NEW YORK – The market for phablets is large enough to support two Samsung 5.7-inch models that target different users, at least in Samsung’s estimation.
Samsung is targeting one model to multimedia consumers and a pen-based model to productivity-oriented multitaskers.
Samsung filled Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall to launch the 5.7-inch Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+, which is targeted to multimedia users. Like the smaller 5.1-inch S6 edge, it features a narrow screen running along the edge of both sides to display notifications from multiple apps. It’s targeted to multimedia consumers.
The other new phablet is the Note 5, which like its Note 4 predecessor features 5.7-inch screen and a pop-out S Pen that can be used to write messages, annotate documents, and add comments to screencaptured web pages. It’s targeted to productivity users and content creators.
With the Note 5, Samsung is dropping a Note version with edge screen along one side.
Both models will be available in stores on Aug. 21, and versions will be available for all four national carriers’ networks.
Samsung Pay: Separately, the company announced that its Samsung Pay mobile-payment technology will roll out in the U.S. Sept. 21 with backing from American Express, Master Card, Visa and major banks, including Chase, Citibank, and Bank of America.
Samsung Pay differs from other mobile-payment technologies in that it works with standard magnetic secure transmission (MST) and NFC-based POS terminals, which are not as widely available. It will be the first mobile-payments solution available with ability to accept store cards, the company said. The technology rolls out first in Korea on Aug. 20, with other countries following the U.S. launch.
Phablets: In both new phablets, Samsung is offering multiple new features and performance specs for the first time, including:
• 4GB RAM, up from 3GB in the current S6 edge,
• ability to stream live video via YouTube so that users don’t have to download and run third-party apps that friends also need to view the video;
• Category 9 LTE for future wireless networks, accelerating peak LTE speeds to 450Mbps down and 50Mbps up; and
• wireless fast charging.
The company already offers fast charging and wireless charging but hasn’t combined the two before now. Both phones’ 3,000mAh batteries charge in two hours via wired or wireless connection, down from three hours using wires with other Samsung models. The wireless charging pad is sold separately.
• The Note 5 is the company’s first smartphone with a QWERTY keyboard cover that can be detached from the rear of the phone and placed over a portion of the front display.
• Apps Edge, which enables users of the S6 edge+ to swipe from either curved edge to display the icons of five often-used apps down one side of the main display. The current S6 edge displays only five key contacts down one side of the main screen when one of the curved screens is swiped.
Other key features include Samsung octacore processor running at quad 2.1GHz plus quad 1.5GHz. It’s the same processor as in the current S6 and S6 edge and is slightly faster than the one in the Note 4.
Other key features in both models include Quad HD Super AMOLED display with 519 PPI, Android 5.1 Lollipop, choice of 32GB or 64GB embedded storage, and 16- and 5-megapixel cameras with f/1.9 apertures on both cameras.
Like the Note 4 and S6 edge, both new models also offer 4K cameras, 192/24 music playback, and Sidesync, which moves files wirelessly from phones to PCs and back. Side sync in the two new models add Mac support.
Pricing: Three of four major announced pricing at post time. T-Mobile will offer the 32GB Note 5 and S6 edge+ at $699 and $779, respectively, though installment payments can be made over 24 months.
Sprint will offer the 32GB Note 5 and edge+ models at a respective $720 and $792, with installment payments available. Sprint’s two-year contract prices are $249 and $349, respectively. Sprint’s prices on the 64GB versions are $816 for the Note 5 and $888 for the edge+, with contract prices at $349 and $449, respectively. Monthly payments are also available.
For its part, AT&T will offer the 32GB and 64GB versions of both models and announced installment-payment prices but not contract prices. Installment payments range from $28 to $40 varying by model and by payment terms of 20, 24, or 30 months.
Verizon prices the 32GB Note 5 and Edge 6+ at a respective $696 and $792, or with 24 monthly payments of $29 and $32, respectively. The 64GB versions go for $792 and $864, with 24 monthly payments of $33 and $36, respectively.