IFA, the world’s leading trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances, is running from September 4 to 9 in Berlin. Ahead of the big event, Samsung Electronics has unveiled some rather interesting gadgets, including its own version of CarPlay, a sleep analysis accessory, its first 4K Blu-ray player and more.
More than anything, the company is betting big on so-called Internet of Things, a common moniker denoting software platforms powering smart devices that tap into the power of the cloud to achieve interoperability and rich data sharing.
To this extent, the South Korean giant last year purchased an open-platform smart home company, called SmartThings. Following the acquisition, SmartThings today unveiled its very first new product, a hub for the connected home that connects to cameras to monitor and protect your home.
CarMode for Galaxy
Think of it as Samsung’s version of Apple’s CarPlay or Google’s Android Auto platforms. CarMode for Galaxy was designed to enhance driving experience. Basically an in-car dashboard app compatible with the Galaxy lineup, it features a dedicated user interface with large icons for accessing functions like navigation, music playback and more.
The system uses the MirrorLink protocol to connect to your car and uses Samsung’s S-Voice personal assistant for voice input, intelligent search and more. It even sports an always-listening “Hi Galaxy” mode that allows you to issue spoken commands without you taking your eyes off the road for even a split second.
Screenshots via AndroidCentral.
Some examples of what you can say include queries like “Call David home,” “Text Katie message I’m going to be late,” “Navigate to Wembley Stadium” and “Play album Out Among the Stars”.
For the time being, CarMode lacks a dedicated app store for third-party apps. It launches this Friday and Samsung partnered with German car maker Volkswagen on a more feature-rich app for its vehicles, called Car-Net E-Remote.
This sleep-tracking gadget can be placed under a bed’s mattress to monitor your heart and respiratory rate, including movements during sleep, using its built-in real-time contactless sensor.
As an Internet of Things accessory, it connects to Samsung appliances, the new SmartThings hub and third-party devices allowing it to, say, automatically turn off the television, and adjust the heating or air conditioning for a perfect sleep environment.
The device includes an alarm clock that determines the best time for you to wake up, and then wakes you up gradually. A companion mobile app provides an at-a-glance overview of your scores and reports, including a summary of your sleep activity with your sleep score mapped against the average data for your age.
The app provides recommendations on improving the quality of your sleep by taking into account each individual’s metabolism, all in the service of helping you achieve the recommended seven to nine hours sleep a night. The company claims the SleepSense delivers an accuracy of up to 97 percent.
Marking its first product launch as part of the Samsung family, this device incorporates a plethora of wireless protocols to connect a range of smart sensors around your home, up to 200 of them at once.
Featuring a new design and an improved processor, the SmartThings hub now process video feeds from home monitoring cameras directly on the device (launching in beta), bypassing the cloud.
The redesigned SmartThings mobile app for iOS and Android allows you to watch any video feed live. During an unexpected event, such as motion by the front door, the video that requires your attention gets uploaded to the cloud.
The device has a built-in battery to ensure smooth operating for up to ten hours in the event of a power outage. It’s also able to process some automations locally, meaning it can operate without an Internet connection.
It works with Amazon’s Echo connected speaker with Siri-like personal digital assistant, as well as with D-Link and Samsung-made home monitoring cameras. The hub integrates with other products from Honeywell, Bose, First Alert, Osram, Schlage and many more.
Additionally, it supports a bunch of smart sensors like moisture and motion sensors, smart switches and so forth. Last but not least, SmartThings is now integrated with GitHub, where developers can contribute their code.
The new SmartThings hub is available today for $99, the same price as the previous model, via SmartThings.com and Samsung.com. Samsung-made sensors are ranging between $30 and $55 each.
The gizmo will be rolling out on Amazon.com and retail stores in the United States and will be launching in the United Kingdom beginning September 10 at select Currys PC World stores and online at Samsung.com and currys.co.uk.
SmartThings plans to expand across Europe in 2016.
Samsung’s first Ultra HD Blu-ray player
Samsung’s consumer electronics arm also launched another interesting product, its very first Ultra HD Blu-ray player with support for 4K disc playback. It also upscales full HD 1080p content to 4K resolution, which has four times the pixels of 1080p. The device has 64 times higher color expression, supports major 4K video streaming services and does high dynamic range (HDR) video.
Image via The Verge.
Samsung will be partnering with the likes of Amazon, Netflix, British Telecom and Canal Plus on 4K content delivery and streaming. In addition, Samsung’s upcoming Ultra HD Smart TVs will support the new HDMI 2.0a format which allows HDR input. The device’s pricing and availability will be announced at a later stage.
“In sync with life”
The Galaxy maker’s vision of Internet of Things is a recurring theme the company is heavily promoted under the “being in sync with life“ tagline. The company underscored it’s working on technologies that will “naturally blend into our lives, whether at home, in the office or beyond.”
Their press conference at City Cube in Berlin is due today so check out a live video stream on YouTube as the company announces new Internet of Things initiatives.
Samsung will be exhibiting at IFA 2015 from September 4-9, 2015, and we’ll be reporting on any major announcements you should be aware of.