YES’ there’s a lot of improvement done on the S23 battery … and to be honest, it’s something that has incidentally happened to us – it’s not what we went out to look out for, but it will certainly come in handy for our customers given our ongoing issue with loadshedding. That one charge can carry users throughout the rest of the day, and for me that makes a huge difference because it means you won’t have to be scrambling around looking for a place that’s not load-shedded every other chance you get.

NOWinSA (QUESTION): that takes us to the next question: as you’d know, the bigger the innovation, the bigger the issue around pressing things like battery life and space capacity. How will the 200MP impact all of these?

MOSIANE: While there’s been great improvement on the battery in itself to be able to accommodate the 200MP camera, that also speaks to how we are accommodating the increased image size with the doubling up of the storage at 512GB.  So we’re gonna launch this with a bigger storage because we want you to take better pictures and be able to save them without finding yourself in a place where you’re deleting more pictures to make space for the 200MP images – because that’s the implication right. The pre-launch offer in that regard is 512GB of storage instead of 256GB.  

To make space for the 200MP sensor, Samsung has double up the storage at 512GB for the S23, which comes a year after its predecessor, the Galaxy S22. Image: NOWinSA

NOWinSA (QUESTION): now talk to us briefly about how the Z Flip range has turned the tide in Samsung favour, at a time when smartphone sales are at their lowest worldwide?

MOSIANE: With the all-round success of the Galaxy Galaxy Z Flip3 in particular, and also the Fold4 (which proved to be a favourite among business owners), we can proudly say we’ve created a new segment for the foldables worldwide. We were the first to go that route and its been a successful launch for us in the past, and as a company, we are continuing to be driven by innovation. We’re not going to stop … it’s in our DNA.

Though there’s a lot of improvements that we are here to do, what Galaxy Z Flip3 has done for us is truly phenomenal. It has put us in a better place not just in terms of innovation, but it has also made us a lot younger. It has actually given us 10 extra points in the ‘likability score’, which is the likelihood that a GenZ and millenials would want to own a Samsung product. We moved from a younger market to an engineer on site, who wants to put it in his pocket.

Better still, it has allowed us to switch users from other brands, and though this is an ongoing change in habit, it is something we’re truly excited about.

That said, we are confident that the new form of foldables in itself is headed that route if not more, because it’s so daring, along with the ability to outlast as many flips and as folds as possible.

NOWinSA (QUESTION): What can consumers can expect from this Samsung Unpacked?

MOSIANE: Innovation … and I say this with my chest because the 200MP is going to start another unparalleled wave of smartphone innovation. It’s a gamechanger in terms of what cosumers would be able to do with their camera and likewise pictures, and the kind of power it gives them in this regard. Once you take a picture, you can chop and change as much as you want, and it will still retains the crisp and clearness even when its transferred from your phone to another platform outside of the Samsung economy. And we’ve worked internationally with Meter to ensure that the quality is retained as is even when transferred to their different apps.

 

Tankiso Komane
Tankiso Komane
A Tshwane University of Technology journalism graduate, Tankiso Komane has a vast experience in print & broadcast media business and has worked for some of the country’s biggest daily newspapers, including The Sowetan, The Citizen, The Times, and The New Age. Through her varied work as a journalist, notably as a copywriter for SABC1 (On-Air promotions) and as a publicist for Onyx Communications, she has developed an in-depth understanding of the nature of the media business and how to use it for the purpose of exposure. Her expertise in journalism across various disciplines, coupled with a good reputation, has laid the foundation of a new kind "trust in Journalism" as the media ecosystem continues to digitally evolve.
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