New Computing and the Galaxy Tab S7 FE (Hassan Anjum of Samsung)
We, ourselves, can’t believe it’s already been a year since we sat down and talked to Samsung’s Director of Product Marketing on the “New Computing” division, Hassan Anjum.
What better way to celebrate that anniversary, and the milestones achieved during the past year, than to sit down and have another conversation?
Hassan Anjum is joining us again on this week’s episode of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast, where our host Joshua Vergara and our own Jaime Rivera are talking Chromebooks, Galaxy Books, tablets, and everything in between, including treadmills and Peolotons, but most importantly, Fan Edition, what it is, and the brand new Galaxy Tab S7 FE.
You can find the audio interview embedded for your listening pleasure, as well as a text transcript below.
Joshua Vergara 00:00 Jaime, can you believe it? It has been almost an entire year since we have had our guest. You could see him right in the middle. We have had our guest on the podcast and we have him back right now.
Jaime Rivera 00:11 I know I, I’m curious. This, we have somebody right now, that is the only person that I’ve known that can actually walk on a treadmill while he works. I need more secrets into that. Oh, my God, I think it’s time to catch up.
Joshua Vergara 00:27 All right, we have our special guest, Hassan Anjum, Samsung’s Director of Product Marketing for “New Computing”, and if I remember correctly, the last time we had you on you were just coming into this role. So I’ll tell you what: we are so happy to have you back on the show. You definitely don’t need any introduction from me and Jaime, but you can go ahead and just let us know what have you been up to? How are things going in “New Computing”? How have you been?
Hassan Anjum 00:49 First of all, Jaime, thanks for that intro. It feels like whenever I need to feel special. I’ll just come on this podcast with you guys. You know? Yeah, what have you been up to? You guys already know, we’ve been pretty busy releasing all these amazing products. It’s been a pretty interesting, challenging year, I would say, for all of us. And for us to actually meet the needs of consumers and their ever-evolving needs, it’s been pretty exciting for us. So Jaime, I actually interesting over the past year, something has changed the treadmill. I did see your video on the Peloton. It was good. It was a really good one. I think I think what you said was completely fair, I will tell you this, I bought one.
Jaime Rivera 01:42 Ah, all right. All right. I am curious. But we’ve got like a full team. Actually, you do realize that this whole thing about the Peloton was actually a conversation that started with Baldwin, which is somebody who used to work with you guys. And you know, it just spun off this idea that I can’t give a recommendation on a product unless I actually try it because I didn’t recommend him to buy it. He ended up buying it he ended up loving it. And then I give it a try. And it was like crap. Oh man, it’s so good. Oh, god, this is so bad. so bad. I’m curious to hear how it’s been. And so wait, so you’re moving away from the treadmill and working?
Hassan Anjum 02:22 No, I’m diversifying. Yeah, so well for me, you know, cardio is tough, you know, for people who can run people who do cycling and stuff. It’s easy, but it’s tough. That’s why I was on the treadmill when I was working because I’m distracted. And the Peloton was great because you know, the instructors have basically yelling at you and distracting you. So for me, if it’s good enough, that keeps me…
Jaime Rivera 02:48 There’s one thing that I really love about those classes, and it’s the moment when it’s getting really hard and you’ve got instructors like Robin saying “yes, you can”, like that particular phrase, “yes, you can”, I think that that’s been probably one of the drivers that I’ve had for the past year. I mean, I was even gonna ask you, like, has travel back to Korea gotten back to normal anything for you. I mean, I’ve seen you guys adapt in so many ways that I’m curious to understand like, what it’s been like for you.
Hassan Anjum 03:17 Yeah, well, travel hasn’t picked up yet. As you probably remember. I think the last time we saw each other live was CES. What? Last year? 2020? Yes. Yeah. So that was sort of when my child was what do you call this traditional if you will, I was on a plane every four days. But after that everything just, you know, just stopped. And I don’t think we’ve ramped up travel quite back yet. You know, what I do right now requires me to sort of be in person with different teams, as you said in Korea, Korea multiple times a year nationally, I’m all over the place but we’ve adapted quite well. And you know, being able to bring products and solutions to market with such a different style of working was a huge undertaking for us. So it was actually pretty exciting too.
Joshua Vergara 04:13 We all need to catch up like in person, but you know, maybe in Korea as well, like who knows?
Hassan Anjum 04:19 Maybe next, next CES.
Jaime Rivera 04:23 Keep giving him ideas, Josh, please. Thank you. Alright, so Hassan, here’s the thing, it’s not all the time that we get the opportunity to have somebody of your caliber, I mean, it just is like you get the chance to be at these Unpacked events, you get the chance to be able to like, plan, all these products be a part of that narrative. And for us, it’s like a real treat to have you on the show, mainly because of that because of the insight that you provide. But I mean, it’s I mean, it’s 2020 2021 has been a crazy time, to say the least. And I don’t know I keep noticing that Samsung continues to reinvent itself. I mean, we go through this pandemic, I mean, the economy gets hit. And, you know, I think that Samsung is one of the only companies that are currently like in touch with the reality that people are dealing with. Because I’m noticing that, you know, every single one of the products that I’ve reviewed from you guys this year, has been probably like, I remember I did a review on the Galaxy Book Pro 360, and it was the best value like it started with the concept, like, what is the best computer that people can buy right now? And, you know, it ended up being the best value. And then, you know, we get devices like the Chromebook 2, which brought all the essentials of the Galaxy Chromebook, but then you guys drop the price in half, if not more, you know, we get other products like, you know, the Go-series, and I’m just, I’m curious as to, you know, what has been this process, just mind sharing, you know, what the thought process has been? Because I feel that other companies are out of touch. Like I’ve seen other companies just iterate on what they have, make even products more expensive. And that’s not necessarily what the market needs right now.
Hassan Anjum 06:14 Yeah, no, that’s a good question. I mean, you know, Chromebook 2 was quite an exciting addition, speaking of CES right after, you know, year after that, we introduced the Chromebook 2, and now you guys are really excited about it, especially the Fiesta Red. Actually, I’ll give you an interesting yeah. Yeah, I’ll give you an interesting fact, at one point 90% of people who are buying the, you know, the Chromebook 2, were actually buying the Fiesta Red model versus the traditional gray color. And it’s actually interesting because that’s a, you know, not a traditional color, you would think, in a, you know, laptop, if you will, but people were buying 90%. And that’s, you know, that was a huge, huge thing for us. So, and I think for us, to set the stage, that device continued to cement the fact that we’ve not only been agile to your point but also the fact that we haven’t been afraid to reinvent categories, including beyond just Chromebooks and Windows PCs. Right. So to answer your question for me, giving you behind the scenes, if you will, there are three big notions at Samsung, frankly, the first one is, one size does not fit all. And that notion is interesting because it really dictates how we move or navigate the landscape. So consumers are different partners are different. So providing limited options isn’t really an option. If that makes sense. I would say the number two is leaning into the best of our world. If you think about it, Samsung really is passionate and plays in multiple categories, you know, from TVs to wearables to refrigerators, to smartphones, with 5G. So bringing those learnings and strengths shifting to different bringing and shifting them to different categories is really allowed us to reinvent what I would call traditionally stable categories. And then lastly, which I think is the most important one is one of the most important ways these all three are equal, really, but we don’t really cross the finish line along you don’t mean like we’ll work with, we’re super close with partners, whether it’s operating system partners, channel partners, carrier partners, and frankly, the list goes on. Right? There’s a saying “if you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go farther, go together”, points one and two really keep us going fast, and point three is all of that togetherness.
Jaime Rivera 08:47 Interesting, and how have you seen the reaction from consumers? Because I, again, I guess I was not expecting this, like, you know, from the products that we reviewed in 2020, which was always you know, we had, you know, Samsung pushing innovation, the most Vanguard products, these are the most capable ones, these do things that other products just don’t do. And you know, there was a price to match. And then I just see this, like complete turnaround where those products are still available for people that want them. But then you just meet people at the price tag plus the added perks. Like, you know, can you tell me a little more about that journey?
Hassan Anjum 09:25 Yeah, you know, what has been really interesting about this past year is consumers not only have sort of elevated experiences, or demand elevated experiences, but also you know, want price points if there’s price sensitivity, obviously at this time as well. So, what we’ve been doing to the notion number one is this idea of one size does not fit all and the reaction has been just phenomenal. So you see enthusiast saying we want the best we’re okay with, you know, the high price points or whatnot, if you will just give it to us, we’ll take it up. The next piece is the people who want a Samsung brand, if you will, and want the things that make Samsung really special, but maybe have a little bit of sensitivity on the price and looking for more of the value. But the interesting thing is, is our compromises to your point earlier to the Chromebook 2 hasn’t been drastic, where people are like, “Oh, my goodness, I’m giving up so much”. And it’s been phenomenal. But then the reactions, when we look at social sentiments, when we look at behind the scenes, when we look at owner insights, insights are basically studies that we look at the reactions to our products. The big theme is Thank you, we’re happy, we’re satisfied. And for us, that is sort of the indicator of success.
On mobile and tablets
Joshua Vergara 10:49 So of going from computing, of course, we have a lot of mobile products, a lot of accessories as well. By the way, just one quick call back. Since we’re calling back to the last time we spoke, I did save more of the red like in the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 would be amazing to see and more products. And there you go. That’s great to hear that actually is like 90%, is what you said, like, that’s pretty amazing. I’m really, I’m really happy to see that! I would rock a red product like that as well. But across…
Hassan Anjum 11:18 …you just need to start giving us more ideas. Start writing them down.
Joshua Vergara 11:26 Will definitely do. I mean, we’re recording this. So yeah, it’s all documented. So across all of those different products, we, of course, have another category, and that’s going to be tablets. So of course, that’s part of the focus of what we’re talking about today. I actually view Samsung as one of the last like real vanguards, knights in shining armor, if you will, actually putting a lot of attention to detail into the tablet category. And even at different price points, which we’ll get to a little bit later. I mean, the last time we spoke, I mean I was I’m still using the Galaxy Tab S7+ here, complete with the keyboard with the trackpad, all of that stuff. And I’m actually using it right now, during this call. So like this is great. But have you noticed, especially since the last time we spoke any changes in behavior specifically in the tablet space?
Hassan Anjum 12:14 Yeah, that’s a really good point. For us, you know, I go back to the original theme that what I mentioned earlier, you know, when we look at how the consumer behavior changed for computing devices, it was people were wanting to buy purchase drivers or they intend to purchase was on top. Traditionally, it’s not really, it’s kind of a kind of like what would say number four, number five in the past years. But because of the current climate, people were wanting to buy computing devices more than what you would think for any other category. And that was actually surprising for us. Well, not too surprising. But we understood that. I mean, the drastic leap it took to get to number one was interesting. So what happened was, and I go back to this is the expectations changed. For us, when we looked at tablets, for example, large screens became a huge theme. So you see people saying, hey, if I’m going to upgrade my tablet, or if I’m going to buy a tablet, or we call new to the category, or I’m going to switch a large screen or screen size is really important. That’s really interesting. Because when you compare tablets, or what I call detachables, to other computing categories, the unique aspect is when you look at the consumer journey, screen size is the big one. So people will actually when they started, sort of picking the hierarchy of what things they were looking for consumers if you will, it is screen size that really elevates up. So in other words, in other categories, they may be some sort of compromise on screen size, it has a higher processor or particular screen size, but tablets have less of a compromise on it. Does that make sense? Yeah, for us, you know, large screens have been and will be a focus for the next couple of years.
Joshua Vergara 14:07 Yeah, cuz I mean, just speaking personally here, I mean, we are techies, we are all very into all of these products. And of course, we’re going to look for specific specs and details and stuff like that. But leading up to my time with this tablet S7+, I wouldn’t really call myself a tablet person. It wasn’t necessarily a, I might be that user you were just talking about which is new to the category because it’s just not an everyday product up until this came onto my lap, almost quite literally. And I started using it as a productivity device, writing up scripts and watching stuff on the beautiful screen and you’re right like the larger screen, perhaps with the year that we have had it become a lot more important to me. So now I’m looking at this and I’m thinking this is one of the best tablets I’ve ever used. Especially coming from someone who might not have even used tablets so often to begin.
Jaime Rivera 14:55 I love tablets. For me, tablets have been more of companion devices, and there are very few, and we’re gonna actually gonna discuss that because there are very few companies that have actually figured out what to do with a tablet-like how to actually take advantage of a tablet. I’m actually curious about the whole transition of like, right, right now, for example, we’re going into the transition into 5G. And if there is a device where you actually want 5G is in a large form factor like this is just that I want to have, you know, if the promise of 5G is, you know, fully connected, everything, I actually want it in a tablet, I want it in something that’s portable, that’s practical. I mean, Samsung was pretty much first that with 5G on phones, almost pretty much ahead of even the carriers, like I remember carrying the S10 5G and we were still struggling to get carriers to, to move up to it. And you know, now it’s become like, sort of a norm in that department. But I’m, I’m curious about the concept of computing? Like, how would you feel that the 5G connectivity, plus larger screens and that frenzy that’s coming? Like, how do you feel that it’s going to transform that space?
Hassan Anjum 16:19 Yeah, no, that’s a good one. It’s actually it’s, it’s really exciting. For me personally, when you look at every generation of broadband cellular networks, as it gets settled in categories, technically, or evolve, you know, I think, to your point screens get crisper, larger. So I’m with you on that one, where screens, are gonna get, frankly, more immersive, frankly, because of that throughput. And, you know, it’s, it’s, there’s a combination of connectivity, and also large screens at the same time. But, you know, on the point of connectivity, it’s getting even more and more important on computing devices. Like when we look at our tablets series 40%, and this goes back to the conversation about tablets versus laptops, 40% of consumers who bought the tablet series, were actually looking, we’re actually looking for a traditional laptop. So 40% didn’t necessarily replace it to your point, you know, about complementary and all that they didn’t necessarily replace the device. But 40% and 40% is huge. But here’s the interesting part. When you look at the Tab S connected users, these are folks who were buying the connected devices 50%, were actually looking for a laptop. So yeah, and that’s really true. So this connected initiative is something that we’ve we’re pretty passionate about, and we are going to build on it. So expanding connected models, bringing 5G into broader devices, larger immersive screens. You know, one interesting thing I was just thinking about, you know, Josh, to your earlier point, and I think you’ll love this one is for all the people who bought the previous tablet series, about over 60% of them were actually in the market or would consider a larger screen to 60% we’re actually thinking of potentially a larger screen than what they ended up buying.
Jaime Rivera 18:22 I’m actually gonna throw you a curveball right here. Because I, I’m curious, mainly because of that, like, I would assume, because of how many companies have abandoned tablets? Like, what is it? What Mojo has Samsung found to actually continue and then succeed in the market, to the point where you’ve discovered and have converted consumers because I know a lot of people that really don’t really need a computer. Like, it’s, it’s probably just too much for them. For the average things, I think a tablet is more than enough of the experience. But it’s it, you know, I for you to actually validate those comments only makes me wonder, like, you know, how have, like, what do you think that Samsung has found here? You know, aside from your research, because so many companies have abandoned tablets, and I feel that actually, we’re converging to more of that work. And computers are becoming, you know, more like, the heavy-duty products that a certain niche is gonna need. And then tablets are more like the general solution for everything. What do you think?
Hassan Anjum 19:27 Yeah, you know, that’s a good point. I mean, but the data is interesting, because even though we see sort of this overlap, the consideration said, you know, between the operating system, price points, form factors, there’s a lot of overlap. A lot of our consumers and I think you hit the nail on the head when you said things like, complimentary. Yeah, there’s overlap, but most consumers still are, especially the enthusiasts are still looking at complementary devices. So yes, a traditional laptop can be super portable, super thin, super light. And have a touchscreen and pen support and, and, you know, convertible form factors that can be moved around us as a quote-unquote tablet, people will still buy that and still buy a traditional tablet. Why? Because there are many factors. And it’s sort of hard to pinpoint just one thing. One element is the operating system. Another element is, Hey, I still want, my keyboard attached to my screen. So I don’t want a detachable I want to just touch but only for this use case. So another one could be, hey, I like the camera on this one. So I’m going to use this for this use case in this for this use case. So as much as we think that and I think it’s a very logical assumption that people want to aggregate their use cases and their devices, there’s still a lot of segmenting going on. So people still especially, you know, with today’s consumers, they want the best, if you will, and they and they look at their use cases, and they say yes, bringing the best. And it goes back to my point. Number two, if you will, Samsung is lucky and fortunate to be in so many different categories that we can actually play into that we’re bringing the best of different categories into different categories. But we’re not necessarily replacing them.
On big screens
Joshua Vergara 21:21 So big screens becoming a big thing, for lack of a better term, even in my own life. But I’m curious about this because obviously, tablets can come in so many shapes and sizes. But Samsung will always be one of those companies that really champions having as big a screen as possible. I mean, after all, you have the Galaxy Note line, and that sort of pioneer the entire big-screen experience in your pocket. But can you tell us more about this focus of going bigger and bigger as big as possible? Because even this tablet in front of me right now, at around the 12 and a half inch form factor? How do you land on a size like this, because I’m looking at this right now? And it’s just a smidge smaller than like a 13-inch ultrabook or laptop that I would typically use. And we’ve been talking about the shift to more computing products and that people who get these, these tablets were actually in the market for small laptops and whatnot. So at what point? Are you really trying to bridge this gap and go beyond perhaps that whole complimentary side and actually be the solution for people who are looking for something around 13 inches?
Hassan Anjum 22:27 That’s a good question. For me, I go back to what we did with the Tab S7 series last year. Now, you know, people were super excited about the Tab S7 series when we actually announced it, you know, the first 5G, touted in the US, the world’s only larger than 12-inch Super AMOLED detachable out there. And for us, that excitement translated into consumer sentiment, and obviously, people were actually picking these devices up. And what’s real and we grew in what we call super-premium share. So that was really exciting for us. So to answer your question, the Tab S7 is ultimately an expansion of that promise of the large screen, the keyboard, and the pen obviously included. For us, I also go back to the previous points I made, they will always be overlap and consideration said but we don’t really feel that there will be a replacement. Because there will still be someone who says hey, I consider myself, you know, portable, I want to get things done, I want to use Android apps, I want to use the Android operating system, I want to be able to use the S Pen. And I want to be able to use DeX and ultimately use that for a certain use case. So with this Tab S7 FE with the aggressive price point we have, we feel that this will be something that a college student or an early professional, that will target them extremely well. However, you know, they would still wait to Jaime’s earlier point when they’d like to actually get a lot more done. Maybe get a Galaxy Book Pro 360 with higher specs in it to focus on video editing, same capabilities, but maybe different use cases.
On Fan Edition and the Tab S7 FE
Jaime Rivera 24:27 Right. All right. Are you ready for the hard-hitting questions? All right. So Samsung did something last year that was completely… It’s as if you guys built your own flagship killer. It was called the Galaxy S20 fan edition, the FE. I mean, some people crowned it the best phone of the year. We crowned that to be the best value. And well I have a product right here that Josh is going to like shoot me for, behave. So this is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE 5G. And let me just read the specs, I mean, we’ve got a metal unibody, we’ve got 2560 by 1600 resolution, 12.4 inch LCD, we’ve got expandable storage, the S Pen comes in the box, you’ve got 5G, you’ve got the kitchen sink, you’ve got the dishes. I mean, you really, at this price point, like you were already you know, with the Tab S7+ and the Tab S7 you already had, you know, the best of both worlds, and then you just hit people really hard with this, this makes an iPad Air look really, really bad. And all this value proposition. I mean, I’m just, you know, even if people would want to get an iPad that would be comparable. All the amount of things that you have to add on it, like buy the pencil separately by you know, all the accessories, there’s no expandable storage, so you have to pay more for the tablet and this and that, like, just tell us more about how this product came to be.
Hassan Anjum 26:07 First of all, I mean, that was a hard question. Come on, man. No, okay.
Jaime Rivera 26:12 No, no, this is one of many. We’re just getting started. Get your coffee, you’ll be fine I mean, leaks are welcomed, we’re not going to lose our friendship over that.
Joshua Vergara 26:23 I love it. here’s, here’s this amazing product in my hand. The question is why and how?
Hassan Anjum 26:30 Yeah, but you know, it goes back to previous you know, Josh’s question, and what I talked about, the Tab S7 series for us was super, super special and, and beyond all the facts I just mentioned before was we actually with each iteration of the Tab S-series we’ve grown in the premium space. So what would the Tab S7 we grew in at least, you know, not only just a run rate but consumer preference, it was two to four times fold over. So I mean, there was exponential growth with the Tab S, especially with the S7 series. And it was with the Android operating system. So, you know, to your point, you know, one interesting thing is, in some periods, we see 80% of people who are buying the Tab S7 series are actually buying the keyboards. Now, who would have ever thought that for the Tab S series, right, 80%? So when we think of the Fan Edition, those are the sort of metrics, we’re thinking in mind when we’re saying, okay, we want to expand, get these in the hands of people. So things like keyboard support, S Pen, a large screen. And that’s, that’s ultimately where what the thinking was behind this product. So we started with the Tab S7 series, and we said, okay, where are we going to take this for the next year? And the idea was, we’re going to expand on these promises, or if you will, on USPs (unique selling points), and expand into broader reach. So that is the behind-the-scenes if you will.
Jaime Rivera 28:07 And so the plan is to, for the Tab S7+ to remain in the market, and then the FE would be because there’s really not much like yes, there are differences. Just like with S20 FE and the S20. At the time, there were differences but so the plan is for the lineup, for this to complement the lineup correct?
On the tablet line-up
Hassan Anjum 28:28 Yeah, so we are moving from a sort of two top S7 series to now a three top so it’ll be the S7+, S7, S7 FE. I’m pretty excited for again, the theme of them all: decks, pen, large screens, and my favorite obviously 5G.
Joshua Vergara 28:51 I don’t think we actually articulated in this last minute or so what the actual price of this S7 FE is the Tab S7 FE is? I don’t have that. But you can tell us, Hassan.
Hassan Anjum 29:03 Yeah, it’s the Wi-Fi will start at $529, with the pen included.
Jaime Rivera 29:12 So pretty much any S Pen works with it as well. So if you’ve already got any other S Pen or any or Wacom compatible stylus, it’ll also work with it. Correct?
Joshua Vergara 29:21 Correct. No, that’s great. All right. So the reason why I wanted to make sure we articulated the price is because I wanted to know where the S7 FE, the Tab S7 FE, I should remember to say “Tab” as well, the Tab S7 FE, where that kind of lands in the general lineup more in the sense that we’re seeing the term “Fan Edition” come back and as Jaime articulated earlier, it was such a great product last year, at least in the mobile space with the Galaxy S20 FE. So with the Tab S7 FE, are we expecting that fan edition sort of means that lower price point or a rather aggressive pricing, does it mean 5G in this case, and what can it mean, in the future when we start to see those two amazing letters FE show up at the end of a product name, because I think you’re starting to set not really an expectation, but I think users like myself who are enthusiasts, you see FE, and your ears prick up like you are all of a sudden super interested in what this product is able to bring. So what can we expect from Fan Edition moving forward?
Hassan Anjum 30:24 Yeah, that’s a good one as well. So Josh, you know, when we talked last, we talked about this hyper user, if you remember.
Jaime Rivera 30:32 I love that part about the previous conversation. Am I a hyper user, am I a hyper user times two?
Hassan Anjum 30:41 Well, you know, based on our conversations, I would classify you as a hyper user. Yes. Because you’re, you’re always on the go. I mean, every time I see we’ve got a new gadget, you’re always telling me about the new stuff you’ve got. You’re definitely a hyper user. But, you know, we’re constantly, you know, looking at revisiting our segmentation. So now the hyper user has actually evolved. And now we’re calling them a tech Trailblazer. And they are pretty much the same element. There’s a lot of similarities to them, just, I would say that they’re even more of an enthusiast than the hyper user, if you will. And it’s someone who loves to try new things, gadgets being the know, or you know, Jaime, if you will, so, I would say for the Tab S7 FE the device’s secondary target is what we would say, tech Trailblazer. I mentioned this earlier, with the aggressive price point, we think someone who’s looking for, you know, the multimodal experience of touchscreen, S Pen, keyboard, voice on a larger canvas to get things done, again, at that price point is for someone like a student or college or, you know, early professionals.
Jaime Rivera 31:56 Right, and I actually, I liked the fact that you’re transitioning into that, because that sort of segues a little into the next question that I had, because I’m curious as to what elements, you know, from out of all the research that you do, like, what elements helped you define what a fan what needs what fans need? Like, what is it that would satisfy the fans? I mean, is it the S Pen? Because I mean, it could also be the multi-active window, just the way you guys approach multitasking, which you’ve been doing since the original Galaxy Note, and which I feel that there are so many companies that are doing phablets right now that don’t get it or companies that are doing tablets right now that just don’t get it? What is the point of a larger canvas if you don’t know how to do the multitasking? And or could it be DeX? For me, Tab S4 was about DeX. And for me, it was like the coolest thing to just snap the keyboard on, and it automatically changed environment automatically adapted to its new form factor. And then I would just unsnap and boom, it would turn back into a tablet-like, what are the elements that you guys have discovered in order to pick these elements because for that price, S Pen like I think that is the most affordable product in your lineup that has S Pen functionality. And that crazy amount of resolution.
Hassan Anjum 33:18 You see, Jaime, just right there, the tech Trailblazer, just saying all these amazing things about Samsung. So that’s good enough for us to talk about as we expand the Tab S, is actually you know, the way I see it is there are two ways to go about the Fan Editions. The first one is to make it so exclusive, you know, from a price point perspective, from a capability perspective, or the second way to go, which I’m a fan of, and I think the way you spoke about it is all the amazing things that you just mentioned, S Pen DeX, multi-windows, software, keyboard, large screen, 5G, all these amazing things, bring them into the hands of more people. So that is our approach for a fan edition and moving forward, FE, at least for tablets specifically is going to be all about that. And tablets, for us, is all about getting these experiences into the hands of consumers. And so, we said FE is going to be this, whatever reactions or this is pretty this way, when we build out the S7 series, we had these key pillars (large screen, S Pen, 5G, DeX, keyboard), all these elements, and we said FE is going to be this project is going to be serving us. But the reaction to the S7 series has been even more so positive than we expected, that we couldn’t wait to get the FE out the window and get into the hands of people.
About the direction Samsung is going in
Joshua Vergara 34:58 I just keep coming back to this notion that you’ve brought up a few times already, Hassan that Samsung understands that one size does not fit all, which I find to be such a funny way to put it. Because when you think about it with features like DeX, especially once you attach a keyboard, and the tablet in front of me has a keyboard that has a touchpad on it. Like, you may not have a one size fits all product, but it fits for a lot of people like it actually manages to bridge so many gaps. Because if you’re looking for a large screen experience, but you still want sort of that ease of use, DeX is providing that, you know, you have more of that easy-to-use interface for a larger screen, for example, the S Pen is there. And while I’ll go on record as to say I’m less of an S Pen user, it is still there. And if I wanted to draw or do anything in that regard, then the S Pen is still there for me as will be the case with the Tab S7 FE. So I love this. I love this notion that not one size fits all, but I keep looking at these tablets, even the one that Jaime has that I don’t. And it’s like, I can look at it. I can think of so many people who benefit from the capabilities of a tablet. So maybe one size is starting to fit a ton of people, you know what I mean?
Jaime Rivera 36:15 I don’t know, like, I’m a huge S Pen user. Like I’m the complete opposite. But for me, it’s like for a lot of people it’s doodling. For me it’s productivity I use Microsoft OneNote a lot and so for me to be able to write my scripts on it and then be able to like highlight or doodle or you know, you know stupid little things like right on PDF man, which was true merged into Samsung notes. Like for me, we have to sign NDA is all the time. And then so when was the last time you had a printer, man?
Joshua Vergara 36:47 Yeah, well, I do still have one and I hate it. But you know what, it’s funny, you bring that up because like Hassan just a little bit of behind the scenes for me and Jaime. I’ve seen him in real-time using the S Pen to highlight stuff. And again, just cards on the table. The reason why I don’t do stuff like that is that I was the worst note-taker in school. So anybody, anybody who’s a student right now looking at this, like, it’s great, don’t get me wrong, like typing scripts on this keyboard is amazing. I’m sure it will be on the Tab S7 FE as well. But when I highlight things, I highlight, like, whole paragraphs, and what’s the point at that point if I’m highlighting the entire thing? So I was really bad I was a bad shorthand note taker. So Jaime is definitely more that user a lot better at it than I am.
Hassan Anjum 37:34 I would classify myself as half and half. So I have the S Pen, I’ll use it, but you know, I guess I don’t know if it’s the nature of my job, because I’ve just played with so many gadgets and so many devices, on different inputs, I’ll actually do voice, I’ll do keyboard, I’ll do trackpad, then. So I don’t really have a single preference as much. And, you know, this, this conversation in itself, I can’t believe it’s happening, but this segmentation, which I refer to is coming to life if you will. So there are people who know, like, you know, this is a huge percent of people who, who know that Samsung is all about the S Pen and the innovations if you will, but then when you look at the use cases, there are the enthusiasts who said, You know what, I’m not going to get it if it doesn’t have XYZ. And people say I’ll get it, but I mean, I mean, I use it, I just want to just in case, right? So it’s really interesting, but what’s the expectation is from Samsung as a product is especially what I call the category changers if you will people actually expect that. So, you will see data points in this special like a piece of the PC World that Samsung is able to command a brand. What I mean by that is that price is not the motivator, the innovation, the brand, those are the motivators. So people expect things like the S Pen in a, a computing device, people want that, but they may not use it, you know, to Josh, just to defend Joshua, they may not use it, they’ll get it, but they may not use it. Yeah, to your point, you know, people who were the first people to buy it, they’re probably likely once they actually use the S Pen. So I’m just defending both of you.
Joshua Vergara 39:17 But that’s the thing you have so many products in just the Samsung brand itself that will cater to even different users like Jaime and myself. And of course, you have like the broader ecosystem, the Galaxy, if you will, everything from TVs to fridges through smartwatches earbuds, all of that. And the last time we spoke, your department of computing was starting to go even harder into it have an even stronger foothold in the greater Galaxy ecosystem. So with more of these integrations happening with the Tab S7 FE, for example, the Tab S7 line in general and beyond that, like what’s next for this whole ecosystem integration that we’re really seeing Samsung push here?
Hassan Anjum 39:56 You know, that’s a really good question too. So, when we see consumers buying our devices, and this is going back to the previous question is, especially the enthusiasts they’re going and buying the best of the best if you will. But what’s a trend we’re seeing over the past couple of years is, it’s not just one category. So these Samsung users are buying devices in many categories, the best smartphone, the best refrigerator, the best TV, the best, you know, tablet, the best PC. You know, the list goes on. And what’s really interesting is there’s a lot of overlap, you know, so what we’ve undertaken this initiative that now this consumer, and we’ve seen the data for this is, they normally just want the best in every category, or they associate one brand name and each category, they want these devices, the best devices to actually talk to one another. That’s how they feel whole. So if I’m on a PC, I want to be able to share my screen naturally, immediately on a tablet, and without any big obstacles. The number one obstacle is usually the operating system. And we don’t want that. But now we’re making that possible with the one UI and being for a Windows PC, being able to wirelessly display onto your tablet, and act as a secondary wireless display screen for you. Where you can actually use the S Pen, sign a PDF, send it back on your emails or whatnot. So the feeling whole is where I think we’re going to keep going. And it’s all about the Galaxy ecosystem. It doesn’t matter what form factor what category, what device it is, as long as you’re part of that Galaxy ecosystem, that’s where we’re gonna go.
Joshua Vergara 41:52 I was silently chuckling a second ago because I could see in Jaime’s face you were listing off all those products fridge, mobile phone, tablet, and I could hear Jaime in his head going Dibs, Dibs.
On the future
Jaime Rivera 42:04 Listen, I, you know, I, what can I say? But alright, let’s continue with the hard-hitting questions. And let’s stick to the concept of displays. Because I mean, I’ve noticed this like obsession, I just have to say it, I’m just gonna pull out the product that I have in my pocket right now. You know, I’ve noticed that Samsung has this obsession with large screens ever since day one. And dude, I was one of the people in Berlin, looking at the first Galaxy Note and cracking up, I was like, these guys are mad. You have to you know, at the time, you have to understand like the Galaxy S was barely out. Um, and you know, it was finding success at the time, it was becoming the most popular Samsung, the most popular Android OEM, and, but then, you know, launching that behemoth and I remember us just we crack jokes. And then you guys just, you know, you were like, hold my beer, and you guys owned it. And you know, I don’t know, props to whatever research company you had, or whatever drove the product. I don’t know if it was that the engineers came up with the idea. And then you guys in marketing had to figure out how to sell it. I don’t know, but it worked. And we started getting it, you were the first company like think about this like you were the first company to do multitasking on a smartphone period. Multitasking. First, the first company to actually figure out styli I had been a Pocket PC user before. And so like I remember the resistive touchscreens and so when you guys threw like we knew who Wacom was but to put that on a phone. But you know, I’m curious as to you know, we had all these firsts and all this success. And so, but then I noticed that you know, every single event that you do, it’s always like it’s slightly larger, and it’s larger. It’s and it continues getting larger, and oh, crap. Now it folds because we want to continue making so what is it with the obsession, like, you know, what does the future look like? I mean, you’ve come to the point where it’s gotten so big that you’re, you’re folding it now. So, I mean, any comments on what to expect?
Hassan Anjum 44:24 I knew I shouldn’t have said that previous comment, avoid easy questions. I started leaking stuff, but
Jaime Rivera 44:31 I told you we’d get there. I mean, don’t listen, don’t worry. We’re just gonna pause record. Josh is not listening right now. So whether he published it like, you know, don’t worry about it.
Hassan Anjum 44:43 Yeah, all right. Well, you know, maybe interesting, I gotta think about this. All right. Well, so you’re right. You know, it actually started it. The whole conversation we’ve had today summarizes a lot of it. We talked about this 5G, the emergence of broadband networks changing and that really evolving the categories, but it also there’s a consumer preference of more immersiveness, you know, in their devices. So it is a combination of what the consumers want. We’re obsessed with consumers at the same time technology advancements allow us to enable those. So large screen is going to or large, large and immersive screens are always going to be a theme at Samsung. For us that I can say. Now in terms of where we’re going into the future. I did okay. All right. I can say this. Large screens will continue to be a theme. Can I say that? Is that? Is that good? Is that good enough for you?
Jaime Rivera 45:58 Okay. Okay. You’re saying that there is? There’s no going back? Can I assume that there will that would be like the dominating factor? Continuously, even though OLED technology just helps companies reduce bezels pretty much make them invisible. My TV behind here is OLED, and it’s a Samsung invention. Pretty much I
Hassan Anjum 46:31 Okay, well, let me answer it that way. This way. Do you find OLED immersive? Do you find large-screen immersive? So, yes, I can say that immersiveness will be a theme moving forward.
Joshua Vergara 46:56 Okay. immersiveness, trying to think and there was one last aspect to a potential future endeavor that we kind of miss here. And that is a large screen, there’s no turning back. But maybe those large screens are easier to carry. They can become easier to transport. That’s all I’m just gonna say they’re alluding a little bit. Let me just put it that way as well. So that’s all I’m saying.
Jaime Rivera 47:27 I love this thing. It is what it is. I think that generation one way of the Galaxy Fold was a step in the right direction. It was still not there. Like every first-generation product. I remember that my first, the Galaxy Note that I liked the most was version 3. Galaxy Note 3, like I still have that phone. Oh, yeah, I still have it. It still works. man doesn’t get any updates anymore. But it still works. You know, because it’s what? 2014? It’s been that long. I still have the Tab S4, it is still in the studio, it is still the one that I use. Well, it was still up until like, a couple of days ago, when I got this unit. It was the unit that I was using for my highlights. And so like, yeah, I mean…
On the ideal device
Joshua Vergara 48:20 …and I’m always gonna remember when Samsung first put the AMOLED displays on the tablet, you had a whole event at Madison Square Garden, even just for that. And it was like the whole, the whole thing was like adding like just better color. I’m trying to remember what the marketing was, but had something to do with color. And that’s obviously what we ended up getting in those, and now, AMOLED is on more things. Which kind of leads me to the next lets we’ll call this the hard-hitting question that I can ask, What is your ideal device? What is the holy grail device, for Hassan?
Jaime Rivera 48:58 We ask ourselves this question all the time. If you had to, like move on to another job or whatever, like and you could only pick one, like, what would it be?
Hassan Anjum 49:11 I will say, I will give Josh the credit for asking the hardest question for the day so far.
Joshua Vergara 49:20 We always want literally everything in one device, but it’s kind of hard to make that happen.
Hassan Anjum 49:27 Yeah, well I have an answer and it’s not a cop-out answer. Because it is the reality. I would define myself also as a tech Trailblazer. And the tech Trailblazer, if you remember, doesn’t really aggregate products. He or she will segment them So, you know, different use cases. So for me to pick one product would be very unfair. So I would probably take multiple…
Jaime Rivera 50:06 That’s what we all say we like. Like, okay, so you would pick a list, what would they be?
Hassan Anjum 50:13 How about this? If you were to ask me today, what is out of everything we’re talking about, and today we’re talking about large-screen tablets. Tab S7 FE. And this is a product, I can tell you that I have personally been involved with, from the incubation all the way to launch. So it has a lot of special meaning to be and again, all the products have I’ve been involved with, but this one now because of where we are today, we’re talking about it, maybe it’s all about today, it’s all about the price.
Jaime Rivera 50:53 It’s been your baby, right now I could get that, like you’re proud of your baby, you’re proud of what you’ve come up with, and I, I don’t blame you cuz I do feel that it is, you know, and again, it’s not just because we’re doing this podcast, and it’s not just because we have you invited, but like, obviously, I come from a third world country, I, you know, I have conversations with my friends who do not have the economical means. So for me, the reality that we’re living after this pandemic, or pretty much during this pandemic, it’s been my reality all my life to see my friends struggle. And for them, like, I remember my trip to India, for example, which Josh went with me in that trip. And for us, it was very interesting to meet people that did their research, absolutely full research on every product they would buy. And they would feel proud of whatever the product they bought like they knew up to the cores, they knew everything about the phone they carried or the tablet they carried because, for them, it was a three-year product. Like for them, the product had to age well. And so I mean, you’ve got the materials down, you’re not cheeping out on the material. So you’ve got a metal unibody. For me, one of the biggest concerns when, for me, tablets are about resolution. Like that is it for me, the moment that I that we started dealing with Quad HD, which you were one of the first companies to do it. I believe the first 720p display was Galaxy Nexus. For me, it’s like, I need resolution, I need crisp text and everything, and so you’re giving me the resolution, you’re giving me the metal unibody you’re adding the S Pen, which for me is invaluable, I seriously can’t wait for the Galaxy Z Fold. I mean, the rumors or whatever. But like for me, I need a large device with the pen because, for me, it’s a workhorse, it becomes a tool. Once you’re adding all those elements, which I feel like for me nail the essentials of a tablet, it doesn’t just become this consumption device, which I could watch, my YouTube TV or whatever it is that I’m going to watch, it also becomes a tool, and I could make it whatever I want, whenever I want. And so for me, if I had to pick, if I had to pick just one device, I would also pick a tablet. I would rather figure out my ways around it, than, have to deal with the limitations of a computer from a usage perspective, because I’ve already tested, I’ve already tasted it, like I’ve already tasted what it’s like, like for me right now I just graduated some credits from college that I had pending from years ago. And if it wasn’t for the S Pen, I would have not been able to do my statistics homework because I didn’t have a printer. We couldn’t buy a printer because everything was closed because of the pandemic. And so for me to be able to like do everything on the screen, and then just take a screenshot and then turn it into a PDF and send it over. Like Dude, that for me was like, awesome. I’m slowly getting into that headspace as well, like I’ve been alluding to in this podcast already is that I’ve been becoming more and more open to the tablet form factor whereas beforehand it just wasn’t really that big for me. Just follow the Peloton messaging “yes, you can”, join the dark side, man. It’s just that like, dude, there are so many things you can do with the tablet that you can do with a computer. And as we’re bridging the gap when it comes to chips, when it comes to the capabilities, when it comes to the apps like Android particularly man, it’s just kind of irresistible man.
Hassan Anjum 54:58 You know, Josh asked the question, so I’m curious to know. Jaime and I have weighed in Josh, what’s yours?
Joshua Vergara 55:04 I see everything that Jaime was saying is, it was such a good point about the versatility of a tablet. I have to admit, though, and right before we actually came on to do this call, I was already telling Hassan, I’m looking for those Samsung gaming laptops and all of that. So I’m actually kind of I’m so in the middle. That’s the thing. Like, I’m like I was saying before a tablet like the one in front of me right now, the Tab S7+, it does such a good job of getting so close to being that replacement, but you’re not trying to make it a replacement product. But I will admit, it’s, it’s getting really close. I use it for productivity all the time now. And like I said in the last show, and it’s still true, this beautiful screen is great for watching all of my Korean dramas, and all of my anime and all that stuff. So yes, like it fulfills so many of those roles. But you know, at 12 and a half inches for this, and it’s a great form factor a great size for this kind of screen, just a tiny bit more than that in a Samsung laptop that has all those capabilities.
Jaime Rivera 56:03 Think about it, wouldn’t it be easier for us to convince Hassan to sit down with his R&D team and be like, “can we just get a really good video editor”? It doesn’t exist on Android. Like, can we just build it? And, and that like, for me, that would be it. Like, think about it? If we had that on Android, this would be my only device.
Joshua Vergara 56:21 There are so few degrees between the overall usefulness of the tablet and then me still picking an Ultrabook. Like there’s so few degrees. And if there was a video editor on Android, Jaime is right, it would be that. But beyond that, just that just those few degrees still make me prefer a small Ultrabook laptop that probably has gaming capabilities. But because it’s able to game it is able to do the video editing that Jaime is alluding to?
Hassan Anjum 56:49 Yeah, no, I got it. And you know, you guys, we heard that message about video editing and app support on the Android operating system quite loud and clear.
Jaime Rivera 57:02 And you’ve built how many apps for Android like for me, you know, after using the Book Flex or the Book Pro 360, even bringing those Android apps that you built into Windows? Like for me actually makes sure, it’s the added value of the tablet, of the computer there.
Hassan Anjum 57:20 Yeah. And in addition to us building it, frankly, it goes back to that previous question about partnering. We’re actually working very closely with Google on expanding the lineup of third-party app support. So on large screens, and yes, yes, we can. We’re on that bike where we can. And we’re gonna do it. And I think in the next periods you’ll start seeing some exciting momentum on that front as well.
Joshua Vergara 57:58 Good, good! I can’t wait to see it. Well, I think that for the most part is going to do it for our time here on the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast with Hassan. Thank you so much for being on as we said last time, and this is what came of that you can come on anytime you want, man, like we love having you on and talking.
Jaime Rivera 58:15 I think this should not be a once-a-year thing. Because again, we get to see the final product and yes, like we were lucky to you know, get a little early look at products with embargoes and everything which is fantastic. But, you get to see you get like you already know what you’re working on two years from now. And I, Josh, I don’t know what we need to do, man, we need to make this guy break somehow. Like, we need to add a little more serum or…
Joshua Vergara 58:49 No, I think I do think that when we can do finally some sort of in-person podcast, in-person interview or whatever, or even we’re just talking and we just have it, you know, just have the three of us hanging out like, probably it’s gonna, it’s gonna happen eventually, Jaime.
Jaime Rivera 59:02 I think I have a crazy idea. I hope we can do this in person at CES.
Hassan Anjum 59:07 That’s not a bad idea. But you know, for me, as I said, anytime I need to feel great, I just come on this podcast with you guys. I’m a fan of your guys’ work, you know, and the things that you guys do. So for me to be part of this conversation is it’s the honors, and the privilege is all mine. So thank you!
Joshua Vergara 59:28 On the contrary, it’s a pleasure for us to have you here indeed. And for CES, make sure you have a small section with three to three chairs and a table in front of that wall. We’ll just do a talk today. Alright, Hassan, thank you so much! Thanks so much.
Anton D. Nagy
Anton is the Editor-in-Chief of Pocketnow. As publication leader, he aims to bring Pocketnow even closer to you. His vision is mainly focused on, and oriented towards, the audience. Anton’s ambition, adopted by the entire team, is to transform Pocketnow into a reference media outlet.