here are his most intriguing “works”

We visited the Samsung Innovation Museum (SIM) near Seoul. This museum pays tribute to the technologies that have marked history: it houses fascinating products and also serves to convey an important message for the South Korean giant.

A few clouds dot the sky, but make no mistake. The temperature is soaring and the air is extremely humid — but that’s apparently normal in Seoul. Several European journalists invited by Samsung to South Korea board a specially chartered shuttle. Destination: the city of Suwon about 30 km.

Suwon is best known for being the city hosting the huge campus of Samsung also called ” Digital City “. We will talk about it soon in a dedicated article. The site is so big that it can, among other things, house a museum. And not just any: the Samsung Innovation Museum. Or SIM if you prefer.

We get into it. O joy! It is much cooler there. We take a deep breath before setting off to discover the “ works contained in this museum. We were not disappointed.

What you can see at the Samsung Museum

Our guided tour of the SIM lasted about half an hour. The opportunity to discover some interesting pieces that are worth seeing.

Samsung’s first black and white TV

As we will see later, the entire museum is not exclusively dedicated to Samsung. On the other hand, the first room in which our guide takes us is fully dedicated to the impressive history of the South Korean giant. We thus enter directly into the heart of the matter by observing the Samsung 19-W880. This is the first black and white CRT television launched by the brand.

We go back in time to 1972. And it shows with the look very vintage of this product almost entirely in wood. We can notably see its imposing dimensions, but also admire the few buttons arranged on the right of the screen. There is thus a wheel to select the channels while it was necessary to move a physical cursor on a gauge to modify the volume or the brightness.

It’s quite retro.

An amazing Samsung microwave never marketed

Let’s stay in thevintageapproaching the Samsung RE-555CTV. It is a microwave. The design of this microwave is reminiscent of the TV mentioned just above, but it stands out above all for its small 5-inch screen housed in the upper left corner.

Indeed, you have to realize that this microwave dating from 1983 had something futuristic at the time. The small screen in question could be used to watch television and display a hundred cooking recipes. It was also possible to link it to security cameras to keep an eye on the surroundings of his house.

The model exhibited at the SIM is, however, the only example in existence today. The product was indeed never produced, blocked by the oil crisis which had disrupted the entire market. A very rare piece, therefore.

Historic cell phones

As we said, the Samsung Innovation Museum is not only used to praise the South Korean brand. The stated objective of the place is to celebrate all the innovations that have marked the history of technologies. It should therefore come as no surprise to find a copy of the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X : the first mobile phone ever marketed and dating from 1983.

A small explanatory panel reminds us that this device required an investment of 100 million US dollars over a period of 10 years. It had been launched at a price of 3995 dollars and offered an autonomy of 30 minutes in call for a charging time of 8 hours. Our current smartphones come a long way.

This historic piece is exhibited alongside two other devices that deserve mention: the Samsung SH-100 (1988), South Korea’s first mobile phone, and the Motorola MicroTAC (1989), the “original flip phone“. The Razr Edge 40 Ultra and Galaxy Z Flip 5 of 2023 therefore find their very distant source there.

The ancestor of the Galaxy Watch and the Matrix Phone

Let’s stay a little on this side of the museum to review two of the most atypical devices. THE Galaxy Watch Phone from 1999, first of all. A smartphone that was attached around the wrist and which foreshadowed future connected watches from Samsung, the spearhead of which today is the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic. Note that TM Roh, the current head of Samsung’s mobile division – first responder to each Unpacked for a few years – actively participated in the design of this product. He doubtless had no idea what the rest of his career had in store for him.

THE Samsung SPH-N270then better known as Matrix Phone. Released in 2003, it was designed in collaboration with the teams of the Wachowski sisters’ eponymous film. The goal was to make this phone look as much like the one you see inMatrix Reloadedand that it comes out at about the same time. Note that this is a limited series dedicated to fans and not a mass-produced device.

An 18th century battery and an iconic telegraph

Let’s complete the visit by going back very far in the past. Let us first stop in front of a copy of the leyden jar which dates from 1746. The guide specifies from the outset that it is not a replica, but a real model dating from the 18th century.

It’s simply stunning: seeing these six bottles filled with a strange mixture, you don’t immediately understand that you are dealing with what is considered to be the ancestor of the battery. Almost 300 years of casual history.

In the same room, a few steps away, another device makes an impression: a telegraph dating from 1896. Again, this is a real copy and not a replica. It was with this device that Guglielmo Marconi was able to send a message from one side of the Atlantic to the other. A milestone in wireless communication.

This big black parallelepiped has another particularity: it is a similar model that the Titanic boarded in 1912. It is thanks in particular to the radio signal thus sent that another ship was able to intervene and save 711 passengers.

Samsung’s post

We thus surveyed half a dozen different rooms in the Samsung Innovation Museum. A place where we talk about telephones as well as televisions, household appliances and semiconductors. Overall, we especially remember one idea: the South Korean company wants to show that it is a worthy heir to the glorious inventions of the past.

Our visit also ends with a video outlining some of the brand’s visions for future everyday technologies in 10, 20 or 30 years. The video is not very convincing unfortunately, especially because the acting of the extras is really bad.

On the other hand, the message has the merit of being clear: Samsung still has a lot of ambition to impose itself in as many technological sectors as possible. This museum is in a way a means of highlighting the company’s history to legitimize the role it intends to play in the future. Some might fear a little propaganda side, but the term would be very exaggerated. However, it is undeniable that the company seeks to build an image to its advantage through this place. Whether or not you agree with the approach, the SIM is really interesting to visit.

NB. Our journalist Omar Belkaab was present in Seoul and Suwon in South Korea as part of a press trip organized by Samsung from July 23 to 28, 2023.

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