We chat to Samsung’s Marketing Director Ines van Gennip about what makes the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge this year’s must-have smartphones...
April is a special time of year: there’s a double bank holiday weekend in the offing; winter is firmly in the rearview mirror; and most importantly, you get your mitts on Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone. And this year Samsung hasn’t disappointed, because we’re not just getting one beautiful, feature-packed, high-end device… We’re getting two.
Ahead of the curve…
But the question on our lips was, why bring two flagship phones to the market? That’s exactly what we asked Samsung’s UK & Ireland IT and Mobile Marketing Director, Ines van Gennip, and the answer is really rather simple:
“It’s just about giving people a choice,” she says. “If you want the best, most premium device out there, we’re giving you two you can choose from. They’re equally amazing, they have the same specs but one has a curved screen and one has a flat screen – it’s up to you which you prefer!”
‘Amazing’ is the sort of hyperbole that is thrown around all too often within the tech industry, but it hits the nail on the head when it comes to the two Galaxy S6 phones. Don’t just take our word for it, or Samsung’s – the world’s tech press have lavished praise on both the new-age smartphones. To all intents and purposes, these two might be Samsung’s finest creations to date.
And the focal point for most is that stunning, curvaceous screen on the Galaxy S6 edge. But how did that idea come about? And now that Samsung has jumped head first into new waters, are curved screens here to stay?
If we can do it on a television, what would that mean for a phone?
“We’ve been developing curved screens – especially for our TVs – for quite some time,” says Ines. “We’ve learnt a lot from our TV division, who have been very successful in developing it on a large scale, so we took that and said, ‘if we can do it on a television, what would that mean for a phone?’
“It doesn’t really start with a simple decision to develop a curved smartphone screen,” she adds. “We’re constantly trying to come up with innovative ideas, and these things just develop organically. When you start to think about a new screen, you have to bring other components into the equation and consider how this will affect the phone’s power, battery life, production and everything else, and then everything comes together naturally.
“We listen very carefully to what people say about our innovations, and the feedback we’ve received so far on the curved screen has been incredibly positive, especially since it’s something nobody has seen before. So who knows – TVs are curved, phones are curved, maybe everything will be curved at some point! ‘Curved’ might be here to stay for a very long time.”
That screen isn’t just a marvellous piece of design, it’s functional – Samsung has used Gorilla Glass 4 to make sure it’s tough and durable, while it’s made sure it offers plenty in the way of features, too:
“I’ve found myself using the People Edge function a lot,” Ines tell us. “Basically, you assign colours to five key contacts, and when your phone is face down, you’ll see the appropriate colour light spilling out from the edges when someone contacts you. You can even reply with a pre-programmed message just by putting your finger on the sensor on the back of the phone!
“It’s quite handy because you don’t want to have your phone lying face up so everyone see who’s calling you, and you can reply discreetly to someone whilst you’re in a meeting or something like that.”
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Still on the fence? We asked Ines what she thought the S6’s real killer feature was that made it stand out from the rest:
“That’s a little bit like asking a mum for her favourite child!” she laughs. “There’s loads, but I really love the Quick Launch feature. So with Quick Launch, if you double tap the middle button, the camera launches instantly, ready to capture your shot. Some phones take a while to launch the camera, especially from standby, but this is instant.
“I take a lot of pictures myself, and I have to say, the camera is absolutely phenomenal. The photo quality is superb – the technology that we’ve built in lets you capture beautiful pictures, even when you don’t have great lighting conditions.”
The people’s smartphone
As she explains though, Samsung isn’t selling the S6 phones on any one great feature alone. These latest handsets are special because they’re packing innovative solutions for everyone, no matter what you want in a phone.
“Different people have different preferences,” she explains, “and they use their phones in different ways. For some people the priority is battery, others are all about the camera, and some care more about how it looks than what it can do. We segmented our killer features into three key areas: design; camera; and battery, because those are the three biggest areas that consumers get excited about.
“That said, there are loads of things underneath those three big areas that people get excited about too. That’s why the phone is packed with features, so everybody will find the functions they want the most.
“It’s not just about designing a premium phone for the sake of it,” says Ines in closing, “it’s about having that in combination with tech that delivers the best solution for all our consumers. When we design a phone it needs to look premium and it needs to feel premium – we need to use premium materials but then also combine it with premium technology.”