We went into CES this year not expecting much in terms of smartphones. We figured OEMs would hold off for Mobile World Congress, a mobile-specific show, later next month. However, we were hit with announcements in rapid succession the day before the show really kicked into action. AT&T announced seven new phones, Verizon announced four phones and Sprint made two new phones official. The two manufacturers who had a small presence throughout the show, though, were Samsung and HTC.
We know HTC will be making a much larger presence at the mobile show in New Orleans in February. But Samsung has remained mum on the issue until earlier this evening. On the Samsung Mobile US Twitter account, two particular tweets revealed Samsung's next move, which will take place during the Super Bowl in one of the prestigious (and very expensive) ad spots. The ad will air at some point throughout the fourth quarter and will apparently reveal a "device so revolutionary only an ad in America's biggest game can do it justice."
What's more is that Samsung isn't playing it cheap; they're going all-in. Ad spots during the Super Bowl don't come cheap. The 30-second spots will set buyers back $3.5 million and the longer, 60-second ads run for a full $6 million. As their second tweet implies, they're opting for the $6 million spot: "To make our first ever SB ad as noteworthy as the #GalaxyNote itself, it will be one of the longest in the game. Look for it in Q4!"
Tech commercials have never had much of a presence in the ever-popular Super Bowl ads among beer, automotive and web services commercials, so it's odd that Samsung is gambling such a large amount of money on an unknown device in somewhat unknown territory. However, they have had quite a bit of success in their most recent Apple-bashin' spots. The most intriguing part is the fact that Samsung referred to the yet-to-be-released device as "revolutionary." Generally, we wouldn't give that term much weight in this industry anymore. But something tells me we might be facing something different.
So what could Samsung's Super Bowl device announcement be for?
Update: Well, about the time I published this, it was brought to my attention that Samsung's big mystery device is the Galaxy Note. So much for revolutionary. And as someone pointed out in the comments, the day of the Super Bowl is the same day that pre-orders should go live for the Note. I didn't even connect the dots. Hey, a man can dream, right?
Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is flexible AMOLED panels. I've been waiting with bated breath for new form factors, something, no ... anything to spice up the mobile world and flexible phones seem to be the direction that several manufacturers are headed, no matter how pointless or bizarre. Choosing a Super Bowl ad spot to show off a truly revolutionary phone that bends and flexes could potentially be a phenomenal success and a gamble well worth the risk of $6 million.
If it's too soon for flexible phones, the only other thing that would make sense is the larger, super high-resolution display tablet we heard about a couple months ago. A larger tablet, however, doesn't sound very revolutionary anymore. We caught a glimpse of multiple 13-inch tablets at CES. The only other thing that I can think of is possibly a typical Samsung device with a quad-core processor, but I wouldn't count on that too much, as we don't expect Exynos chips to make the transition to quad-core for a while.
I don't even care much for football, but I think I will be tuning in to the game this coming Sunday, just for the commercials. No matter what Samsung has up their sleeve, it will be outed in less than a week and we will be the judges for whether it's "revolutionary" or not.
Tell me, readers. What do you think Samsung's mystery device will be? A new tablet? A flexible phone? Something else. Speculate and give your opinion of Samsung's recent ad spots in the comments below!