IFA 2014: Samsung unveils new curved screen Galaxy Note Edge, Galaxy Note 4, Gear S smartwatch and virtual reality headset Gear VR

 
Lynsey Barber
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Samsung's event unveiled new devices (Source: Getty)

Samsung has unveiled four new devices, including two Galaxy Notes, a smartwatch and a virtual reality headset.

The Korean manufacturer has pipped rival Apple to the post with a big launch event at tech conference IFA in Berlin today.

Two new “phablet” devices- larger than a smartphone, but not quite a tablet- in the Galaxy Note range were revealed.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has a 5.7 inch screen, a wider angled camera and a front camera with a wide selfie mode designed for people taking Oscars-style selfies with other people. It will be available in four colours- black, white, gold and pink, and goes on sale globally in October.

The Galaxy Note Edge, a premium model, has a screen with curved edges and will go on sale in selected markets later in the year.

Samsung has also partnered with firms to create accessories for the new Notes, including Swarovski and Mont Blanc.

The electronics firm also unveiled the fifth iteration of its smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear S, and a virtual reality device powered by Facebook-owned tech company Oculus was also revealed.

The Samsung Gear VR headset will have limited availability and is targeted at "innovative" consumers such as developers and early technology adopters. There will be a host of content on the device including film and animation from Marvel, Imax and Dreamworks.

Samsung will be hoping the new tech devices will revive consumer interest and boost its bottom line.

The electronics firm's profits were down 25 per cent for the second quarter to June, its third straight quarter of decline which it blamed on a slow down in sales of tablets and smartphones as well as the strength of the Korean currency.

It also faces increasing competition from Chinese rivals such as Huawei, Lenovo, and Xiaomi, which recently overtook LG to become the fifth biggest smartphone maker in the world based on units shipped.

Here’s some initial reaction from analysts.

Ben Wood of CCS Insight:

Samsung needs the Galaxy Note 4 to be a hit. It has to make up some of the ground it lost as a result of the relatively poor reception to the all-plastic Galaxy S5 when it was launched in February. Samsung will be hoping the new metal based “Alpha” design language delivers a premium package in the eyes of consumers and does enough to be competitive against Apple’s much anticipated iPhone 6.

The age of the phablet is effectively over. Most flagship smartphones now have screens of five inches or more. We’ve come a long way since Samsung announced its first Note device in Berlin three years ago when its size was greeted with incredulity.

You have to admire Samsung’s relentless stream of new products, be it smartphones and tablets at all price tiers or the volley of smartwatches that have been released over the last 12 months. Its underlines the ever quickening pace of the mobile devices space and a competitive landscape that sees Samsung having to anticipate Apple’s every move while looking over its shoulder at the ever present threat from Chinese manufacturers.

Rob Kerr from uSwitch:

When it comes to Samsung, bigger is usually better, and its fourth generation phablet is no exception. Size wise, the Note 4 is no bigger than the Note 3, but it’s still bigger than most pockets. The 5.7-inch dimension does justice to an improved Quad HD screen, which is getting closer to the quality of top-end TVs. The Note 4’s improved stylus – the S Pen – offers a different user experience for those looking for something fresh. Tying up with Montblanc to offer bespoke stylus pens and leather covers gives Samsung the luxury edge that Apple already has.

Samsung has owned the phablet space for a long time, knocking out more than any other mobile maker and proving there’s a super-sized market for supersize phones. But Apple could soon be snapping at Samsung’s heels with a 5.5-inch iPhone. Apple could very well dominate, once again, in another gadget category - just as it has with the mobile phone and tablet.

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