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Samsung DeX and the Galaxy Tab S4: Reshaping the Tablet Experience

I was recently talking with some IT executives about how mobile computing is evolving and I had one of those “Eureka!” moments.

One of the interesting things about discussing mobile computing technology is that people always want to put things in a category: this is a tablet, that’s a laptop, here’s a thin client. But what matters isn’t just the shape of the product — it’s about what you can do with the device, and the experiences when you transition smoothly between different tasks. Does this device enable you to do what you need to do? Is it ready for what you’re going to demand of it?

The Galaxy Tab S4 is a perfect example of a device that breaks down categorical barriers to help you do more.

Taking the Desktop on the Road

If you start by just looking at the Galaxy Tab S4, you might say “OK, that’s a tablet.” We know what a tablet is: they’re a sleek touchscreen that’s great for content consumption. But that doesn’t give credit to another great technology Samsung built into the Tab S4: Samsung DeX.

If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know DeX is our mobile-powered computing platform that allows you to convert your smartphone into a complete desktop experience. It lets you to not just use your phone as a phone, but also as a desktop PC by connecting it to a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

The Tab S4 is our first tablet to feature Samsung DeX and it really extends the value proposition even further. Yes, you can use the Tab S4 as a tablet, and you can work in DeX mode by connecting it to a monitor, keyboard and mouse. But you can also use DeX by connecting it into the optional book cover keyboard and turn it into a powerful laptop-like solution. That’s three different ways to work with the same device.

And that’s where my moment of clarity occurred: focus on what users really need, instead of stuffing more fun — but ultimately, not very useful — gimmicks into a tablet. In other words, make it more than just a tablet — make it an awesome, robust productivity tool that redefines what the category can do.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re downplaying the utility of Galaxy Tab S4 as a tablet, as that’s a need many professionals rely on — especially those who are mobile and spend a lot of time face-to-face with others. Retail managers, medical professionals, field operatives and many others will find that the Galaxy Tab S4 is a powerful tablet solution that meets — and exceeds — their needs. You can use the Galaxy Tab S4 with the touch interface or the included S Pen and it’s simply a great tablet as-is.

Going Mobile-Only With DeX

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But what happens when you take the Tab S4 to a coffee shop, or on the road and set up in a hotel room to get some work done? Well, with the Galaxy Tab S4, you can turn DeX on whenever you want.

It’s the same tablet with the same applications, but the DeX platform activates when the keyboard is attached. Now the Galaxy Tab S4 starts to behave more like a laptop, with functionality allowing multiple applications to be opened at once and resizable windows, just like a PC. The difference is that you’re still running Android apps, and have all the security and flexibility of Samsung Knox, our top-rated security and device management platform, built into the device from the chip up and running constantly.

Bringing the Tablet Into the Office

But wait… there’s more! Let’s take that Galaxy Tab S4 back into the office and sit down at a desk. What happens?

In my experience, having to put your tablet away and start using a desktop computer is incredibly disruptive to your workflow — having to log in to networks and sites, transfer files, reopen applications. That’s why we have the DeX multiport adapter and other accessories that let you easily connect the Galaxy Tab S4 to a desktop monitor, keyboard and mouse, and even an Ethernet jack if that’s your sort of thing. Sit down at your desk, connect the adapter, and the DeX platform springs into action again.

This isn’t just a super-enlarged version of your tablet — it’s the familiar, intuitive and optimized desktop experience that you’d expect if a Windows PC were attached to that monitor. And with DeX, you can keep using the Galaxy Tab S4 just as productively as if it were a standard desktop computer. Better, in fact, because everything you’ve been doing all day long is still there and ready to go.

Finally, DeX doesn’t leave that tablet sitting there as a useless blank screen, doing nothing but driving the display and mouse. The tablet can continue to be used as a second screen, or as an interface for the desktop experience. Tools like Adobe Photoshop Sketch suddenly have a digitizer tablet available for editing, utilizing the included S Pen. It’s not just creative types who can take advantage of the tablet’s display, either: you can use it to take notes while watching a video conference on the larger screen, as a touchpad replacing the mouse or keyboard, or as a secondary screen running smaller apps like your office messaging service in the background.

Look, I’m not an artist. But I do create more than my fair share of presentations. With the Galaxy Tab S4 on my desk, I can quickly edit an image and drop it into a presentation in a way that I never could with my old PC — and then simply bring the Galaxy Tab S4 with me to deliver the presentation, without having to navigate various platforms and file transfers along the way.

You can file the Galaxy Tab S4 under whichever device category you want. As for me, I’m calling it a productivity powerhouse.

Check out the full lineup of Samsung Galaxy tablets for business.

Posts By

Jonathan Wong

Jonathan Wong is director of product marketing at Samsung, and is passionate about technology that drives productivity for the mobile workforce. He has been involved in launching numerous hardware and software solutions, including the industry-leading Samsung Knox mobile security platform and the Samsung DeX mobile desktop solution. Based in NYC, he enjoys rocking out on the guitar whenever he gets the chance.

View more posts by Jonathan Wong