Samsung’s 2016 was supposed to be a triumphant year in which the company could deliver not one but two devices that it believed could trump a rather modest iPhone 7 upgrade.But then the bottom fell out.
Last summer, when Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note 7, the device was initially viewed as a must-have for those seeking the ultimate Android handset. But soon after its launch, consumers reported trouble with the Galaxy Note 7 overheating, and in some cases, catching fire and exploding.
Samsung eventually discontinued the Galaxy Note 7 and recalled all of its devices.The trouble caused many to wonder what the future might hold for Samsung’s Galaxy Note line. After all, which such a damaging chain of events, would it make more sense for Samsung to discontinue the brand altogether?
Now Samsung has set on a new path. According to Business Korea, the company will be bringing the Note 8 to market, and it should it shelves later this year. But what might the Galaxy Note 8 offer?Read on for the latest rumors surrounding Samsung’s next flagship handset.
When Is the Galaxy Note 8’s Release Date?
In an interview with CNET in January, Samsung mobile chief D.J. Koh said that Samsung will deliver a Galaxy Note 8 sometime this year.
While Koh didn’t offer a date or timeframe on when the Galaxy Note 8 might find its way to store shelves, Samsung has traditionally kept a summer cadence to the Galaxy Note launches. The move is in part a response to the iPhone, which typically launches its flagship phone in the early fall.
Given the the iPhone 8 is expected to be announced in September, It’s possible that Samsung will take the same tack this year.
What Design Might the Galaxy Note 8 Offer?
Some reports are suggesting that Samsung will take cues from its Galaxy S8 and deliver a curved “Infinity Screen” with the Galaxy Note 8 that nearly eliminates the left and right bezels.
There’s also been talk on Android Headlines and elsewhere of Samsung planning to follow the Galaxy S8 and remove the physical home button in the Galaxy Note 8, which a Twitter user named Ice Universe said is internally codenamed “Baikal.” That would give Samsung more room to deliver a big-screen device, but it invites questions over exactly where the handset’s fingerprint sensor might go.
Samsung made the oft-criticized decision to place the Galaxy S8’s fingerprint sensor directly next to the handset’s rear-facing camera. Those who have used the smartphone say the fingerprint reader can be difficult to reach and could cause some smudging to the rear-facing lens. Hopefully, Samsung learns its lesson and moves the sensor to the center of the rear plate on the Galaxy Note 8.
There’s always a chance that Samsung could try to deliver a virtual fingerprint sensor baked into the smartphone’s screen, though the company is rumored to have had trouble with that feature. A report from Korea’s Investor said that the handset might come with a pressure-sensitive screen in a nod to Apple’s 3D Touch in the iPhone 7.
Given that the Galaxy S8 comes with dust and water resistance, it’s likely that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 offers water- and dust-protection when it launches later this year.
What’s Up With the Screen?
Samsung’s Galaxy Note screens haven’t prompted many surprises over the years: since the Galaxy Note 3, the handset has shipped with a 5.7-inch display.
However, there’s a good chance that Samsung could buck that trend this year.
The Galaxy S8 has a 6.2-inch Super AMOLED screen, making it notably larger than the company’s Galaxy Note 7 screen. Samsung was able to boost the display’s size by reducing the size of its bezels and it now comes with a narrower but wider 18.5:9 aspect ratio instead of a standard 16:9.
Since the Galaxy Note line requires a larger screen that will let you tap around the display with the S Pen stylus, there’s a good chance that the Galaxy Note 8 will deliver a 6.2-inch screen or larger this year. A very brief leak on Slash Leaks suggests the panel could be 6.4 inches.
Beyond that, look for the screen to come with 4K resolution, according to a rumor from SamMobile. And, of course, it’ll work with the company’s S Pen stylus.
What Are the Rumored Specs?
Samsung dropped some hints about future flagship handsets when it unveiled the Galaxy S8 in March.
For one, you can expect to find the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor in the Galaxy Note 8, according to a recent BGR report. It’s the highest-end processor on the market right now, so such a move would make sense.
Samsung’s decision to include 4GB of RAM in the U.S. Galaxy S8 model has been criticized by some. Look for the company to make up for that and deliver at least 6GB of onboard memory in the Galaxy Note 8, according to PhoneArena.
Beyond that, you can probably expect at least 64GB of storage, which is the minimum for the Galaxy S8. One leak says to expect up to 256GB.
Will a Big Camera Update Be Next?
Samsung hasn’t always followed the crowd when it comes to cameras. In the Galaxy S8, for instance, the company nixed pressure to match Apple with a dual-lens design and instead opted for a dual-pixel feature that has been generally well-received in previous models.
Still, there is some speculation that Samsung could eventually offer a dual-lens camera, and it’s possible the company will do just that with the Galaxy Note 8. A Korean patent cited by ValueWalk points to Samsung working on a dual-camera system, which would be used for collecting more photons and thus improving low-light performance. In addition, the site says “it is also suggested that the dual cameras will assist with 3D mapping and distance measurements.
Will the Battery Be OK?
The Galaxy Note 8’s battery will undoubtedly be on most folks’ minds when the handset is unveiled later this year.
For its part, Samsung has said that it’s instituted a new battery safety policy, and the company believes it now has some of the world’s most reliable lithium-ion batteries. Look for Samsung to go out of its way to stress that point when the Galaxy Note 8 is unveiled. There’s also a chance, according to a SamMobile report, that Samsung will source its Galaxy Note 8 batteries from LG.
If you can get past the safety concerns, it’s possible Samsung could bundle a battery with a capacity meeting or exceeding 3,500mAh — the same you’d find in the Galaxy S8 . The Note 7 also had a 3,500 mAh battery.
Any Special Features to Know About?
This being a Galaxy Note handset, you can expect to find the S Pen stylus supported in the handset. Look for it to come bundled with the device and if a TechRadar report is true, deliver a bit more accuracy and additional reliability to make writing on the screen a bit more appealing. The pen was most recently pictured in a report at Android Headlines, suggesting an update is coming.
Perhaps the biggest addition, however, would be Bixby, Samsung’s virtual personal assistant that’s launching alongside the Galaxy S8. And according to a Business Korea report, it’s coming to the Galaxy Note 8.
With Bixby in tow, you’ll be able to make reminders and calendar events, of course, but it’ll also allow you to aim your camera at landmarks and get relevant information. Bixby can also translate real-world text on the fly and send photos to friends or family using just your voice.
It’s likely that Samsung will add a Bixby button to the side of the Galaxy Note 8 like it did with the Galaxy S8 to activate the service.
On the security side, the Galaxy S8 is expected to deliver a fingerprint sensor, of course, but leaked specs obtained by ValueWalk hint at the possibility of the handset featuring an iris scanner. The Note 7 was first with this feature before being added to the Galaxy S8.
Last but not least, the Galaxy Note 8 will likely be compatible with the latest version of the Gear VR virtual reality headset, which offers a new touch controller.