Samsung unveils Galaxy S10 line with immediate FirstNet support, foldable device, 5G phone later in the year
Samsung this week launched three Galaxy S10 models featuring fingerprint, camera and battery technologies—as well as FirstNet certification—that are expected to appeal to public-safety users, while also using the event to unveil a foldable device and 5G smartphones that will be available later this year.
Vivid displays and enhanced camera technologies likely will be consumers’ most popular features of the Galaxy S10 smartphones—the S10, the larger S10+, and the smaller and less expensive S10e—but speedy authentication via the devices’ ultrasonic fingerprint scanner could be most valuable to critical-communications users.
Integrated in the screen of each S10 phone, the fingerprint sensor uses ultrasonic waves instead of optical scanning to authenticate a user and unlock the device, according to Suzanne de Silva, Samsung’s director of product marketing.
“The ultrasonic fingerprint scanner makes unlocking your S10 easier than ever,” de Silva said during Samsung’s Unpacked event on Wednesday. “The scanner also protects your data with machine-learning-based algorithms that are updated automatically, just like security patches, and our anti-spoofing algorithm can identify a fake fingerprint, whether it’s 2D or 3D.
“What that means is that it’s going to make it significantly harder for someone to copy your fingerprint and gain access to your data.”
In addition to this security feature, the S10 smartphones also include improved battery technology that detects which applications are not used often and devotes less power to them, so the device can be powered all day, according to Drew Blackhard, Samsung’s senior director of product development. In addition, S10 phones can be used as a wireless charger for other devices.
“You just place a watch, ear buds or a friend’s smartphone on the back of the S10 and watch the battery fill up,” Blackhard said.
Bob Sloan, chief operating officer for FirstNet at AT&T, authored a blog noting that the S10 smartphones support operation on the 700 MHz Band 14 spectrum licensed to FirstNet and have an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance. With the S10 family of smartphones, the FirstNet ecosystem now has more than 70 devices that subscribers can choose, he stated.
Sloan also noted the importance of the battery technology in the S10 phones.
“The All-Day battery intelligently accesses power by learning how and when you use your phone,” according to Sloan’s blog. “With the powerful All-Day battery, public safety can count on their device to last the length of their mission, keeping them on and operational.”
Samsung S10 devices can be pre-ordered now and are scheduled to be available in stores beginning March 8.
In addition to the S10 devices, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Fold, a powerful smartphone with a 4.6-inch display that can be unfolded to reveal a tablet-sized, 7.3-inch display.
“With the Galaxy Fold, we’re creating a new dimension for your phone and for your life. We’re giving you a device that doesn’t just define a new category; it defies category,” according to Justin Denison, Samsung’s senior vice president of product marketing. “With the Galaxy Fold, you get a powerful smartphone and a revolutionary tablet, all in a single premium package.”
The display on the folded smartphone and the larger unfolded display are linked via “app continuity” to enable a smooth experience for a user making a transition between displays. In addition, the device is designed to support multitasking with three applications when unfolded.
To power the two-screen Galaxy Fold, Samsung has included two batteries that also support wireless charging of other devices.
The Galaxy Fold is scheduled to be available on April 26 at a cost of $1,980.
Samsung also announced plans to release 5G devices this year, although no release date was specified. However, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg made an appearance at the Samsung event to announce that “our Verizon customers are going to be the first to get the 5G phones into their hands,” noting that the launch would happen “soon.”