The Freestyle, Samsung Electronics’ all-new portable screen and entertainment device that displays crystal-clear images up to 100 inches in size, is proving a hit in markets around the world including North America, Latin America and South Korea.
The secret behind the popularity of The Freestyle, a device that is especially beloved by younger generations, is that feedback from Millennial and Zoomer-age individuals has been welcomed and incorporated right from The Freestyle’s product planning and early development stages.
In order to hear more about this process, Samsung Newsroom sat down with 4 of the product experts behind the planning and development of The Freestyle: Seungyeong Ian Jeong, who worked on product planning, Sooyeon Chung, who worked on service product management, Jenny Jung, who worked on UX design and Dami Baik, who worked on product launch marketing.
Developing an All-New Device Based on Changing Lifestyle Trends
Ever since the initial planning stages of The Freestyle, Samsung’s product experts have been researching Millennial and Zoomer lifestyle trends and have endeavored to apply them to the product. Millennials and the Zoomers pursue their own unique lifestyles, and are not afraid to speak out and express themselves. They place importance on practicality as well as the vibe and style of the products they choose. By respecting the preferences of such young users, The Freestyle took such changes in preferences into consideration.
The changes in lifestyles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic became the background for product planning as well. People began to spend more time in their own personal spaces, and it became more important to bring entertainment into spaces previously used for relaxing, such as the bedroom. At the same time, outdoor leisure activities, such as camping, have been becoming more common. “The concept of The Freestyle is its frameless portable screen that is ‘with me anywhere,’” explained Jung.
Creating a Unique TV Experience Out of a Unique Platform and a Young Vibe
It is not easy to describe The Freestyle in one word, simply because it is a completely new product with no precedent. Some users will use it as a screen, while some will use it as an interior mood light; others might use it as a digital placard, too. As the very name of the device states, the purpose of the product changes in freestyle along with the lifestyle and the unique style of each user.
We asked the 4 product experts what they think the secret behind the popularity of The Freestyle is, and all of them highlighted the strong synergy between the product experience that can be harnessed in all kinds of ways with the unique Samsung Smart TV platform. “The Freestyle provides all kinds of major OTT apps with built-in streaming services certified by partners so that you’re never behind on the best in content and screen experiences,” elaborated Chung. “Moreover, smartphone mirroring can very easily be undertaken with both Android and iOS mobile devices.”
Actively Reflecting the Interests and Experiences of Younger Generations
Since The Freestyle is a product that is the first of its kind, naturally some hurdles arose during the development stage. “Since it is the first product of its type being developed by Samsung, there was no defined reference for us,” explained Jung. “It wasn’t easy for us to plan the product’s features and to design its experiences from zero.” Whenever doubts arose about the direction of the product, what helped the most was actually the feedback the team could get from the community board for Samsung employees in their 20s and 30s.
At the beginning of the product planning stage, the crux of The Freestyle’s offering was mainly content watching through projection. However, colleagues who are Millennials and Zoomers at Samsung provided their feedback as to how excited they would be to use The Freestyle to create their own type of mood by projecting an image of their choice when not watching content, and this is what led to The Freestyle’s ambient features.
Even the device’s high-quality audio offering came to be following the incorporation of feedback on the community board. “While we were thinking about the sound specification of the device, we paid attention to the opinions being shared about how the sound quality should not be compromised,” noted Jeong.
Going Beyond the Limitations of a Space With Convenient Portability and Usage Options
In order to use this product, small enough to fit into a purse and weighing only 830g, anywhere regardless of place, a convenient usage environment is a must. Unlike other projectors, The Freestyle quickly adjusts its screen’s focus automatically through auto keystone correction, leveling and focusing features. Through the Scale & Move feature, users can adjust the projected screen size and position it without having to physically move the projector around.
In addition, the Freestyle features a convenient functionality that allows users to directly access settings while watching content that doesn’t require them to go through any menu — this is accessed by simply pressing and holding the home button. Moreover, users can control the device through voice recognition, as the product comes with technology to minimize surrounding noise, previously a persistent issue for projectors. Through Far-Field voice assistant support, The Freestyle also lets users play music and engage in virtual assistant features even when the screen is off.
A Versatile Device To Be Used Anytime, Anywhere — On Your Terms
So how do the product experts themselves use The Freestyle? “I enjoy using The Freestyle to listen to music in high-quality sound while projecting my favorite album cover image in the background,” said Jung. “I also enjoy projecting a video of the stars shining brightly onto my bedroom ceiling before I go to bed. When I feel like falling asleep, I can just turn off the device using my voice.”
“My kids really like it when we install The Freestyle on the headboard shelf and watch content projected onto the ceiling while lying in bed together,” added Baik. “Since the device can be used freely in any way you want, it is receiving rave reviews just not from Millennial and Zoomer-age users, but also from users of all ages, including those who are using The Freestyle as a family.”
The most appealing thing about The Freestyle is that it can be used in all kinds of scenarios in daily life thanks to its compact design and convenient usability. “We want to present a user experience that meets users’ diverse preferences and needs anywhere, anytime, by going beyond the limitations of a space,” said Jeong. “Our goal is to establish The Freestyle as a personal, movable, smart screen that can be truly utilized to the fullest.”