Live blog: Samsung unpacks the Galaxy Note 4 and more at IFA 2014
By Killian Bell
At IFA in Berlin, Samsung is gearing up to announce its new Galaxy Note 4 and a number of other new devices that may include its first virtual reality headset. To ensure you don’t miss a thing, and to help you stay on top of the news as it breaks, we’re live-blogging the whole thing from start to finish.
The event kicks off at 3 p.m. local time (that’s 9 a.m. ET and 6 a.m. PT) and you can follow it below.
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That’s pretty much it from Samsung’s Unpacked event — and what an event it was! You can find more news on the Note 4, the Note Edge, and the Gear VR on Cult of Android now.
The Gear VR will come with Gear VR Cinema, a portal to movies and games and other 360° content built specifically for Gear VR.
Carmack describes how AMOLED displays are ideal for VR because of their ability to turn pixels on and off “almost instantly,” reducing motion blur.
The CTO of Oculus, John Camack, is now on stage talking about the partnership with Samsung, and the technology used by the VR.
When wearing the Gear VR with a Note 4 inside, it’s the equivalent of being 2 inches away from a 165-inch display!
If Samsung gets enough support from third-party developers, the Gear VR will change the way you game on your mobile device. As a gamer, I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these.
VR is going to be used mostly for gaming, immersing you into your favorite titles like never before.
The Gear VR is powered by the Note 4, so it doesn’t have it’s own display, and it’s completely wireless. You just pop your Note 4 inside it, then strap it to your face.
The Gear VR is powered by Oculus.
“The ultimate viewing experience — mobile virtual reality powered by the Galaxy Note 4.”
And here comes the Gear VR, arguably the most interesting of Samsung’s new devices.
Samsung is running through some of the Gear S features, like its own apps (there are over 1,000), voice recognition, and a new and improved user interface.
We’re moving onto Gear S now, which of course, we already know about.
Samsung explains how the “Edge screen” will work — displaying notifications, camera controls, widgets, and more. It also has its own flip cases, with let you use the Edge screen even while it’s closed.
Here comes the Note Edge…
Samsung says the Note 4 will be here this October.
Samsung is bundling a lot of apps with the Note 4 (surprise!), including OnLive, Sketchnote, Dropbox, and Kindle for Samsung.
Montblanc has worked with Samsung to bring “fine writing to the digital world.” The company has announced two fancy pens that are S Pen-compatible. They also function as regular pens.
Back to the S Pen. Samsung has collaborated with Montblanc to make the S Pen even better this time around. Montblanc’s chief marketing officer is now on stage.
The Note 4 has four different cases — S View Cover, Flip Wallet, S View Wallet, LED cover, which is a lot like HTC’s Dot View case. There’s also a Swarovski one that’s covered in crystals.
Those extra mics also mean improved noise cancellation.
Samsung has also added new voice features. There are 3 new mics to enhance voice recording, and they allow you to record sound from 8 different directions, then play the recording back from each direction.
The Note 4 is also a power “sipper,” so even though Samsung hasn’t made massive improvements to battery capacity and it has a Quad HD display, battery life is much better. To be fair, the Note 3’s battery life wasn’t bad at all.
Onto battery life. The Note 4 has a 3,200mAh battery, and a new Fast Charging feature, which gets you from zero to 50% in around 30 minutes.
The Galaxy Note 4’s Smart OIS (optical image stabilization) promises sharper images even faster.
The front-facing camera’s viewing angle is now a lot wider so you can capture more, and there’s a Wide Selfie option that makes it easier to capture “wefies,” which are selfies with more than one person, apparently.
The Note 4 has a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization, and a 3.7-megapixel front-facing camera with f/1.9 aperture. “We wanna help everyone take better selfies.” The front-facing cam captures 60% more light for better images, and the heart-rate sensor on the back of the Note 4 can be used as a shutter button.
We’re onto camera improvements now…
Here’s a new feature called Snap Note. It lets you take pictures of things — like a blackboard — then annotate it or make notes alongside it.
There’s a new S Note widget that makes it quicker and easier than ever to start new notes.
S Pen is more than just a pen, Samsung says. We’re now looking at how it acts “just like a mouse,” allowing you to click and drag to select text or multiple items at once (like photos in the gallery).
There’s also a feature called Smart Select, which lets you select multiple snippets of different things and share them all at the same time.
Samsung says it has spent a lot of time improving handwriting recognition. Pressure sensitivity is doubled to make “on-screen noting feel exactly like writing.” Two new noting option — calligraphy and fountain pen — have also been added.
We’re not onto the S Pen, which Samsung believes is essential for the smartphone. “The pen is mightier than the finger or the thumbs.” The new S Pen is capable of so much more, Samsung says.
Samsung has brought its Multi Window function to the recent apps key so that it’s easier than ever to access.
Samsung promises 20% more color from the Note 4’s display, with the same “Super AMOLED display capabilities” as the Galaxy Tab S.
The Note 4 has a 5.7-inch Quad HD with a super sharp 2560×1440 resolution — that’s the same size as the Note 3’s.
The Galaxy S5’s “clean and vibrant” UI (Samsung’s words) has been brought to the Note 4, with the addition of dynamic lock screens.
It has 2.5D glass with a natural curve, “remarkable durability,” and it weighs 176 grams. It’s 8.5mm thin, and it’ll be available in black, white, gold, and pink. No blue.
Samsung is boasting about the Note 4’s metal design, which it calls a “sophisticated update” over the Note 3.
We’re back to the Note 4 now. Samsung is highlighting the large screen, the S Pen… the things that make the Note line special.
Samsung says that with the Note 4, the Gear VR, and the Gear S, “your daily life will never be the same.”
The Gear VR works with the Note 4 to provide a “next-gen viewing experience.” It essentially turns your Note 4 into a virtual reality headset.
And the Gear VR is official!
Samsung is now teasing “a totally new form factor of wearables.”
We’re now being reminded of the Gear S, which Samsung announced last week.
The Galaxy Note Edge is the first smartphone with a “one-of-a-kind” curved AMOLED display, and it promises to bring the smartphone experience to a whole new level.
And there’s a second one!
The Note 4 provides “the most perfect S Pen experience,” Samsung says. It’s made out of metal like the Galaxy Alpha, but the plastic back with faux leather finish remains.
Meet the Galaxy Note 4.
The history lesson continues.
“We want to be a trigger for new mobile culture,” Samsung’s president says.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard the word “innovation.”
Samsung is describing how the smartphone is basically taking over our lives.
Samsung is giving us a brief history lesson on its Galaxy Note lineup.
A better screen, a faster processor, and a better camera is already being teased. I wonder what those could be for.
Samsung’s president is now on stage to kick things off.
Here we go!
Is that Weird Al?
And a Galaxy Note 3 is one of the instruments.
As usual, Samsung is kicking off with some live music.
Less than five minutes to go!
Good morning! Killian here. Samsung’s event will be kicking off in a short while, so bear with us until then. In the meantime, tell us what you’re hoping to see in the comments section down below.