Editor's note: Since Samsung seems willing to take on just about any idea, Crave's Eric Mack decided to suggest some projects he'd like to see the gargantuan Korean conglomerate take on, starting with the creation of a whole new market -- foldable electronics.
For years now, Samsung and others have been teasing prototype flexible displays, and Samsung just recently introduced the first smartphone with a curved screen. That's pretty nifty, but what I'd really like to see are fully foldable (or perhaps rollable) devices. Today's tablets are pretty great, but how much better could they be if they could be folded up to slip into your back pocket?
"But what about the batteries and other components!" you might shout in disbelief.
Fortunately, LG says it's already got that covered. Time to put all the pieces together and get me a device I can fold up and stuff in my wallet -- I nominate you for the job, Samsung.
Weren't we supposed to have far more intelligent appliances by now? Where's the refrigerator that automatically orders more soy milk via Amazon Prime or texts the kale dude from the farmers market to make a house call when we're low on such key modern staples?
Why is it that the nascent Internet of Things allows me to check radiation levels in Tokyo or Seoul from my home in the mountains of New Mexico, but I don't have access to an oven that can sense when I'm burning dinner and cool itself off?
This is a problem I'd love for Samsung to solve so that the looks of pity and disgust that George Jetson shoots me in my nightmares can finally cease. Samsung sells fancy $4,000 refrigerators and we've already seen other home appliances with built-in Android interfaces. If Samsung can give us phones that track our eyes, surely some kitchen appliances that can measure how delicious (or not) their contents smell isn't far off.
When I was a kid in the 1980s, Robert Zemeckis, Michael J. Fox, and the rest of the "Back to the Future" crew promised us -- yes, I consider all '80s movie tropes to be binding contracts -- that we would have hoverboards by the year 2015. And yet, with just a little over a year left until that deadline, the closest we've come is the Segway.
This is totally unacceptable. Since one of Samsung's many holdings includes Everland, South Korea's largest amusement park where attractions already help kids defy gravity, and we've already seen one concept for a smartphone-controlled real hoverboard, it seems like the company might have reason to help ensure that Marty McFly is still able to win the day 18 months from now. None of us wants to live in a world ruled by Griff.
This is a special request for our friends in Norway, where the all-electric Tesla Model S is so popular that some Norwegians are now paying even more for used models than the asking price for a new one.
Among its many subsidiaries, the Samsung Group claims Samsung Techwin, which has built everything from jet engines to military vehicles. Add to this the fact that some of Samsung's other tentacles have experience in electric car batteries and it seems like the company could give Elon Musk a run for his money, while also offering some competition that could save some money for Norwegians.
This one seems like a no-brainer to me. There have been years worth of rumors about Apple making an HDTV to take over the living room. Samsung already makes a wide array of televisions, and it also make Chromebooks. Why not bring the Android/Chrome experience to the HD big screen? Just give me a way to put the entire Google ecosystem on a crazy 4K screen and throw in an app called "TV" in case I went to check in with that old school medium, and Samsung might see Apple imitating it in the living room.
All right, so this isn't exactly an area where Samsung has specific experience, but then again, who really does? Seems like it should be within this company's capabilities to grow enough carbon nanotubes to get some sort of capsule up a space elevator and beyond the atmosphere. Samsung Group claims $470 billion in assets and 425,000 employees worldwide, so it should have enough cash on hand to hire smart people to figure out the rest of the science involved, and some marketing geniuses to sell tickets, so long as it's not the same geniuses that were behind the Galaxy S4 reveal.
I don't have the slightest idea how this could be accomplished, but Samsung was started way back in the 1930s as a food company, exporting fruits, vegetables, and fish to China. It branched out into confectionary equipment and flour mills and never looked back. Now that the company has grown into a tech giant, why not try to return to its roots, but with a futuristic, high-tech twist?
I understand that 3D printing could be one place to start, and I guarantee you that if Apple had a food replicator, everyone would buy it. So, there's your motivation, Samsung. Do it for your founding fathers...or just do it before Tim Cook tries it first. I'll have tea, Earl Grey, hot.
Updated:Caption:Eric MackPhoto:Screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET
Portable 3D printers
Speaking of 3D printing, this is another area where Samsung may not have much direct experience, but at its core Samsung is a manufacturing company. In a sense, it is the manufacturing company that the whole world actually knows (sorry, Foxconn.) So it makes sense that it would be interested in this most exciting new form of making stuff. Plus, I imagine that once it's figured out how to mass produce our food replicators, this one will be a breeze. Throw in some of that foldable technology so that I can carry my 3D printer around with me and you've got a new mobile revolution on your hands.
In addition to power plants of all sorts, from renewable to nuclear energy, Samsung has been known to construct a desalination plant here and there. What great timing, what with rising sea levels and all. Samsung, may I suggest striking deals with the world's underdeveloped nations to construct plants along their shores that convert all that extra sea water into fresh H2O that can be piped directly to the multitudes lacking access to clean water? Of course, you'll also have to figure out how to keep it from evaporating or eventually flowing back to the ocean, but figure it all out before Bill Gates wipes out malaria and score bonus points.