Friday, 18 December 2015

Samsung in 2016: Expanding its Galaxy way beyond the phone

The electronics giant, stung by weak smartphone sales, likely will amp up its efforts to infiltrate and interconnect your entire household.


Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge marked a new design push for the company.

One of Samsung's newest holiday ads, titled "Give the gift of Galaxy," features gift-wrapped packages of various shapes and sizes. People tear off the paper to reveal gadgets like the Galaxy S6 Edge phone, the SUHD television, the Galaxy View tablet, the Gear VR headset and Level headphones.

The tagline? "It's not a phone, it's a Galaxy."

The simple motto is a not-so-subtle reminder that the consumer electronics giant isn't just about smartphones. And as the once rabid interest in its Galaxy S phones wanes, the South Korean company will look to everything from smartwatches to refrigerators to virtual reality in an effort to reignite your excitement about its technology.

You saw a bit of that this year, but look for Samsung to really push the idea of smart everything in 2016. The hype train will roll out of the station in early January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where you can expect to see a bevy of connected gadgets, except for new notable smartphones.

Samsung is just one of tech's heavy-hitters looking to create a world of devices that surround you and talk to each other, all in the name of bringing ever more convenience into your life. The challenge will be in convincing you to fork over money for these pricey gadgets. That convenience doesn't come cheap, after all.

Samsung will have to work with its partners to get you to shell out. While rival Apple controls every element of its products, Samsung relies on companies such as Android maker Google and virtual-reality specialist Oculus for the software that powers its devices. Its own track record on software hasn't been great: Samsung has even killed some of things, like its WatchOn video control app, that were meant to better link its devices.

With new leadership in its mobile and home-appliance businesses, Samsung will be looking for new sparks of success in 2016. Can it turn its fortunes around, or is it doomed to be another footnote to the roster of tech innovators?

Samsung declined to comment.