IFA 2014: Samsung Introduces Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Edge and Gear VR [Video]

Samsung unveiled its new Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Edge and Gear VR at its annual press event.

The Korean tech giant has finally launched the highly expected Galaxy Note 4 smartphone, along with plenty of other gadgets, at the IFA 2014 tech conference in Berlin today.

The new version of the popular smartphone has a crisper, 5.7-inch display in a metal frame, which shows off the company’s latest design strategy to keep pace with rivals including Apple Inc, who are reportedly going to launch its first large-screen phones next week.

The Galaxy Note 4 features several accessories aimed at attracting gamers and an improved pen stylus and related software as a handwriting alternative to typing on a keyboard. It boasts easier to use multi-tasking features that take advantage of its large screen.

“The Note 4 is key to a recovery by Samsung Electronics, which faced initial derision at the idea of callers holding elephantine screens up to their ears,” Reuters says. “Since the Note’s introduction in 2011, it has made 5-inch and larger screen sizes the standard for high-end phones as usage shifted overwhelmingly to reading and writing texts and emails or documents, using apps, watching movies or playing games rather than calling.”

Mobile phone analysts said that, while packed full of hundreds of features and many of the latest hardware specs, there is little in the Note 4 to excite new users.

“I think this is mostly an incremental change,” Forrester analyst Thomas Husson said. “What is missing is a total experience on top of the device to really differentiate in the interchangeable Android device ecosystem,” he said, referring to the closely coupled software and services Samsung needs to distinguish its devices from dozens of cheaper rivals.

While the just unveiled device appears to meet expectations on major features such as the quad high-definition screen and a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera, the improvements are incremental and suggest further struggles ahead for Samsung to differentiate its product, especially with large-screen iPhones on the way.

“It is an acknowledgement that Samsung took a wrong turn with the move into plastic cases and that its designs didn’t move fast enough to keep pace with many competitors,” said Ben Wood, a mobile industry analyst with UK-based CCS Insight. “The importance of metal cases is that it directly translates into bigger, edge-to-edge screens,” he added.

Apart from the Galazy Note 4, Samsung also showed to public the Galaxy Edge smartphone which features a thin, curved screen along the right side, definitely qualifies for the label.

“The Galaxy Edge is basically two screens in one: a gorgeous main Quad HD display (2,560 x 1,440) that’s identical to the one on the Galaxy Note 4, and a thin strip populated with icons, widgets or useful information,” describes the item Mashable.

“In my hands-on with the Galaxy Note Edge, I found it worked surprisingly well. It’s intuitive to use, and it has very good detection for “false positives” — I hardly ever accidentally activated it with a stray fingertip. You can easily swipe through its various screens, including a news ticker, S Health data (like steps counted), the weather and more,” delivered his verdict one of the testers.

The South Korean consumer electronics giant also revealed the new cutting-edge virtual reality headset Gear VR designed to work with the 5.7-inch Note 4, a Quad HD-SuperAMOLED-screen-sporting phablet, and only the Note 4. 

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