Curved TVs, a washing machine that allows you to add forgotten laundry mid-cycle and virtual reality sets were some of the items launched at the Samsung Forum 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday.
These come hot on the heels of the Gear S2 smartwatch that the South Korean company launched in India on January 21, 2016. Company officials while declining to discuss numbers say they have been very satisfied with the number of smartwatches sold.
It was evident at the Forum that the company is taking no chances with a fickle and demanding Indian consumer. Samsung, which launched eight products at the Forum, also stressed its commitment to increase the number of products it makes in India. This, according to HC Hong, president, Samsung India will “allow Samsung to customise products for the Indian market”. For instance, the Ultra Data Saving Mode on its smartphones allows users to save up to 50 percent on data costs. The product developed at the company’s R&D centre in India is used by 60 percent of Samsung users in the country. The recently launched Gear S2 smartwatch also has India specific features like an app that helps users monitor how many calories they consume with Indian food.
Innovations like this have allowed the company to grab a 62 percent market share for 4G phones and 45 percent for smartphones in the country, according to GFK Nielsen.
Curved HD television is another area where Samsung plans to make inroads in 2016. These televisions are capable of displaying 1,000 different shades of colour and come with ‘quantum dot display’ that the company says will improve picture quality. Samsung admitted the product will take time to start selling in large numbers. At present, curved TVs are priced north of Rs 3,00,000, which is ten times the cost of a flat screen TV of similar size.
Perhaps the smartest (and simplest) innovation the company has made is with the 5-in-1 fridge, which allows users to choose the manner in which the device is cooled. The entire fridge can operate as a freezer or as a refrigerator. When on vacation, just the freezer can be left on while the lower portion can be turned off. “With frequent power cuts in India we have made sure it also works with a wide variety of voltage fluctuations,” said Rajeev Bhutani, vice president, consumer electronics at Samsung India. In addition, Samsung also launched a microwave that allows consumers to make rotis and naan.
The products displayed at the Forum will be brought to India through 2016. First to launch will be the Galaxy A5 and A7 (2016 series) smartphones on February 15. The SUHD TVs (or curved TVs) will follow in April.
(The writer attended the Samsung Forum 2016 on the invitation of the company)