Whether it’s phones, TVs or appliances, Samsung is not a company that wants to be thought of as an also-ran. And yet that’s exactly what Samsung has been in the PC market. In fact, Samsung finished dead last in our best and worst laptop brands special report for the past two years.
But 2020 could prove to be a breakout year for Samsung in computing, as the company is reinventing its lineup with several laptops under the Galaxy brand. This includes the super light and always-connected Galaxy Book S (coming in January) and the Galaxy Book Flex Alpha, a 2-in-1 that packs a dazzling QLED display for hundreds less than the competition.
To get the scoop on what’s next for Samsung PCs I spoke with Alanna Cotton, senior vice president and general manager at Samsung Electronics America ahead of CES 2020, where the Galaxy Book Flex Alpha and other new innovations will be on display. Cotton also teased what Samsung could do with foldable PCs to build on the momentum of the Galaxy Fold.
Laptop: Samsung hasn't had the easiest time breaking through in the PC space. Why do you think 2020 will be different for the company?
Alanna Cotton: I think for us, we're always striving to really take our performance up to the next level. And really, at the center of that is giving consumers the ability to choose the device that they want. Well, we have more choice than we've ever had before. We have the ability to choose between operating systems with our premium PCs or our Chromebook lineup. We have the ability for folks to choose form factors, whether they want a fully convertible design or something that's a bit more traditional in a clamshell design with our Galaxy Book Ion. We're bringing innovation in a way that only Samsung can do.
What’s the importance of bringing QLED displays to PCs?
We're known for displays, but as you know, in this next generation, we're really excited that we're introducing QLED technology into our PC portfolio. Think about really the ability to not compromise your entertainment experience while you're on the go is really next generation. And we're excited about the consumers' reaction to that technology in the computing space. Because we know that's how they're using the devices today. So we're excited.
What phone features are you integrating with Galaxy laptops?
So we think about our heritage with the S Pen and being able to bring together the analog and digital world so people can create and write and take notes as they see fit. You think about really being able to provide next level power and charging capability with all day battery life for people who are on the go. So mobility's key there.
You think about technology that we introduced like Wireless PowerShare, and bringing that into the computing space. And you create a level of distinction, a level of difference, a meaningful level of capability that consumers are really looking for today as they move through their lives.
What’s the main appeal of the Galaxy Book S?
We're excited about Galaxy Book S. We got a little bit of a peek of that device late last year. And so think about just the lightweight design, less than a kilogram, and ultra slim, with a beautiful display.
But do customers want an ARM-powered PC? Have they matured enough?
Qualcomm has been a really important partner for us in the mobile space. And I think this next level of integration that we have with the Galaxy Book S really takes it up a notch with that ACX process. I think from our standpoint, it allows us to bridge the best of productivity and the best of mobility. And we're excited to see consumers' reaction to this as we launch this product in January. For us, it's certainly going to be an area we're going to continue to grow and look to continue to move forward. We're at the beginning of that journey and look forward to see where it takes us.
Do you feel like the S Pen is enough of a selling point in devices like the Galaxy Book Flex Alpha?
We've been investing in pen capability and pen experiences for quite some time across our portfolio. And for us, we've really seen that usage grow across our devices. And really, the use cases grow across our devices as well. So it can be anything from taking notes, from editing a document to sketching to modifying sketches. And so I think as we introduce devices that are really power packed and really premium and intended for those highly productive people, I think that the capability to really meet folks who need the pen integration as a part of what they do to be productive is really, really important.
Given what you’ve done with the Galaxy Fold, I’m curious what you think about foldables in the PC space and what Samsung could do there.
Yeah, absolutely. So as one of the premier OEMs delivering foldable designs for our phones, it's a space that we're excited about and excited to continue to see consumer use cases. I think for us, this flexibility and form factor is definitely something that you can tell that we are open to, to make sure that consumers continue to be satisfied and get the most they can out of a device.
With our mantra of really keeping the consumer as the center, and what we offer today between 2-in-1 form factors and clamshell form factors, I think that our current portfolio is really, really exciting, and allows consumers to use devices as they wish. So who knows what the future will hold.