We learned more from leaks than Samsung Unpacked

The boxes for the Galaxy Z Flip 4 compared to the Galaxy Z Flip 3, S22 Ultra, and and S21Fold 4

For years, we here at Android Central — along with many of the other tech publications out there — cover all of the leaks possible for pretty much every new and upcoming device.

There are some leaks that are covered more than others, as Samsung’s flagship lineup has a tendency of being leaked quite a bit more than something like the next Galaxy A-Series phone. This is also true for other smartphones and devices on the market, such as the next iPhone, or the next Google Pixel phone.

But something really struck me when watching the ultra-quick Samsung Unpacked event, where the company unveiled a total of five new products in about an hour. When compared to other tech events, even ones like Apple’s pre-recorded announcements, it just felt like the event started, and was over, in the blink of an eye.

On one hand, this is really great, as you don’t need to worry about the company droning on and on about features or partnerships that don’t really matter all that much. On the other, it made me realize that Samsung really didn’t share all of the exciting details in regards to the Galaxy Z Fold 4, Z Flip 4, Watch 5 series, or Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.

What was missing?

In a timeframe of about 24 hours before Samsung Unpacked went underway, there was a flood of last-minute leaks that made their way through the tech space.

These included things like one of the best Galaxy Z Fold 4 cases that allows you to switch between an S Pen holder and a built-in kickstand. Even our own Nick Sutrich, who went hands-on with the devices at a pre-announcement briefing, wasn’t aware that this case was modular until after-the-fact.

Another example of this is the Burgundy Galaxy Z Fold 4, which is a Samsung-exclusive color, but we didn’t even see what that looked like (in an official capacity) until the pre-order page was live.

When you consider that Samsung also had another dedicated section of the announcement event for the Galaxy Z Flip 4 Bespoke Edition, you might think that this unique color would at least be shown off, even for a second. But we got nothing.

One of the more recent discoveries was the all-new “Light” performance profile options that ship with One UI 4.1.1. There was no mention of the feature made during the announcement, but considering all of the battery issues that continue to plague Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 owners, we’re a bit surprised this didn’t make “the cut.” Instead, Samsung spent more time on random partnerships such as its separate Instagram and “Galaxy X BTS” commercials.

But it wasn’t limited to just the Galaxy Z Fold 4, as Samsung only made a brief mention of the faster-charging capabilities on its latest Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro.

Both of these new smartwatches now ship with a 10W charger in the box that uses USB-C, as opposed to the 5W charging found in the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic. As for that quick mention, it was in regards to the ability to “charge for eight-minutes to get eight-hours of sleep tracking.”

You could deduce that this was meant for faster charging overall, but now that we’ve gotten our hands on the Watch 5, the bigger story is that it can charge fully in just around an hour. That’s cutting your charging times in half, so you can throw your watch on the charger, jump in the shower, and will have more than enough juice to last you through the night and beyond.

These might seem like minor details, but when you package it all together, it just made me feel like Samsung was holding back information that it didn’t feel was important. As a note, some of the aforementioned “missing” features were provided to Android Central as part of our pre-release embargo agreement.

However, the issue here is that Samsung didn’t even mention the other big changes once the live stream started rolling. So even if you’re a tech enthusiast, you might not know about the upgrades to charging, or that there was even a Burgundy color option at all.

There’s no way to know about Samsung’s implementation of the “Light” performance profile until you get your hands on the phone. Some of that responsibility definitely falls on the publications with access to that information, who can then inform the readers after the embargo has lifted.

But some of that information wasn’t even provided, leaving us to “discover” it on our own, or wait until someone else gets their hands on it to see what other changes are coming.

Device leaks continue to reign supreme

Part of the fun, when it comes to this job at least, is to see what’s to come before the official announcement is made. Google has seemingly given up on trying to withhold much information, as it confirmed the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro ahead of the announcement last year, and then did the same for the Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, Pixel Watch, and even the Pixel Tablet during Google I/O 2022.

However, Samsung hasn’t adopted this method for trying to get ahead of the leaks. It seems content just letting the likes of Evan Blass (@evleaks), SnoopyTech, Ice universe, and others just share all of the nuggets they can get their hands on.

Before the pandemic, it felt like these tech events were becoming more and more irrelevant, as we already pretty much knew everything there was to know. However, there was still a feeling of excitement as there might have been a little feature here or there that wasn’t leaked, but was mentioned during the announcement event.

Now, it just seems like the opposite is the case, and Samsung’s event left me feeling like the company thought it was more of a showcase for brand partnerships than it was about the phones themselves.

Perhaps things will change, as the landscape is always shifting, and some of those who leak information are now seeing those leaks removed as part of a DMCA claim. But maybe these companies don’t really care about informing their potential customers anymore, leaving the leakers to do all of the work for them.

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