The Samsung Africa Forum is an annual conference for media, government, channel partners and retailers to showcase what the Korean technology giant has in store for the African market. This year they unveiled new products, services and partnerships specifically focused at the African market.
This year the press conference was two hours long and it still had the feeling that Samsung where rushing through their product range. This is because it is huge, spanning into thousands of products in multiple divisions. Samsung have so many divisions they have three CEOs for goodness sake!
The golden string that hung all of the products together was Samsungâ€™s â€˜Built For Africaâ€™ design strategy. The aim of this strategy is to create product tailored for the environmental factors of specific regions throughout Africa. For instance, the power supplies in certain Samsung products are surge proof and thus better for countries with an inconsistent supply of electricity.
Part 1: Home Entertainment
Samsung announced three new products in the home entertainment market that are soon to be retailed throughout Africa. Starting with their flagship F8000 LED TV, the first Samsung TV to feature a quad-core processor â€“ why a TV would require a quad-core processor is not clear, but it has one. Which is awesome. The F8000 will be available in sizes from 46-inches to 75-inches, all of which look beautiful.
The next TV to be announced for the African market was the 85S9. Beyond the 85S9 being one of the most beautiful devices Samsung have ever created, it is a UHD (Ultra High Definition) TV. This means that it has a resolution of 3840×2160 â€“ four times that of a current HD TV. To make sure that current HD broadcast doesnâ€™t look terrible Samsung have included upscaling technology in the 85S9 to convert 720p HD video to UHD â€“ previous attempts at content upscaling have really not been that successful so it will be interesting to see how well this new technology works.
Samsung then introduced its redesigned Smart Hub â€“ this is a smart TV feature that organizes the users content into panels, for apps, photos, videos and social networks. These panels can be navigated via voice and/or motion control. The Smart Hub while deeply impressive is somewhat limited in the South African market, not so much for out low bandwidth penetration but because services like Hulu, Netflix and Spotify are not available (legally) in South Africa. Which means that the Smart Hub will just be used for photos and social networking â€“ both of which are not designed for a TV.
Taking a step down from the super high-end of home entertainment Samsung showcased their â€˜Built for Africaâ€™ TVs with staunch power supplies designed for the inconsistency of energy supply throughout Africa. Within the range of â€˜Built for Africaâ€™ TVs will be a TV specially tuned for sports viewing, specifically soccer.
An interesting partnership launched in the home entertainment market was with Multichoice. Samsung and Multichoice will soon be debuting a line of TVs with built in DSTV decoders. These will be available in DSTVâ€™s markets. Â No information on price points was given.