Samsung phones will soon come with automatic spam call blocking. The feature, which is part of Samsung Smart Call, will debut on the Galaxy Note20 and will roll out to all new devices released after 2020.
The chaebol has made a deal with Seattle-based caller ID startup Hiya, licensing the firm's tech for five years.
Hiya is not the only kid on this particular block, and competes with other smart caller ID outfits like WhosCall and TrueCaller in what's an undeniably crowded market. Where they differ is largely in implementation. TrueCaller, for example, relies on crowdsourced reports from its millions of users, whereas Hiya depends on automated processes to identify suspect rings.
Call blocking will appear on Samsung's older devices capable of receiving the Android 11-based OneUI 2.5 software update. This is a fairly expansive list, and includes every flagship device released after the Galaxy S9 and Note 9 series, including Samsung's various folding phones. To activate the setting, users need to reach into their device settings and toggle a switch.
Mobile manufacturers often rely on software to differentiate their products, which to the naked eye, consist almost entirely of uniform glass rectangles. Oppo, for example, shipped the Reno4 Pro 5G with a white noise app designed to aid concentration.
This feature is another example of that trend. And to Samsung's credit, it's not exactly a white elephant. It will prove welcome to many, particularly those frustrated with robocalls trying to sell cheap boiler replacements and the services of accident lawyers. But, in a twist of tragedy, it arrives too late to deal with PPI spam. ®