Samsung and Microsoft advanced their alliance with improved Windows and Office integration.

Jeffrey Schwartz

August 6, 2020

6 Min Read
Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra_DeX Notes

Samsung launched five Android phones and tablets, all 5G-capable, that will integrate better with Windows PCs and Office. The new devices, revealed Wednesday at its semi annual Samsung Unpacked event, include new Galaxy Note20 phones and Tab S7 tablets.

Samsung will ship both the standard Galaxy Note20 and the Galaxy Note20 Ultra on Aug. 21. Also shipping then are Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 tablet and the Galaxy S7+, with a 12.4-inch Super AMOLED display. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 Plus processors will power the new line of 5G-capable phones and tablets.

During Samsung Unpacked, held virtually, the company also previewed its Galaxy Z Fold2 foldable, dual-display phone. Like the new Note20 and Tab S7, the Galaxy Z Fold2 is 5G-capable. While Samsung offered a preview of the foldable phone, the company said it will offer more details on Sept. 1.

The new foldable phone aims to improve on issues with its inaugural device. Notably, the Galaxy Z Fold2 foldable will come with newly designed hinges and an enhanced display. While demand for 5G-capable phones is increasing, foldables are few and far between.

“Folding phones are not consumer products today as much as they are brand statements and R&D experiments,” said industry analyst Avi Greengart of Techsponential. “But Samsung is leading the market with little meaningful competition. The Galaxy Z Flip 5G iterates on the best vertical folding phone, and Samsung has made huge improvements to the Z Fold 2.”

The Foldable Wave


The new Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra

Samsung views 5G-capable devices and foldables as the next wave in mobile computing.

“We remain fully committed to 5G and foldables,” said TM Roh, president of Samsung’s Mobile Communications Business. “We will work to maintain our status as forerunners in these two areas going forward. 5G and foldable will be the major pillars of Samsung future.”

The standard Samsung Galaxy Note20 will have a 6.7-inch display with a starting price of $999 with 128GB of storage. The Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra will offer a larger 6.9-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate. It will cost $1,299 for a base configuration with 128GB of storage. A larger capacity version that supports up to 512GB of internal storage will cost $1,449.

“It’s not a cheap device,” said analyst Jack Gold, principal of J. Gold and Associates. “But it also can significantly increase productivity for many, so the purchase price should not be the primary decision factor.”

In addition to traditional channel partners, a growing ecosystem of developers who build solutions for the S Pen has emerged. Introduced in 2011, the S Pen is the signature feature of the Galaxy Note and premium Tab S tablets.

The new Galaxy Tab S7 has an 11-inch TFT display, slightly larger than its predecessor, the 10.5-inch Galaxy Tab S6. More notably, the Galaxy Tab S7 is Samsung’s first 5G-capable tablet. The base configuration, with 512 GB of storage, will cost $849. The company will also offer versions of both tablets that only support wireless LAN connectivity with Wi-Fi 6 support.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ includes a 12.4-inch display and 120 Hz refresh rate, with a starting price of $849.

Improved Productivity for Business Users and Students

Channel partners can expect the largest volumes from the new Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Tab 7 lines. Both are set to arrive as millions of workers are adapting new ways of working remotely. Likewise, they are strategically timed for students going back to school, who may need more robust devices.

“There’s some really cool B2B functions that I think are going to be really interesting both on the phone side and also on the on the tablet side,” said Mike Coleman, channel chief for Samsung’s North American Mobile Business.

Coleman noted that Samsung’s channel organization has grown 30% during the past year to address …

… increased demand for mobile solutions. Likewise, his organization is working with Microsoft to prepare the channel for the devices’ new PC integration features. “I think partners will really like what they see on this new device,” he told Channel Futures.

Samsung’s signature S Pen is a key focus of its business tablets and the Galaxy Note phones. A new S Pen for the Galaxy Note20 offers improved precision that Samsung claims is more accurate and responsive. According to Samsung, the Galaxy Note20 S Pen provides a 40% reduction in latency over last year’s Galaxy Note10. The Galaxy Note Ultra’s S Pen delivers an 80% improvement, Samsung claims, bringing it down to 9 milliseconds.

“That guarantees a pro-grade experience that even graphic designers and architects can appreciate,” said Drew Blackard, Samsung’s VP of mobile product management. Samsung is also expanding the Air Action capability, that lets the S Pen control the Galaxy Note remotely. For example, it lets presenters control a presentation originating on the phone wirelessly. Samsung said it has added five new “anywhere actions” to make it easier to navigate the deice without touching it. Among them are returning to the home screen or taking a screenshot.

Besides making the S Pen easier to draw, take notes and navigate the device, Samsung has improved its Notes app. Designed for taking handwritten notes with the S Pen, Samsung is giving the notetaking app added task management capability. The Galaxy Note20 will offer the new Samsung Notes Live Sync. Users can save their notes to the cloud and access them from a PC or tablet, via their Samsung accounts.

Extended Integration with Windows and Office

At last summer’s Samsung Unpacked event, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella appeared to discuss the two companies’ latest alliance. Samsung and Microsoft have now added improved integration between Samsung’s Android devices and with Windows and Office. The companies advanced their partnership this year to offer tighter coupling with the new devices.

The Galaxy Note20 includes improvements to the Link to Windows feature, which extends the phone to the PC desktop. Extending upon the Windows 10 Your Phone feature, Link to Windows mirrors the Galaxy Note’s screen on a user’s PC. Link to Windows will offer improved multitasking by support up to six applications simultaneously, rather than just one.

“You’ll be able to work across your devices in real time, no need to switch back and forth,” Blackard said.

That feature will roll out later this year.

Samsung and Microsoft are also working on enhancing the drag and drop experience, “to make moving files between devices easier than ever,” Blackard said. Also, building on the Samsung Notes improvements, users can synchronize data from that app with Microsoft Outlook and OneNote.

DeX Goes Wireless with Miracast Support

The new devices will come with a feature called Master Multitasking with Advanced Samsung DeX. Launched several years ago, Samsung DeX allows the Galaxy devices to run as virtual clients in Windows. The new DeX capability now allows the Galaxy Note20 devices to wirelessly connect to any smart TV that supports Miracast.

“We’re making it even easier for you to get more done and multitask with a two-screen experience,” Blackard said. “When you need to check emails while finishing a project or text with a friend while you’re streaming YouTube, DeX helps you multitask and stay in control.

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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