Samsung, like Apple, sows brilliant confusion

We look to technology for solutions, don't we? Yet Samsung just managed to unpack problems just as tortured as Apple's.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer

I want to be productive, I really do.

I live in the US where productivity is compulsory and idleness is scorned.

So often, tech companies promise they can help. They constantly emit new gadgets that will make us more productive, whether we like it or not.

I was rapt, therefore, at Samsung's latest unpacking of new products, anxious to find one true productive direction. After all, we were promised simple, right?

I confess to initial excitement.

Not only was the Korean company releasing a monstrously imposing Galaxy Note 10 Plus, it was also reaching across the aisle toward those who fear they might be so-called superusers, but don't want to admit it.

The smaller Note 10 just might be the gateway to the super-productive point of no return. It could be the one truly all-encompassing device that would make everything else unnecessary.

Indeed, as ZDNet Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan explained: "Enterprises may view the Galaxy Note 10 line as a thin client to replace PCs."

The PC has left town, but at least it left a Note.

I was buoyed by the notion that very soon one device would fit me perfectly and drive me toward being the great productive entity I've always dreamed of being.

"The end game for us is to remove friction for the end-user," said Taher Behbehani, general manager of Samsung America's Mobile B2B unit.

But then I made the mistake of continuing to listen.

Suddenly, there was the Galaxy Book S. This, for all the world, looked like a PC that has 23 hours of battery life. 

How could this not make me more productive? I'd never have to look at how much charge is left. It's so thin I can take it anywhere. 

I was ready, just like a high school footballer who suddenly got a better offer from an even more corrupt college, to change my commitment from the Note 10 to the Book S.

But then Hassan Anjum, Samsung's Director of Product Strategy and Marketing, offered this from the stage: "It looks like a laptop, but it has the essence of a smartphone."

What? A laptop that thinks it's a phone? 

So now I have to choose between a phone that might replace a PC and a PC that's really a phone?

Oh, it's not as if Samsung is alone in this angst-inducing twisting in the winds.

Every time I hear Apple tell me that the iPad Pro is really a computer, I want to headbutt my mantelpiece.

Then again, every time my MacBook Air's keyboard decides to make like a dog that won't go for a walk, I entertain the idea of actually writing something on my iPad Pro. Or perhaps buying an iPhone XS Max and trying to write on that.

Or just emigrating to Portugal to raise chickens.

And then I'm supposed to wonder whether I really need an iPhone any more, as the Apple Watch will suddenly be an independent and fully functional, well, what? A mini-phone, I suppose.

I fear the tech companies are sprinkling their own confusion upon us. They don't know what'll make us more productive any more than we do.

It used to all be so simple. A phone was a phone, a laptop was a laptop and a TV took pride of place in your living room.

Now we're supposed to decide how we're going to use gadgets to improve our lives and make ourselves far more impressive.

It's a lot of pressure.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10: in pictures

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