Unveiling the new Samsung A-series smartphones this week, the focus was mainly on the high-end features at a more affordable price, as the South Korean tech giant seeks to regain its status as the world’s best smartphone maker over Apple’s. iPhone.
But buried in the suite of features mentioned in the new Samsung A series was a surprising and very large addition: native Snapchat augmented reality lenses.
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The lineup, which includes the Galaxy A52, A52 5G, and A72, all showcase Samsung’s quintessential sleek design, as well as 5G connectivity (for the A52 5G), 4K video recording, AR Emoji, as well as features Apple apparently hate (whatever users demand), like a nice headphone jack and a MicroSD slot.
From Samsung’s standpoint, however, the biggest news here is pricing, as all three phones are roughly at or below the $ 500 price tag – a rare relief from the $ 1,000 wallet-erosion trend of the smartphone. So far, announced low prices are for European customers, while official US prices are likely to be announced sometime in the spring.
But even with all these features, the one that stands out for us is the new native Snapchat Lens feature on Samsung A Series called Fun Mode, which allows you to use Snapchat filters from the device’s native camera app.
According to the company’s official statement, the feature’s availability may vary “by market and carrier”. Nonetheless, this is a huge step for Snap as it continues to build its reputation as the primary AR gateway in the mobile space, not only for its users, but also for users using AR across platforms.
When it comes to building successful software platforms, the question of native hardware often emerges when a platform reaches massive scale. That is why, for example, there is always chatter about a Facebook smartphone. Given Snap’s commitment to its Spectacles hardware range, it would be no surprise to see a Snap smartphone suddenly appear on the horizon, perfectly optimized to show you the world perfectly filtered through the thousands of Lens effects of the platform.
But for now, it looks like Snap is going the smarter way behind the scenes by embedding its powerful AR tool into one of the world’s leading smartphone makers instead. It’s a risky game in terms of control, but probably worth it, as Snap’s ability to reach the billions of mobile users around the world has just increased by a huge margin, propelling AR even further into mainstream acceptance.