While the "Unpacked 2013 Episode 2" presentation was being delivered from Berlin, Samsung made sure to reach potential customers across the world by setting up a stage and special "Experience Center" in the middle of Times Square Wednesday afternoon. AppleInsider was on-hand to see the event, and get a first look at the Note 3 and Gear.
Passersby were encouraged to watch the event by a number of Samsung promoters, who passed out white and blue "Galaxy" branded hats as a gift to those who would stay.
Those who did stick around saw a performance from Swedish duo Icona Pop, who performed their hit single "I Love It." Soon after, a live stream of the Samsung Galaxy keynote from Germany began on the big screen.
Samsung's massive setup included a stage with a screen for the live stream, a sound mixing area, and a mysterious platform concealed by white sheets. Samsung promoters told passersby to wait around for a "big surprise" at the end of the presentation, after which they would be able to get their hands on the South Korean company's latest devices.
A number of onlookers took Samsung up on this offer, and by the time the keynote was nearing its end, dozens of people wearing blue and white Samsung hats were waiting in line. Once the presentation concluded, Samsung representatives pulled the white sheets away to reveal a layout much like Apple's own retail stores, with a number of tables showcasing the new Galaxy Note 3 "phablet" and Galaxy Gear smart watch.
Visitors were allowed into the Samsung "Experience Center," which was raised up on a platform in the middle of Times Square, in small groups. Each group was then given a total of five minutes to play with both the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear. Absent from Wednesday's event was the latest Galaxy Tab 10.1, which Samsung also announced on Wednesday.
At each table were numerous Notes and Gears, paired together side by side. A Samsung employee stood near each of them, showing off new features and capabilities of the gear, such as the functionality of the updated S-Pen or connectivity of the Gear watch.
Samsung's media blitz came less than a week before Apple is set to hold its own keynote presentation next Tuesday, at which the company is expected to unveil two new iPhone models. While Samsung pulled out all the stops, Apple is also planning more hype than usual, and will even hold a separate event on Sept. 11 in China for local media.
More pictures of the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear, taken at Wednesday's event in New York, are included below.