Providing Content How You Want It, When You Want It, Where You Want It: The Design Story Behind The FreestyleBy STF News
People today are expressing themselves more freely, showcasing their own individuality through their own unique identities. The Freestyle, Samsung Electronics’ all-new portable screen and entertainment device, has been designed to match the versatility embodied by today’s users by allowing them to express their diverse tastes and interests with flexibility.
From Every Angle
These days, nomadic working is a lifestyle that is being embraced by people all over the world who are taking advantage of the ability to work more freely, anytime and anywhere they want. Even if our working habits err on the side of ‘flexible’ instead of ‘nomadic’, we all share that desire to have ownership over our lifestyles and lean towards products that help us overcome physical constraints and traditional methods of living, working or doing.
The Freestyle, which is highly portable, does not require any type of fastening and can be adjusted to be used at any angle, is one such product, as users can enjoy the best screen quality anywhere and in any way they desire. “We worked on creating a form that can accommodate all kinds of usage and placement styles,” explained Chulyong Cho, one of The Freestyle’s designers.
Unlike conventional, boxy projectors, The Freestyle’s versatile cradle allows rotation of up to 180 degrees, enabling users to show high-quality video anywhere – tables, floors, walls or even ceilings – no separate screen required.
The Freestyle also features an auto keystone function that displays a 16:9-ratio screen anywhere without distortion. The projector automatically focuses to ensure a clear screen, and retains its level to prevent any inconveniences in viewing. This function helps users display the screen from all kinds of different positions from floors to walls to ceilings.
Me, Myself, and I
In an era where the diversity of our personalities reflects who we truly are, people are rejecting the idea of being limited to one identity. The Freestyle similarly contains such multitudes, exceeding the identity of being a simple device as it can be transformed into a subtle mood lamp.
As was noted by designer Jaeneung Lee, “Users can also enjoy a wider spectrum of experiences through accessories.” For instance, The Freestyle can be directly connected to light stands that use E26 sockets1, allowing users to hang their Freestyle from the ceiling so that it can project downwards and deliver a truly unique experience.
Furthermore, with the ambient mode, users can express themselves through unique styles of light and sound. This feature projects a variety of visual concepts into a user’s interior to create a new atmosphere, and users can also harness The Freestyle’s translucent lens cap to project images as a form of mood lighting.
Built for Diverse Tastes and Diverse Uses
The Freestyle has been designed to take into account all kinds of personal tastes and preferences, and is available in a range of color options for users to pick and choose from. “We aspired to create a device capable of matching the lifestyles of all kinds of people and preferences,” explained designer Minsun Kang.
The Freestyle’s cover is also made out of a soft rubber material to both protect the product as well as to exude warmth and usability to any user. “With The Freestyle, we are proposing new ambient experiences that have been based on real insight into the way users are consuming content,” noted designer Jenny Jung.
Furthermore, the overall design of The Freestyle makes it a versatile device capable of matching the diverse lifestyles of any user. Those who enjoy camping can safely and easily bring their device along on a trip; those looking to enjoy content immediately need not worry thanks to external batteries2 that support USB-PD and 50W/20V output or above; those looking to relax can transform their room into a gallery with the ambient screen feature; and party people can harness the projector’s range of lighting modes to create the perfect atmosphere.
When designing The Freestyle, Samsung’s designers aspired to create a device that let users view what they want, when they want, wherever they want. The Freestyle goes beyond the capabilities of regular devices thanks to its free and flexible movement and a design ethos that takes after the lifestyle of today’s users.
* The images shown are for illustration purposes only and may differ from the actual products. Product specifications may vary by country, region and model.
1 Light socket connection feature will be first applied in the U.S.
2 Samsung is not liable for 3rd party external batteries.
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By STF News
Now more than ever, streaming has developed to be at the core of home entertainment. New streaming platforms are continuously being released and the industry’s growth is accelerating faster than ever before as more and more people are enjoying their favorite TV shows, movies and more from the comfort of their own homes.
Powered by the Tizen OS, Samsung Electronics’ TV lineup provides users with a central hub for seamless streaming experiences. Along with Samsung’s cutting-edge picture quality, state-of-the-art sound and user-friendly OS, the company’s partnerships with leading content providers such as HBO are bringing users’ at-home streaming experiences to the next level.
In order to learn more, Samsung Newsroom sat down with Jennifer Mirgorod, Head of Partner Management and Marketing for WarnerMedia, to hear about the state of streaming, the future of the industry and how HBO’s partnership with Samsung is bringing users a truly premium experience.
Q: Please introduce yourself and your role at WarnerMedia.
A: As head of partnership management and partner marketing, I’m responsible for the distribution and marketing of WarnerMedia’s streaming services including HBO Max, its transactional video business and the linear television networks. I lead the team managing our multichannel video programming distributor partners in North America as well as our global platform partnerships, including with Samsung.
Q: Streaming services have seen massive growth over the last year. What are some notable trends the industry has seen over the past year?
A: Since my career in media began more than 25 years ago, I’ve witnessed the entirety of the streaming industry’s lifespan. We’ve seen massive increase in its popularity over the years and the global over-the-top services market size is projected to reach $86.8 billion by 2026.1
As more streaming platforms emerge, content is so critically important to any platform. This trend, then, has been of rising importance for ensuring that the most iconic titles – from Warner Bros. and across our entire portfolio – live on HBO Max. The relative scarcity of premium content in our industry has made owning franchises like Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and the DC Universe, among others, has been an incredibly powerful differentiator for WarnerMedia.
Q: With more consumers “cord cutting” and moving to OTT services, how do you see the market for premium content playing out over the next decade?
A: The past few years have been described as the era of “peak TV”, with hundreds of new television series being released each year, and one thing has remained clear: consumers crave premium content. It’s premium stories that make their way into the zeitgeist and resonate with large audiences, regardless of the platform on which they premiere. HBO has long been the home for exactly that type of content and, with HBO Max, we fully expect to build on that.
Q: What changes has HBO made to its platform to promote growth and provide subscribers new experiences?
A: There are quite a few things we’ve done both to the product itself as well as our approach to provide the best possible experience to our customers.
Throughout HBO Max’s first year, our product team has focused on evolving the app by adding new features to ensure that the platform provides a premium experience that is fitting for the premium content it houses. That means adding new personalization features including “For You” trays, age-targeted kid profiles, improved design, improved content details pages, accessibility features and others. We also took a bold step late last year and decided to release our 2021 Warner Bros. theatrical slate in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day, giving customers the ultimate choice on how they wanted to consume content, which proved to be a solid strategy.
Our tech team is also working hard to deliver the best viewing experiences which includes support for HDR10 and 4K streaming. As we regularly update and release new content via HBO Max, you’ll see more and more content available in these formats.
Q: What have been some of the biggest benefits of HBO Max being available on Samsung Smart TVs?
A: There have been plenty of benefits we’ve found in partnering with Samsung and leaning into Tizen’s distinct operating system. Thanks to Tizen OS, Samsung’s TV and projectors allow us to take HBO Max into many different large-format surfaces and enable high-quality as well as varied interactions with users.
It also offers an integrated, streamlined experience for users for more enjoyable viewing. The HBO Max app will be featured on the launch bar for 2021 and 2022 televisions for convenient access, and we’re leveraging the strength of Tizen’s Universal Guide feature in those regions where it’s available. We have also deepened our integration of HBO Max content into Tizen’s search functionality to provide a more seamless experience for customers from start to finish.
Q: Is there anything you can share on the HBO Max roadmap that, along with Samsung’s Smart TVs, will help provide consumers with more valuable experiences?
A: Samsung is a valued partner of ours and we’re looking forward to building on a solid foundation we’ve built together since the launch of HBO Max. Samsung customers can expect key updates to the app experience in the coming weeks including the addition of 4K, Dolby Atmos and 5.1 audio. Also on the roadmap are enhanced functionality with Bixby, as well as the addition of ‘Continue Watching’ and ‘Personalized Preview’ features that will help to create an even more seamless and customized viewing experience.
Q: Lastly, are there any exciting movies and shows that HBO Max subscribers can look forward to later this year?
A: Absolutely. We are excited about a number of new series and movies set for release throughout the second half of this year and plans for expansion into new markets.
Our team is excited about the recently launched Gossip Girl series reboot, as well as the original film No Sudden Move, plus new Max originals The Sex Lives of College Girls from Mindy Kaling and the next chapter of Sex and the City called And Just Like That. There’s also the return of HBO-favorites including Succession, Insecure and Curb Your Enthusiasm. On the movie front, new Warner Bros. theatrical releases have been and will be released on the platform on the same days as theaters with titles including Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squad, The Many Saints of Newark and Dune, among others.
1 Over the Top (OTT) Services Market Latest Industry Trends, Size, Share, Statistics, Applications and Competition Strategies by 2028, Fortune Business Insights
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By STF News
In order to provide more users around the world with easy access to diverse, high-quality TV content, Samsung Electronics is expanding its Samsung TV Plus service to 10 additional countries globally – bringing the total of countries the free Smart TV video service is available in up to 23.
Following the recent rollout of Samsung TV Plus to Australia, Brazil and Mexico, the service will be available in India and 9 new European countries – the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, Ireland and Portugal – starting from March 30th with India. Users around the world will also be able to enjoy enhanced mobile app experiences, as well as exclusive arts contents.
Samsung TV Plus launched in India on March 30th
Samsung TV Plus: A Truly Global Streaming Service
Delivering instant access to news, sports, entertainment and more, Samsung TV Plus has become one of the fastest-growing streaming services in the world following its debut in 2015. By May, users in these 10 new countries will be able to gain access to Samsung TV Plus’s free Live TV content across the Smart TV platform, bringing the service’s offering up to 23 countries and comprising of over 1,000 channels worldwide.
For users in India, Samsung TV Plus will be available on any Samsung Smart TV model launched from 2017 to 2021. On March 30, the regional Samsung TV Plus service will launch with 27 channels, including 22 global channels and 5 Indian local channels including Republic, 9xm, and The Q.
Expanding the Samsung TV Plus Experience
In addition to the 10 new regions added to the Samsung TV Plus service, viewers can look forward to a more refined TV Plus app experience, new Smart TV features and never-seen-before art and lifestyle content.
The Samsung TV Plus mobile app1, launched in the U.S. in September 2020, will see an expansion of its service to Canada, the U.K., Germany and India this April. App users in France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Austria will also be able to enjoy mobile Samsung TV Plus experiences within the first half of 2021.
Samsung TV Plus mobile app
Samsung TV Plus is also bringing new content to arts enthusiasts the world over. Launched last week in the U.S., Samsung TV Plus is adding a variety of new channels to its global linear TV lineup, including ‘Loupe 4K’, the art platform’s first-ever 4K streaming art channel.
Loupe 4K, 24/7 art and synchronized music linear channel launched in US
“The growth of Samsung TV Plus has everything to do with the quality of the content, the ease of access and the multi-screen experiences offered,” said Sang Kim, SVP of Product & Marketing for Samsung Electronics. “We are working hard to deliver more to our customers wherever they are – including our mobile offering.”
Samsung TV Plus is regularly being updated in order to provide the best possible user experiences. Users can now take advantage of improvements made to the app’s Player UI, including a simpler player bar for more intuitive control. As Samsung TV Plus’s video-on-demand (VOD) offering continues to expand, users can expect to enjoy even more VOD content seamlessly and free-of-charge with the Samsung TV Plus Smart TV and mobile apps.
New player bar updated this week
1 The Samsung TV Plus app is available free of charge on the Galaxy Store and Google Play in applicable regions for select Galaxy device users running Android O OS or higher.
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Apple sold more phones than Samsung in the fourth quarter of 2020, says market research firm Gartner. This is the first time that Apple has sold more phones than Samsung in a single quarter since 2016, which is when the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus came out. Apple and Xiaomi were the only two of the top five smartphone vendors that saw growth in 2020, while Samsung, Huawei, and Oppo all saw their sales decline. The overwhelming popularity of the iPhone has never been in question, especially in the United States, but that hasn’t been enough for Apple to overcome Samsung’s international dominance in recent years. In fact, Apple has not topped Samsung in sales since 2016, but that streak finally came to an end last quarter.
According to market intelligence firm Gartner (via 9to5Mac), the launch of the iPhone 12 last fall was the driving force behind Apple’s fourth quarter, during which iPhone sales saw year-over-year growth of 14.9%. Meanwhile, Samsung’s phone sales suffered an 11.8% drop over the same period, giving Apple the edge.
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“The launch of the 5G iPhone 12 series helped Apple record double-digit growth in the fourth quarter of 2020,” wrote Gartner. “Apple surpassed Samsung to retake the No. 1 global smartphone vendor spot. The last time Apple was the top smartphone vendor was in the fourth quarter for 2016.” This was not enough for Apple to win 2020, as Samsung was still the top smartphone seller in the world, despite sales dropping 14.6% year-over-year.
“The sales of more 5G smartphones and lower-to-mid-tier smartphones minimized the market decline in the fourth quarter of 2020,” wrote Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. “Even as consumers remained cautious in their spending and held off on some discretionary purchases, 5G smartphones and pro-camera features encouraged some end users to purchase new smartphones or upgrade their current smartphones in the quarter.”
Unsurprisingly, smartphone sales were down for the year, with the novel coronavirus pandemic and supply issues to blame. Gartner also notes that Apple and Xiaomi were the only two smartphone vendors in the top five to see growth in 2020, showing just how popular the iPhone 12 series has been since last fall.
With the latest Galaxy line having launched in January and the Galaxy S21 starting at a more reasonable $800, it’s possible that Samsung will reclaim the throne this quarter, but the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro didn’t start shipping until October 23rd, so it should be a tight contest over the next several weeks. There’s also a chance Apple releases an iPhone SE Plus next month, which would keep the sales train rolling into the spring. Either way, beating Samsung for even a single quarter, given the sheer amount of smartphone models that Samsung rolls out every year and the difference in popularity across several major international markets, is impressive.
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By STF News
Design inspiration is all around us; however, tapping into it is another story. Fortunately, there are members of the Samsung Developers community who’ve cracked the code and defeated designer’s block. We connected with several watch faces/themes designers and over the last few weeks we have been sharing their advice, creative processes, and sources of design inspiration.
We conclude our ‘Prime Time Design’ series with Ramon Campos from Friss in Motion. Based in the United States, Ramon’s watch faces are inspired by technology, science fiction and nature. Read on to learn about his design process and how he’s incorporating animation into his watch faces to stand out from the competition.
When and why did you start designing watch faces?
I started designing watch faces about six years ago as a hobby, creating designs for my own watch. I developed the habit of sharing my designs with other users and noticed they were popular. I soon realized it could be an opportunity to make money for my design work. As for themes, I started last year in January 2020. It has been an arduous experience, but also exciting and rewarding.
What does your design process look like? Do you have a strict protocol or is it more free flowing?
For me, the design process varies every time. There is no specific protocol; some designs have taken a very short time to complete, others have taken months. However, one thing on my mind during the design process is how to stand out from the competition. So, I think about how to design watch faces that show different characteristics. That’s why most of my designs are animated, although I also have experience in digital and analog design.
How has your design approach evolved over time?
My design process has evolved a lot. My first watch faces took a lot of time to finish, but now if I have a defined idea, it is easy to work on the project. The same can be said of my animated designs. I had to study hard to learn the computer programs, but over time it has made my work easier.
What was the inspiration for your most successful watch face and how did you make it a reality?
I really like technology, science fiction, nature and watches, so those four things are my source of design inspiration.
How do you strike a balance between the vision you have for a watch face and its functionality? Is this the most challenging part of the design process?
In my case, I have not had any complications with balancing my vision and functionality. Most of my designs are focused on health features and I have always had the confidence to ask the Samsung Developers team for their recommendations to help make my process easier.
How do you navigate guidelines without compromising the integrity of your design?
I think we all like flashy designs, but at the same time the information on the screen needs to be easy to read and locate. Due to my design style, this is probably one of my biggest challenges.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give a designer who is stuck in a creative rut?
Express all your talent without fear and do not give up; there is a long way to go and your goals are not impossible to achieve.
Thanks to Ramon for sharing helpful advice on the design process, staying creative and finding inspiration for Galaxy Watch Face designs. You can connect with Ramon and Friss in Motion on Instagram and Facebook.
We hope you found our ‘Prime Time Design’ series inspiring and informative to help you on your journey to designing for Samsung devices. Don’t forget, there’s still time to submit your Galaxy Watch Faces or Themes portfolio before the submission window closes on February 23rd.
Follow us on Twitter at @samsung_dev for more developer interviews and tips for building games, apps, and more for the Galaxy Store.
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