Live blog: Samsung Unpacked launch event in New York

2014-09-03 08.44.54

Samsung is holding simultaneous events in Berlin and Beijing this morning, and I’ll be reporting live from the New York location. In previous years, Unpacked has been the event where Samsung launches the latest Galaxy Note phone. We’re certainly expecting the Galaxy Note 4 — it’s been teased in official videos for weeks —  but does Samsung have an additional surprise up its sleeve this time? There’s a livestream available here, and keep your browser locked to this post for the latest commentary live from the event.

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Kif Leswing 6:37:38 am

And the show is over and it’s time to get some hands-on time. I’ll be posting easy to digest spec summaries of the Note phones and the Gear VR after I get a closer look. 

Kif Leswing 6:35:46 am

You can try out these products later this week, including the Gear VR

Kif Leswing 6:34:42 am

Kif Leswing 6:33:58 am

The demo video is touting a Cirque du Soleil show as a video experience you could have on the Gear VR

Kif Leswing 6:32:54 am

The phone is the Note 4, specifically. Uses the Note 4’s pixel-dense QHD display

Kif Leswing 6:32:31 am

Here’s Gear VR which was “created in close partnership with our friends at Oculus”. It’s a virtual reality handset that uses a Samsung phone as its screen. 

Kif Leswing 6:31:54 am

Well, the new Maroon 5 album will be available on Milk and uh, you can listen to an Adam Levine-curated playlist

Kif Leswing 6:31:29 am

Samsung exec just called Maroon 5 “the greatest band in the world.”

Kif Leswing 6:30:46 am

Adam Levine – “We’re oing to have a ceremonial iPhone burning after this press conference.”

Kif Leswing 6:30:20 am

And uh, Adam Levine is here? 

Kif Leswing 6:29:28 am

Milk Music is also introducing a live curator feature.

Kif Leswing 6:27:56 am

The Milk Music app got a slick redesign with big photos, it looks pretty good. 

Kif Leswing 6:27:19 am

But first, media content with media SVP John Pleasants. He’s talking about Milk Music. 

Laura Hazard Owen 6:26:42 am

Kif Leswing 6:25:47 am

Here’s some background reading if you haven’t heard of Samsung’s VR ambitions before: https://gigaom.com/2014/08/12/samsung-virtual-reality-headset-photo-surfaces/

Kif Leswing 6:25:12 am

And that wraps up the Note part of the presentation. I suspect we’re going to see the launch Samsung’s virtual reality headset momentarily 

Kif Leswing 6:24:06 am

Of course, we’ll need optimized software for the Edge bar so Samsung is releasing an Edge SDK. 

Kif Leswing 6:23:19 am

On the right hand side of the phone the screen bends around the bezel. Crazy. looks like Samsung’s using it for a cutomizable navigation bar

Kif Leswing 6:22:30 am

Oh hey — there’s another note: the Galaxy Note Edge. It’s got a curved screen around the side of the device. 

Kif Leswing 6:21:59 am

Samsung’s calling the Note the “best multitasking phone,” which probably is a safe claim. 

Kif Leswing 6:20:42 am

The new S Pen should be twice as pressure-sensitive as the last one, with 2048 levels of pressure.

Kif Leswing 6:20:19 am

Note 4 will use Samsung’s adaptive fast charging, which will charge your battery up to 50% in 30 minutes. 

Kif Leswing 6:19:46 am

“Everyone loves taking a selfie” – Bidan. Can’t introduce a new tech product in 2014 without using that word

Kif Leswing 6:19:12 am

The Note 4 will have improved cameras with image stabilization, and an “improved sensor” at 16 megapixels.

Kif Leswing 6:18:07 am

Sounds like we’re not just getting one new Note phone but two different models.

Kif Leswing 6:17:25 am

“It was, and still is, a phone. Tablet. Best of both.” – Bidan

Kif Leswing 6:17:04 am

And it’s confirmed: We’ll be getting a new Samsung Galaxy Note today. 

Kif Leswing 6:14:47 am

Bidan is reviewing through Samsung’s history in the pre-smartphone era. 

Kif Leswing 6:14:10 am

Director of strategy Ryan Bidan takes the stage. “We’re unveiling three new devices today.”

Kif Leswing 6:13:27 am

Lee says that Samsung invented the big screened phone. Can’t disagree. 

Kif Leswing 6:11:49 am

And we’ve started. Samsung America President Gregory Lee takes the stage.

Kif Leswing 6:11:26 am

Ah, the Berlin event has a live orchestra.

Kif Leswing 6:03:18 am

Samsung is streaming the event live, by the way. Find that video here

Kif Leswing 6:02:09 am

We’re scheduled to get started any second.

Kif Leswing 6:00:01 am

Kif Leswing 5:58:26 am

Samsung really does choose choice New York locations for its events: for the Tab S it had its press conference in Madison Square Garden, and although the location today is a little more low key, you can see the High Line behind the stage. 

Kif Leswing 5:55:20 am

Three Samsung executives are scheduled to speak today in New York: 
1. Gregory Lee, President of Samsung Electronics America
2. Ryan Biden, Director of Strategy and Product Marketing 
3. John Pleasants, Executive Vice President Samsung Media Solutions 

Kif Leswing 5:49:43 am

We’re here and ready for the show to start! Got a full house here in New York — wonder what the scene looks like at the Samsung events in Berlin and Beijing. 

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