While I was very distracted this morning by Nintendo’s barrage of game announcements, the big story remains Samsung’s new Galaxy S lineup. Encompassing no less than three new phones and three new tablets, it was a busy day for the biggest and most influential Android phone maker.
While the giant Tab S8 Ultra is literally the biggest announcement (a 14.6-inch OLED tablet built for creating and viewing), the most important might be the Galaxy S22 Ultra — despite the name, to most people, this is really the next-gen Galaxy Note.
My colleague Cherlynn Low has written about how the Note’s legacy will live on in any device that works with a Samsung stylus, but it’s a much-needed consolidation of the myriad flagship devices the company often launches at a speedy clip.
Last year, sidestepping Samsung’s cheaper phones, like the A series, it revealed the Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra in January. Then, in August 2021, the company marched out its latest foldable devices, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy Z Flip 3. (Not to mention the S21 Fan Edition that popped up just a few weeks ago…) Phew. There was no Galaxy Note that year, presumably because Samsung needed to figure out where it would belong.
The S22 Ultra, with lots of camera sensors, a huge beautiful screen and space to holster an S Pen stylus, now has enough unique features to differentiate itself from the more standard (and cheaper) S22 and S22+. Now I need to figure out how to stop calling it a Note.
— Mat Smith
The biggest stories you might have missed
Both devices launch on February 25th.
The 6.1-inch Galaxy S22 and 6.6-inch S22+ look very similar to the S21 family they replace, but they include some notable camera upgrades, including a 50-megapixel main rear camera with a sensor 23 percent larger than in the 12MP shooter from their predecessors. There are some new software-based camera tricks, including Auto Framing to keep up to 10 people in focus. Portrait-mode photos should look more natural thanks to an AI-based stereo depth map. Prices start at $800 for a Galaxy S22 with 128GB of (non-expandable) storage and $999 for the bigger S22+. Still not sure? We’ve already written up some first impressions right here, and you can expect our full review soon.
It’s the Galaxy Note in all but name.
Compared to its S22 siblings, the Ultra model has a flatter design and built-in storage for Samsung’s S Pen stylus, which itself features improved responsiveness. It also comes with a 108MP camera with an f/1.8 aperture lens. The phone includes a 12MP ultra-wide camera and two 10MP telephoto cameras. Pre-orders for the device open today, with prices beginning at $1,200 for the base model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. Check out our early thoughts here.
Android on a very big screen.
Samsung also unveiled the Galaxy Tab S8 series, which includes the Tab S8, S8+ and the Tab S8 Ultra. It’s the first time Samsung is making a tablet with the “Ultra” name; that branding is normally reserved for its S-series phones, but the S8 Ultra has some high-end specs to match. According to Samsung, it features the “world’s only 14.6-inch Super AMOLED display on an Android 2-in-1” as well as “our smoothest writing experience yet,” courtesy of an upgraded S Pen. Pricing across the family starts at $700 for the Tab S8, the S8+ at $900 and the Ultra at $1,100. They are all impressively slim.
I can’t explain what Samsung’s original idea was. There’s a vague dig at Apple (I think), as an old Mr. Mackintosh pitches a dowdy raincoat before a younger handsome man appears to reveal… oil paintings of Samsung’s newest phone.
The matriarch he’s trying to impress demands her servants carry the paintings around in a circle, by candlelight, creating (possibly) a sort of zoetrope effect. I’m not sure. You won’t be sure.
They'll burn up as they re-enter the atmosphere.
Almost all of the Starlink internet satellites a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carried beyond the atmosphere on February 3rd won't reach their intended orbit. SpaceX has revealed a geomagnetic storm a day after liftoff had a severe impact on the satellites, and up to 40 of them will re-enter or have already entered Earth's atmosphere. The deorbiting satellites pose no collision risk, SpaceX said, and will completely burn up as they re-enter the atmosphere, leaving no orbital debris.
You'll just need to spend a few hours in bright sunlight every day instead.
Garmin’s new Instinct 2 Solar watch will apparently be able to run continuously on smartwatch mode (i.e. with features like heart-rate monitoring, sleep tracking, activity tracking and 24/7 health monitoring turned on), with no need to recharge — so long as you get enough hours in the sun. Garmin says the device needs to be outside in 50,000 lux conditions for an average of three hours a day to maintain the "unlimited" battery life.
The headsets are reported to arrive in 2022 or 2023.
The operating system powering Apple's rumored virtual or augmented reality headset may be called realityOS, MacRumors has reported. The term was spotted by multiple sources in recent GitHub open source code and App Store upload logs. "What is Apple's realityOS doing in the App Store upload logs," tweeted iOS developer Rens Verhoeven. If the references are real, they could suggest that developers are getting or will be getting access to the OS. As another developer, Steve Troughton-Smith, warned, however, they "could just be a remnant of somebody's pull request from a fake account," too.