Samsung (SSNLF) unveiled a trio of Galaxy Note 10 smartphones, the first time it's released more than one version of its oversize Galaxy Notes at a time, at a massive launch event in New York City on Wednesday.
Significantly, the company's new Note 10+, which will be available starting on Aug. 23, will feature a 5G version, just as its signature line-up of Galaxy S10 phones, released earlier this year, did. But rival Apple's (AAPL) lineup of new smartphones for 2019 are not expected to include 5G versions, giving Samsung a head start with the new technology.
The Note 10, which has a 6.3 inch screen, will start at $949 while the 10+, which features a 6.8-inch screen, will start at $1099 for an LTE version and $1299 for the 5G version. No mention was made of Samsung's super high-end Fold phone with multiple screens that can be combined into a tablet, which was originally supposed to start shipping earlier this year. After a disastrous roll-out of the Fold in which reviewers routinely experienced cracked and damaged screens, the launch was pushed back to September.
On Wednesday, Samsung also further extended its ecosystem of products around its smartphones, introducing a new ultra lightweight notebook, the Galaxy Book S, and highlighting its recent launches of the Samsung Watch Active2, and a tablet, the Tab S6. The Galaxy Book S runs Windows 10 and features mirroring and interoperability with the Note 10; it has a 13-inch touch screen and uses the same charger as the Note 10. It will start at $999 and be available in September.
In addition, the South Korean electronics giant touted a new partnership with Microsoft (MSFT) to integrate user experiences across Microsoft-powered PCs and Samsung smartphones. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made a surprise appearance at the event to promote the partnership, saying "this is just a start; there's much more to come and to do."
Drew Blackard, Samsung's head of U.S. product management for mobile, said that Samsung's new products were "built for a new era of mobile productivity" and that consumers "need technology that can seamlessly flow between" work and play.
Among the innovative features in Samsung's new Galaxy Note 10 that were demo'd at the event were a triple rear camera system that can shoot in a variety of modes and allows backgrounds in both photos and video to be blurred; the ability to use the SPen stylus to adjust photo and video controls via gestures; the ability to add doodles and stickers that move in synch with a camera subject; and the capability to scan objects in 3D and then manipulate them, using the Note 10's depth vision camera.
The Galaxy Note 10 models also support super fast charging for the first time, using a charger of up to 45W. According to Samsung, that means the phones can be charged up in 30 minutes with enough battery life to last through the day.
Apple shares were flat at $199 in after-hours trading on Wednesday and were up 1.1% to $201.25 on Thursday morning.