Samsung: Ringtones that you hear, and ones that you don’t

Do you remember the simple ringtones of early cell phones? They all sounded just like one another and if a phone would ring, everyone in the room checked his/her phone. Ringtones sounded like alarms and lacked personality. After a number of recent advancements, now you can express your personality with much more sophisticated ringtones which show your mood, taste in music, or just plain trendiness.

From Single-Sound Ringtones to Live Ringtones

As the personalization of ringtones came about, the monotone sounds gave way to 4-poly, 16-poly, 40-poly, and 60-poly, and eventually to 128-poly enhancing the auditory experience at every level. Poly refers to the “number of simultaneous sounds” which is the number of sounds that can be made at the same time. It means how many parts it can play at once. You can think of 4-poly as a four-voice ensemble, and 64-poly as 64-voice ensemble. Surprisingly, 128-poly is meaningless now, as ringtones have evolved towards original live sound and become more musical and modernized. The result is live ringtones.

If you listen to the ringtones yourself, you will be able to feel the history of changes and development.


Back to basics leads to an unexpected result

Among the many ringtones featured on Samsung phones, the most well-known tune is called ‘Over the horizon’. ‘Over the horizon’ was introduced as an orchestral ringtone for Galaxy S III and is being lauded by music lovers. This piece was introduced in its POP version since the Galaxy series, and many users agree that it’s the best ringtone to hear again and again. Let’s take a look at how this masterpiece came to life.

One of the quotes by the artist, scientist, and thinker from the Renaissance, Leonardo Da Vinci, states that ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.’When running into obstacles in developing a signature ringtone for Galaxy S III, our Sound UX team took the advice of their seniors: “Go back to the basics! Remember your original resolution!” Sure enough, the team said that from the ‘basics’,they found amazing results that they weren’t prepared for.

The core melody of ‘Over the horizon’ is just two bars. And this two-bar melody was inspired by the very electronic ringtones we wanted to forget. You know, the blips and beeps. The usual toneless, bland-sounding electronic ringtones had melodies hidden in them!

‘Over the horizon’ was born by finding that well-hidden melody in electronic ringtones and turning it into a single melody, and extracting a melody from that. The result is the core melody – easily memorable, favorable, and suitable for the image of global Samsung phones.‘Over the horizon’ was born.

After all that buildup, I bet you want to hear the melody, right? Well, it has certainly evolved, so let’s listen to the origin of the ringtone all the way through to the orchestral version.

There’s music in any sound

We all have had that mortifying experience where a loud ringtone suddenly interrupts the office, with everyone turning to stare. The evolution of ringtones in Samsung phones did not stop at developing just vivid live musical ringtones. The sound designers stretched their thinking to consider embarrassing situations our phones can sometimes put us in.

Did you know that there are “etiquette ringtones” for certain times and places where you wouldn’t want to disturb the people around you? Etiquette ringtones are said to have begun from an idea of Executive Vice-President Won-Pyo Hong of the Product Strategy Team. These witty ringtones include such creative ideas as the sound of typing (to use in an office), the sound of glasses clinking (to use in a restaurant), and the sound of turning a page of a book (to use in a library, if you didn’t have it on vibrate already). This way you can excuse yourself to take an important call without rudely interrupting those around you with embarrassingly loud music.

So, whether the next ringtone you hear sounds like a live band playing right in your pocket, or whether you barely notice it at all, take a moment to think about all the development that went into making your life a little more pleasant. It might make you feel better to know that there are people out there pouring their passion to bring you that little bit of joy.


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