Samsung is one of the largest consumer technology companies in the world, so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that it regularly has a significant presence at CES — the annual Consumer Electronics Show. From a massive exhibitor booth, flashy press events, and tons of product announcements, this is an important time of year for Samsung.
CES 2020 proved to be more of the same, with Samsung dominating the trade show in a few different areas. Samsung unveiled a lot at this year's event, ranging from budget-minded smartphones to artificial humans.
Here's a recap of Samsung at CES 2020, the announcements it made, and why they matter.
Galaxy S10 and Note 10 Lite
Kicking off this list, let's talk about the only two smartphones Samsung had to share at CES — the Galaxy S10 Lite and Galaxy Note 10 Lite. As the names suggest, these are essentially "lite" variants of Samsung's more powerful Galaxy S10 and Note 10 flagships. However, there's more flagship DNA coursing through these phones than you might initially expect.
Both phones have large 6.7-inch AMOLED displays, huge 4,500 mAh batteries, up to 8GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, and an impressive 32MP selfie camera. The S10 Lite is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 processor, whereas the Note 10 Lite gets Samsung's own Exynos 9810 chip.
Also impressive are the camera packages. On the Galaxy S10 Lite, you get a 48MP Super Steady primary camera, 5MP macro camera, and 12MP ultra-wide camera. The Note 10 Lite is a bit different, offering 12MP sensors for the primary, telephoto, and ultra-wide cameras.
All of those specs combine to create rock-solid smartphones, and while Samsung has yet to share pricing info, the company has said that it's targeting "accessible price points." The timing of the launch this close to the Galaxy S20 is a bit odd, as is the S10 Lite's existence when the S10e is still alive and kicking. That said, for price-conscious markets like India and China, the S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite could prove to be smash hits.
We're big fans of Chromebooks here at AC, especially when companies go the extra mile to make them as nice as can be. 2018's Google Pixelbook is still one of the best models out there, and at CES 2020, Samsung announced what's effectively its spiritual successor.
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook just may be the nicest Chromebook we've ever seen. Seriously. It has a 13.3-inch AMOLED display with a 4K resolution, tiny bezels, and an aluminum body that comes in a fantastic orange/red color. You also get a built-in stylus, backlit keyboard, and a large trackpad. Hardware-wise, it's the tops.
Inside the Galaxy Chromebook, things are just as impressive. The processor is a 10th-gen Intel Core i5 that's paired with 8 or 16GB of RAM, and you can go up to 1TB of storage. For anyone that loves Chrome OS and needs a powerful machine to get serious work done, this is shaping up to be the machine for you.
Samsung's going to slap the Galaxy Chromebook with a starting price of $1000, and while that might seem like a lot of money to spend on a Chromebook, it's understandable considering how much thought and care Samsung's clearly put into it.
When we talk about Samsung here on AC, it's usually regarding the company's smartphones or smartwatches. As many of you likely know, Samsung is also a huge player in the world of TVs. CES is always an exciting time to see often mind-blowing televisions from various companies, and Samsung made sure it stood out this year.
Samsung announced a bevy of TVs at this year's CES, but the most impressive is the Samsung Q950. You get the expected high-end features like 8K and QLED technology, but the big draw to the Q950 is its lack of virtually any bezels. There is technically some bezel with a 99% screen-to-body ratio, but regardless, this is a gorgeous design. Combine that with the 15mm width and a flat backside, and the Q950 can prop on your wall totally flat and create for an incredible viewing experience.
The other TV that caught our eye is the Sero. The Sero's display can rotate vertically, allowing it to be a great showcase for vertically-shot videos (such as TikTok, Instagram Stories, etc.)
Even more interesting is the fact that the display rotates in conjunction with your smartphone. Rotate your phone horizontally to watch a video, the TV rotates with it. Move your phone back to a vertical position, and the TV goes vertical.
Televisions like this are a ton of fun to look and gawk at, but chances are you won't have one in your home anytime soon. Samsung does intend to sell both the Q950 and Sero, but in reality, they're brought to and announced at CES to show the world what the company is capable of. There may come a day when TVs like this are commonplace, but we won't get there unless Samsung and others create them now.
Ballie personal robot
Similar to TVs, robots also tend to be quite popular at CES. For 2020, Samsung's contribution to the robotic world took the form of Ballie — a small, adorable little robot that's a catch-all companion for your home.
Samsung's teaser video for Ballie shows the robot doing a variety of things, such as putting on dog videos on the TV for a dog while its owner is away, having a robot vacuum clean up a mess it sees, and more. It can follow you around, makes audible chimes and chirps when commands are issued to it, and has a camera that can keep an eye on your home when you're at work to ensure everything is a-OK.
The promo video for Ballie is really impressive, but of course, that's just what it is — a promo video.
We have no idea when Ballie will be released or how much it'll cost, and as with a lot of things that come to CES, there's a strong possibility Ballie will never hit store shelves. Even so, it is interesting to see how ambitious Samsung is being with its robotics.
NEON artificial humans
Finally, let's talk about this artificial human thing. We've become accustomed to talking to digital helpers like Google Assistant and Alexa, but with NEON, Samsung is saying it's created "artificial humans" that are "100% visually real, like you and me."
Every NEON has its own name and personality traits, and according to the NEON website, can speak any language, gain new skills over time, and are designed to be a friend for you. They also learn about you the more you interact with it and can "evolve."
NEONs exist as digital avatars, and in the future, Samsung imagines they'll be able to take on the role of a financial advisor, concierge, and even a healthcare provider.
There's a lot we still don't know about NEON, and right now, most of it is marketing hype without anything tangible for us to sink our teeth into. Regardless, it's a fascinating concept and one we'll be sure to follow to see where it goes from here.