At its Note 9 announcement today, Samsung boasted the new phablet is a “YouTube Signature Device” for 2019. If you haven’t heard of that certification before, that’s because it’s a brand-new program YouTube just launched. The YouTube Device Report recommends the best smartphones, which it calls “signature devices,” for watching YouTube. These phones feature the ability to watch 360-degree footage, support for high dynamic range, high frame rate, 4K decoding, next-generation codecs, and reliable DRM performance. Google says its team evaluates each device and works with manufacturers to fix video playback performance and capability issues.
The report launches with 18 devices, with the aforementioned Note 9 alongside other popular smartphones like the Pixel 2 XL, the OnePlus 6, and the HTC U12 Plus. Notably, none of the devices is an iPhone, which might make you feel sad (or understandably neutral since YouTube, Google, and Android are all part of the same company anyway). Apple also doesn’t support the VP9 video codec, which Google developed, which is why Safari users don’t have the option to watch footage in 4K.
I can’t imagine anyone navigating to this webpage to factor in their next phone purchasing decision, but this certification of sorts will definitely be used in marketing materials everywhere.
Update 8/9, 1:58 PM ET: Updated to include details on the VP9 codec.