Samsung revealed its latest smartphone, the Galaxy A9, featuring the worlds first rear camera with four lenses.
The company Thursday said its latest phone will come with 128 gigabytes of storage and up to 512 gigabytes of expandable memory.
There were howls of protest when Apple left the 3.5mm headphone jack out of the iPhone 7, but it was really just another example of the company being ahead of the competition. Arch-rival Samsung is reportedly going to be the next to eliminate this single-use port from its flagship phones next year.
The phone also features its Bixby virtual assistant, payment service Samsung Pay and fitness tracker Samsung Health. It will come in three different colors — Caviar Black, Lemonade Blue and Bubblegum Pink.
“As a global leader in smartphone innovation, we understand the demand for meaningful innovation in a fast-paced world driven by visual communication,” said DJ Koh, president and chief executive of the IT and mobile communications division at Samsung Electronics.
“Building on our legacy in smartphone camera development were introducing next-generation technology across our entire Galaxy portfolio to give more consumers the opportunity to experience cutting-edge innovation.”
Earlier this year, Koh told CNBC the company was planning on including cutting-edge techin its mid-range Galaxy A line of smartphones, even before it does in its high-end ones. Koh also said the firm was set to reveal its rumored foldable smartphone this year.
Video: Samsung Galaxy A9 hits with quad camera, but the price misses the mark – Hands On Review
Many watchers of the company were also anticipating the unveiling of its quad camera. Leaks emerged showing a picture of the phones rear on Wednesday.
The phone includes a main rear camera with 24 megapixel resolution and autofocus, a telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom for detailed close-ups and long shots, an ultra-wide lens with scene optimization and artificial intelligence-powered scene recognition, and a depth lens aimed at letting users manage a photos depth of field and focus. The selling point of a camera with four lenses is that a photographer is able to alternate between different lenses that enable specific features, such as photos taken from a long distance or panoramic shots.
Samsungs Galaxy A9 is a step up from its A7 model, which was the companys first phone to include a triple-lens camera on the back. A number of competitors, including Huawei and LG, have also released triple-lens cameras on their phones.
The announcement follows the release of Samsungs high-end Galaxy Note 9 in August, its most expensive phone to date, retailing at $999.99 for a standard version and $1,249.99 for one with more storage.
Last week, the firm released its earnings guidance, predicting it would be on track to score record profits in the third quarter. It has struggled due to a slowing global smartphone market, and said in its second-quarter earnings statement that operating profit for the mobile business dropped 34 percent from the previous year.
The likes of Samsung and U.S. rival Apple — which unveiled its new high-end iPhone models last month — have also faced increasing competition from rising Chinese competitors, such as Huawei, Xiaomi and ZTE.
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Featuring a surprisingly high-res 24-MP camera in front, and four cams in back, the A9 has two more cameras than even Samsungs 1,000 Galaxy Note 9. And while some folks may say the A9's 5-MP depth sensor doesnt fully count since it cant actually take photos on its own, that still leaves the phone with a 24-MP main camera, a 10-MP telephoto cam with a 2x zoom, and an 8-MP ultra-wide cam with a 120-degree field of view.
Image: SamsungThe proliferation of camera sensors on phones is something that has been speeding up lately with Huawei and more recently LG offering three rear cameras on the P20 Pro and LG V40. But more importantly for Samsung fans is that the Galaxy A9 hints at what Samsung is working on behind the scenes.
Samsung has a history of releasing devices in the fall that often seem like regular consumer products, but are also partly demos for new tech or manufacturing processes. This happened when Samsung released the Galaxy Alpha in September 2014, which featured a new chamfered aluminum frame that was a big improvement in both strength and looks over the previous Galaxy S5.
Image: SamsungThen just two months later, Samsung released the Galaxy Note Edge in November 2014 featuring the worlds first functionally curved display. And then wouldnt you know it, in early 2015, Samsung released the Galaxy S6 sporting a chamfered aluminum frame, and on the Galaxy S6 Edge, a screen with rounded edges on both sides of the device instead of just one like on the Galaxy Note Edge.
This doesnt mean its a guarantee that Samsung will offer a similar camera setup on the Galaxy S10, but its clear the company is toying with the idea. And with Samsung also on deck to show off a bendable phone before the end of the year, there could be some big changes in store for mobile gadget conference MWC 2019. Either way, amid the rise of all-screen phones, the promise of flexible displays, and the swift increase of the number of cameras getting crammed into phones, we may see a whole new generation of radically different handsets within the next 12 months.