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Could Samsung smart TVs be the answer DeX needs?

Opinion
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Last updated: November 23rd, 2022 at 21:31 UTC+01:00

Over the past half a year, I've become an avid Samsung DeX user. To my surprise, considering some of the DeX doomsayers that have popped up online over the years, Samsung continues to improve the platform and has done so with every One UI update. One UI 5.0 made DeX faster on my Galaxy S22 and added a few cool extra features, such as a Finder taskbar shortcut and a pop-up calendar.

But as a fan, I can't help but wonder what could make DeX more popular than it is today. It is available on many Galaxy smartphone models, but could the answer lie elsewhere, in another type of device? Could Samsung DeX benefit from exposure through Samsung smart TVs and vice versa? I'm not referring to wireless Samsung DeX, which works with pretty much every Samsung smart TV, but rather, built-in DeX that wouldn't require a connection to a Galaxy smartphone or tablet.

How would Samsung smart TVs and DeX benefit from this alliance?

In purely theoretical terms, bringing Samsung DeX to TVs as an out-of-the-box built-in feature might have the same effects Gaming Hub appears to have had on cloud gaming. I.e., this alliance would increase the exposure of DeX to millions of Samsung TV users that may not use Galaxy smartphones or tablets with built-in DeX.

Pushing DeX into the spotlight for millions more Samsung customers might help bring DeX to the level of popularity it needs to gain more features and better optimization faster than ever. And with DeX becoming more popular, the company could even consider manufacturing cheap, stand-alone, so-called “DeX boxes” or mini PCs running DeX. Think of it as a sort of Raspberry Pi that runs DeX natively.

Conversely, because DeX requires more powerful hardware than Tizen TVs, smart TVs with built-in DeX would improve the Samsung Tizen TV experience through better UI performance. A sometimes-unresponsive UI is one of the downsides of Tizen, and better hardware could address that while potentially opening up new possibilities for TV image processing and SmartThings.

It sounds like a win-win situation. And in a perfect world, this alliance could have already happened. But there is one downside that makes me wonder if native Samsung DeX on TVs is realistically feasible or just a pipe dream.

Native Samsung DeX would likely bring smart TV prices up a notch

From my experience, for a usable Samsung DeX experience on Galaxy devices, the platform requires at least an upper-mid-range chipset and 4GB of RAM. Add to that a bit of storage, and the cost of a Samsung smart TV with built-in DeX would probably increase by anywhere between $50-$100 — on a rough estimate, albeit Samsung might be able to work around this price increase and subsidize to a degree.

On one hand, the better hardware required for DeX would also work favorably for the TV experience, as it should help Tizen UI's performance. On the other hand, if the inclusion of DeX would lead to a price increase for smart TVs, some prospective buyers might take issue with that.

Perhaps Samsung could strike a balance by including native DeX only for more expensive smart TV models. That way, the company could avoid a noticeable price increase while offering more value to its customers and pushing DeX more under the spotlight. And perhaps the company could gradually bring DeX to cheaper TVs over time as hardware requirements become easier to reach for lower prices. I don't pretend to have the right answer to this cost-related problem, but perhaps the best solution is within Samsung's grasp.

What are your thoughts on (some) Samsung smart TVs shipping with native DeX? Do you think this alliance could help the DeX platform in the long run and bring it to a new standard and level of popularity? Would the inclusion of DeX help TV sales or hurt them? Would the benefits of better hardware inside Samsung smart TVs offset the potential bump in prices? Share your thoughts below.

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