28 May 2011

Thoughts While Visiting the Samsung Experience

Times Square rendered in Legos @ Samsung Experience, Time Warner Center, New York

I went to the Samsung Experience a few weeks ago.  If you are not familiar with this place, it is sort of like an Apple Store, except without the store part.  You can't buy anything, it is simply a beautiful showroom for the company's products and a place to try them out in a comfortable setting.  I visit it every month or two as a way to keep up on the developments in consumer electronics - notably 3D TV, Internet-connected TVs and Blu-Ray players.

3D TV continues to be very much a mixed bag to my eyes.  In the (Blu-Ray-based) sampler demo I saw recently, the 3D effect was not very impressive and the quality of the effect seems to vary -- sometimes it looks good, sometimes not so good.  It might might work better in a very dark room.  After all, real 3D is all around you in a lit room.  And 3D TV seems to suffer next to 3D reality.

Google TV is very clunky and laggy, when it was usable at all.  Samsung could learn from Apple and spend some time and set up decent demos of the services related to the products on display.  Without a sample account set up, the Facebook, Twitter and MLB apps are useless and no visitor wants to enter their own information to use them.  Also the Google TV remote is way too complicated (and I am somewhat familiar with the platform from experience with Android phones).  Google TV is hopeless now, but so was the first version of Android.  Roku and Apple TV, both of which I have at home, are far more polished right now.

The Galaxy Tab, Samsung's answer to the iPad, would also benefit from an Apple-style demo setup with some sample photos, emails, Facebook account, etc.  The only things that one can really use out of the box are the browser and games like Angry Birds (both of which are very nice).  The tablet did seem a bit laggy, which I hadn't noticed when I used it on earlier visits.

Samsung's Android phones look awesome.  The Epic has a great looking screen.

Samsung's 59 inch  plasma TV picture is excellent with (2D) Blu-Ray feed.  I wonder how Netflix Watch Instantly will look on it?  Of course Netflix is one of the highest profile apps for the set, but the Experience has not set up a way for one to, uh, experience it.

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