Latest phone introduces iris scanning.
Latest phone introduces iris scanning.

Note 7 disaster won't stop Samsung innovation

IF you think  Samsung will play it safe with its flagship smartphone releases in 2017, think again.

The tech giant will unveil a faster Galaxy S8 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and there's talk it may even retain its Note brand, despite the damaging recall of Note 7's across the world after numerous phones exploded last year.

Samsung has promised to release full details of exactly what happened in coming weeks, saying it is committed to transparency with its customers.

Samsung fronted about 2000 media at CES 2017 in Las Vegas to unveil new TVs, a smart fridge with voice control, new Dolby Atmos speakers, upgrades to its Gear S3 watch, a high capacity four load clothes washer and dryer combo.

But the first item of business was to address its exploding Galaxy Note 7.

"As you know, this year was a challenging year for Samsung," Tim Baxter, president and chief operating officer of Samsung Electronics America, said.

"Some of you were directly impacted, and many of you certainly saw the media coverage."

He said the company was continuing its "intensive efforts" to figure out exactly what happened.

Samsung is expected to call another press conference in the next couple of weeks to detail the findings of an investigation into the fiery phones, first blamed on the battery.


Months after the recall, airlines continue to warn people not to bring the devices onto planes. 

The warning would have been heard by the more than 160,000 flying into Las Vegas for CES 2017.

"Despite our setbacks, we have not, nor will we, stop innovating," Mr Baxter said.

Samsung insiders have admitted the Note 7 disaster was damaging but revealed many of its customers stuck with Samsung products when changing over to a new device.

In recent days, there has been speculation a Note 8 will be unveiled later this year with a 4K screen, and the new AI assistant named Bixby which could debut with the Galaxy S8 and S8 edge around April.

There's also talk the S8 could feature pen support and an even an option to connect to a monitor and keyboard to use as a desktop device.

Given the widespread publicity and damage to the Samsung brand, the top smartphone maker will be keen to ensure it pulls a big rabbit out of the hat when it unveils it flagship phone, the S8, in Barcelona.

Until then, the S7 and S7 Edge remain among the favourites of Android fans and have helped Samsung to gain market share against the likes of Apple, which will too be looking to pull out something special for its 10th anniversary iPhone this year.

The writer travelled to CES 2017in Los Angeles as a guest of Samsung Australia

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