CES 2011: Samsung Smartphones, Laptops Get Smaller, and the Apple Rivalry Grows Fiercer
Samsung LTE 4G phone.
CREDIT: Stuart Fox
LAS VEGAS – Seemingly anticipating many of the points about mobile devices and multitouch interfaces Steve Ballmer made during the CES 2011 keynote address, Samsung showed off a number of mobile and computing devices that directly challenge Apple's phone and tablet dominance.
All of Samsung's products seemed to answer questions that lingered on the tongues of Windows and Android users. What can compete with Apple's sleek MacBook Air? Check out the super-slim, super-light Samsung 9 Series. Is anything as good as the iPad? Look no further than Samsung's Sliding PC 7 series, which converts from a notebook into a tablet with ease. And the iPhone? Nothing will make the iPhone's AT&T network seem slower than the 4G wireless coursing through Samsung's LTE smartphone and Galaxy tablet.
In form as well as function, Samsung's 9 Series presents itself as the dark doppelganger to the MacBook Air . Whereas Apple's offering comes with a smooth silver case, the 9 Series sports a steel textured black. At 0.64 inches (16.3 mm) thick and 2.89 pounds (1.06 kg), the 9 Series is even thinner than the remarkably slender MacBook Air. A Core i5 2537M processor also gives the 9 Series more muscle than its ardent rival.
For those who want a little more heft with their laptop — and maybe the ability to draw on it, if need be — Samsung's Sliding PC 7 Series features a double-hinged screen that allows the users to operate the machine as either a tablet or a regular laptop. In both forms, the machine uses the Windows 7 operating system. And when converted into tablet mode, program icons appear as if they were apps on a dedicated tablet, allowing for easier use and access with the multitouch interface.
In the mobile realm, the only real advance was speed, but what an advance that is. Samsung's 4G LTE smartphone (see image at top) isn't much thinner or lighter than other Android phones on the market, and the screen isn't significantly sharper either (although the keypad does have a nice action to it). However, the 4G speed really does change the Web experience. The browser completes searches at almost ethernet speed, and one can imagine this drastic increase in bandwidth enabling more complex online games and streaming media options.
Mac lovers have a devotion that reason cannot sway. But of all the arguments for switching from an Apple to a Windows or Android machine, Samsung's new products are the most persuasive.