How Samsung's DeX could transform workplace productivity

Samsung's Jonathan Wong explains how your mobile phone could power a PC-like productivity experience.

How Samsung's DeX could transform workplace productivity Samsung's Jonathan Wong explains how your mobile phone could power a PC-like productivity experience.

Samsung's Jonathan Wong sat down with TechRepublic's Dan Patterson and explained how DeX uses a mobile phone to mimic PC productivity. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.

Dan Patterson: The Note 9 is now out, and one of the most compelling features, actually one of the most compelling features for a long time, at least for me personally, has nothing to do with the Note 9, but is deeply integrated, and that is the new DeX.

DeX, we have seen kind of walk from having the hockey puck where I'd dock my phone to a little slab where I slid my phone in. Those things are fine and great, but they're not very portable. DeX, now, is pretty portable. At least, it's as portable as your HDMI cable. Help us understand, especially for the B2B crowd; if you're traveling for business, help us understand the iterations of DeX, and where we are now.

SEE: Samsung Galaxy Note 9: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

Jon Wong: Sure, absolutely. First and foremost, Samsung DeX is our PC-like experience, powered entirely by your Galaxy smartphone. With the Note 9, it's built right in, and you can extend that computing power to the bigger screen. We've made it easier, as you mentioned, to access DeX, so all you really need is a single HDMI adapter, just like the one you see here. Plug it directly into your Note9, and DeX launches.

We made it even more streamlined and more portable and accessible to access DeX, so we're really excited to make that easier for the highly mobile users that are always working to and from many different places.

Patterson: That is kind of my work life. The amount of times I've lugged a laptop in my backpack and said, "I wish I didn't have to take this through security. I wish I didn't have to set this up, and do weird configurations in whatever weird hotel room I'm at ... " that has long been a wish.

Now we see DeX on the big screen, literally right here. This looks like we're looking at a desktop workstation. It looks pretty normal, except this is powered by the phone in your head, which is the Note 9.

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Wong: Absolutely.

Patterson: And it looks and feels like a workstation. Tell me how I'm getting more work done with the phone in my pocket.

Wong: Yeah, absolutely. As you mentioned, all I have right here is the Galaxy Note 9. Plug it in, via HDMI adapter, to the bigger screen, and got this lovely desktop home screen. [You] actually can use the phone as the touchpad to navigate the experience. What's really great, is the use-case, where you're a highly mobile worker, and you, let's say, work at a home office, but also go into a corporate office, during different parts of the day.

You'd be able to just know you have to bring your Galaxy Note 9, which fits in your pocket. You don't have to lug a bag with your laptop and a bunch of your other cables that you might need, and just bring your phone that's with you. Go, connect right in, stay productive with your documents. Do a quick edit to a PowerPoint or a Word document, and then be able to head to the meeting and then head back home. All that kind of physical and mental baggage is literally lifted off your shoulders because you have Samsung DeX on the Note 9.

Patterson: So, definitely mental baggage, and I want to only just watch Netflix when I'm traveling for work. I know that we can do that with the phone, but let's stay in work mode. Show me a productivity app.

Wong: Sure.

Patterson: Can you open up something I might use in my typical workday?

Wong: Yeah, absolutely. I think a great example is Microsoft PowerPoint. We support, and have DeX-optimized apps for Microsoft Office, whether it's Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. I'll actually show you here what PowerPoint looks like in DeX, actually using another cool feature of the Note 9, which is our S-Pen remote control feature.

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Patterson: With the remote control and PowerPoint, I can use the pen that's inside the device, and control a presentation, control a deck that looks like this?

Wong: Absolutely. All I have to do right here is take out my S-Pen, and now with Bluetooth low-energy. I can actually use it as a remote control. Great example is, with this PowerPoint, I can just click the button and go through my slides. Obviously, the great use-case here is this Note 9 device can be on a table, connected into a larger display. I could be working the room, going around to the audience, engaging with the audience, and, from up to 30-feet away, be able to control the presentation. One click to go forward, double-click to go back, so you get that full control capability.

Patterson: It would be awesome if I got to go to the Matterhorn for work. Take note, Jason. However, often I have to spend a lot more time inside of productivity apps. I have to send and receive emails. I have to type. How does it handle other Microsoft Office applications?

Wong: Oh, they all run smoothly, and they're all DeX-optimized. We've been working with Microsoft to make sure that their Word, Excel, and PowerPoint applications actually work in this bigger screen view with keyboard mouse.

Patterson: Can you power up Excel or Word or something?

Wong: Sure, I'll just pull them up here. I have PowerPoint open already. You have Word right here. You have Excel right here. What's great is, what you're seeing are multiple resizable windows. That's what's really awesome about DeX, it's really built for multitasking. I have multiple windows. They're movable. They're even resizable. I can even go full screen, so if I wanted to go full screen here, just click here, get the full screen real-estate.

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It's really about productivity, at the end of the day. Obviously, you can be very productive just from your mobile and your Note 9. When you're back in a desktop environment, you want super-productivity. You want to be able to not just consume content and edit. You want to be able to create big presentations, Word documents, multitask, browsing the web, watching videos, all at the same time. That's what we're doing with DeX.

Patterson: All right, so what are the next steps? As we mentioned earlier, we had the hockey puck, we had the little slab. Now we have the HDMI. Where's DeX going in the future?

Wong: One of the key things we also wanted to evolve with the Note 9, in addition to making it easier to connect, was being able to even take multitasking to the next level. A great example of that evolution is I was using it as a touchpad to interact with the larger screen here. I can actually use the Note 9 screen completely as well, at the same time. Basically, you can use your phone as a phone while you're using DeX on the big screen.

A great example is, maybe I'll have a video up and running here, and I want to be able to send a text message from my phone or even use the S-Pen and take a note. What we're really seeing, is those use-cases or that evolution where you're interacting with the big screen but also being able to fully utilize your phone screen from a mobile perspective. Having both at the same time, we think is a really great evolution and experience we're delivering.

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Going forward, I think we really treat DeX, as what I call a mobile-powered computing platform. We don't believe it's just what you mentioned, like the DeX station or a hockey puck or the DeX pad or even the HDMI adapter. It's really what's built-in to many of our mobile devices since the Galaxy S8 and now the latest with the Note 9. It's the device. It's the software. It's the apps. It's the data. It's everything that's already built into the phone, and we're just bringing that computing experience to bigger screens and different environments.

That's where we're really excited, because that can apply to a lot of different areas and verticals, whether that's what I mentioned, where you're just a highly mobile salesperson or worker who needs a hot desk or to work at a shared workspace, or whether it's even specific verticals, like public safety, where a law enforcement agent wants to be able to have DeX in their vehicle. Or in finance, if you look at what's happening in a lot of branches is how can clients better engage or how can the branch manager or the banker better engage with clients and customers coming in. Having a solution that's highly mobile, like DeX, where they can engage with the customer, but then also go back to their desk and have that productivity for their workstation is very exciting.

For us, it's, again, a platform, a computing platform, where we're going to see it kind of evolve within these different verticals.

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