South Korean technology company Samsung launched three new smartphones — the S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra — during its Galaxy Unpacked event in San Francisco on Wednesday.
The smartphones are expected to appeal to more customers and boost the dwindling profits of the Seoul-based company.
Here, The National looks at key takeaways from the new series of smartphones.
1. Ray tracing to attract mobile gamers
Samsung aims to increase its appeal among professional mobile gamers and its S23 Ultra smartphone will support real-time ray-tracing technology.
Through this technology, which simulates rays of light, users will be able to see more lifelike renderings of scenes, Samsung said.
Ray tracing is a lighting technology that adds an additional layer of realism to mobile games. It matches the way light reflects and diverts in the real world and offers an enhanced environment that is not possible in traditional games that use static lighting technology.
2. Sustainability at its core
All models of the latest S23 series have been certified for reduced environmental impact, Samsung said.
“With the Galaxy S23 series, Samsung Galaxy is doing more to minimise its impact on the environment without compromising quality and aesthetic,” it said.
The new phones are made with more recycled materials, including aluminium and glass, than the S22 series. The recycled plastics are sourced from discarded fishing nets, water barrels and polythene terephthalate (PET) bottles, Samsung said.
All three smartphones come in redesigned packaging that is made with 100 per cent recycled paper.
3. S23 Ultra’s 200MP camera is a big deal
The Galaxy S23 Ultra comes with a new 200-megapixel camera on the rear, a huge jump from the 108MP lens found in its predecessor, the S22 Ultra.
Videos will be clearer in low-light surroundings or situations that would normally create a blurring effect. It also comes with object-based artificial intelligence technology that analyses minute details in the frame, such as hair and eyes.
Over the years, improved camera systems have become a battleground for smartphone manufacturers.
The number of photographs taken worldwide was expected to hit about 1.72 trillion in 2022 — up more than 43 per cent from 2021's 1.2 trillion. Of this, about 1.6 trillion, or 92.5 per cent, photos will be taken on smartphones, according to data provider Photutorial.
4. Samsung’s Knox protection
All three smartphones will come with Samsung's end-to-end Knox protection technology. The security and privacy dashboard gives users full visibility over who has access to their data and how it is being used.
“With just a glance, it is easy to see if personal data is at risk and receive simple prompts to change settings for a more secure experience. Users can also decide exactly which applications and programs get access to their data and how it can be used,” Samsung said.
For an added layer of security, the Knox vault protects confidential data by isolating it from the rest of the device.
This is particularly important given that Samsung said it suffered a cyber security breach last July that exposed the personal information of some customers in the US.
5. More flexibility and connectivity
Samsung’s multi-control system, which connects mouse and keyboard functionality between a Galaxy personal computer and tablet, is now extended to S23 smartphones.
It will make it easier to copy and paste text and URLs from one device to another, as well as pick up an activity on another device.
On the S23 Ultra, Google Meet is paired with Samsung Notes and the embedded S Pen to make video calls more collaborative.
With Google Meet live sharing, participants can also simultaneously co-edit a document from their Android devices, rather than viewing a shared screen.
6. How important is the S23 series for Samsung?
Demand for Samsung smartphones remained weak in the fourth quarter of 2022, driven by continued inflation and geopolitical instability.
The company aims to expand its market share in the premium smartphone segment with the launch of its Galaxy S23 phones, it said on Tuesday.
Samsung “plans to expand flagship product sales with the successful launch of its new Galaxy S23 series, equipped with an enhanced camera and gaming functionalities”, Samsung said.
Samsung's operating profit in the three-month period to the end of December fell 69 per cent to 4.31 trillion Korean won ($3.5 billion) from a year earlier. Revenue dropped 8 per cent to 70.46 trillion won.
Samsung expects to boost its 2023 fiscal first-quarter sales through the early distribution of the latest S23 series phones.
All three models will be “widely available” at telecoms carriers and retailers, and on the company’s website from February 17, Samsung said.
S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra will start from $799, $999 and $1,199, respectively. However, prices will vary in different markets.
The company is also expected to do a UAE launch of the new series in mid-February.