Why shouldn't the most eagerly anticipated Android phone, most likely called Samsung Galaxy S22, also launch in the most-talked-about virtual space: the Metaverse.
When Samsung officially shows off its nifty Android gadgets on February 9 at 10am ET, it'll do so online, in a YouTube video, on social media, and in a virtual re-creation of its downtown New York City location called 837X (the physical address is 837 Washington St.).
Samsung built the virtual store inside Decentraland, a 3D virtual world browser that might remind some of Second Life. However, Decentraland, which launched in February 2020, is also a cryptocurrency playground where members can connect their crypto wallets and purchase plots of lands as NFTs. Perhaps Samsung paid for its 837X space with some of its own Mana cryptocurrency.
Why the Metaverse? Why not? That's the better question. Even though few consumers really understand, use, or live in the Metaverse, it is the digital thing of the moment. Building a digital brick edifice in this slightly cheesy space is a wink and a nod to the crypto crowd that Samsung is hip to the blockchain and whatever it unveils on Wednesday – smartphones, tablets, more – is part of the crypto wave.
TechRadar took a quick tour through Decentraland to get a feel for the experience before Samsung's big event.
You sign up using your cryptocurrency wallet – for access to full features – but can also sign in as a guest. In either case, you get to design your avatar, including hairstyles, clothing, and accessories. Then you use your keyboard and mouse to navigate the 360-degree environment. We landed right in front of 837X. The only other enterprise of note was a pizzeria, but since we couldn't figure out how we'd consume digital deep-dish pizza, we passed.
Inside 837X is a cavernous, dayglo-color, techno music-infused space. There are glowing orbs, outfits you can apparently buy, and Samsung marketing. We stood still for a moment in one spot, but then our avatar started dancing of its own accord. We hope it'll know to stand still when we're watching the Unpacked Event.
If a real-world 3D experience is more your style, Samsung also just launched a series of eye-popping Galaxy video billboards (see above) in New York City, London, South Korea, Dubai, and Malaysia. In each, a giant corner billboard is transformed into what looks like a massive open-air space for the world's largest tiger, a friendly animal who likes to stick his giant claw outside the confines of the billboard screen.
As you might've guessed, it's a sophisticated visual effect that makes the screen space look smaller than the tiger.
Whether you choose to watch Samsung Unpacked in the Metaverse, on Twitch, or through Samsung's traditional website, be sure to bookmark TechRadar for all the details and our one-of-a-kind insight into what it all means.
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A 35-year industry veteran and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered technology since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a former Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, before that, Editor in Chief of PCMag.com and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He also wrote a popular, weekly tech column for Medium called The Upgrade.
Lance Ulanoff makes frequent appearances on national, international, and local news programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, Fox News, Fox Business, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC.