Samsung’s mobile chief has made it official: We’re a little over a month away from meeting Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 8. No, we don’t have the official invitation yet, but earlier this week DJ Koh, who heads the mobile division, told a room full of journalists in Taiwan that Samsung will unveil the Note 8 in “late August” (we still don’t have a date), for sale dates in September and October, depending on where you live.
This is a huge admission, and not the first one from Koh, who also told CNET in January that Samsung would stick with the Note 8 even after two Note 7 battery fires prompted Samsung to yank the Note 7 entirely. And it’s exactly because of the Note 7’s tumult and terror that this upcoming Note 8 will be more important than any other Note ever made.
Hang on, what’s the Galaxy Note again?
The Note line is Samsung’s flagship iphone battery replacement for power users.
It comes with a digital pen (or stylus, if you’d rather) called the S Pen.
It’s been the most advanced, and most expensive, phone that Samsung sells each year.
We expect it to be just a hair bigger than Galaxy S8 Plus ($709.00 at Amazon Marketplace), with a 6.3-inch screen. Yeah, big.
OK, thanks. Why’s it such a big deal?
1. It’ll be the real test of the Note family’s post-Note 7 recovery, even more so than the Galaxy S8 ($728.83 at Amazon Marketplace), battery of which is so far incident-free.
2. Samsung can course-correct on the S8’s biggest problem: the placement of the fingerprint reader on the back of the phone, right next to the camera lens. (Hello, awkward.)
That fingerprint scanner, which is used for unlocking the phone and waving through Samsung Pay and Android Pay, could now go under the glass as rumors suggest.
Or, if Samsung can’t get the puzzle pieces together, the center of the phone’s back is another option. That location works well on the Google Pixel, LG G6 ($469.99 at Amazon.com) and Huawei P10 ($629.00 at Amazon Marketplace).
Since we’re talking about design rumors, Samsung is also expected to jump on the dual-camera trend that the S8 passed up.
3. Each year, the Note and iPhone duke it out for preholiday sales. But this year, Apple is expected to pull out all the stops for its 10th-anniversary iPhone, possibly called the iPhone 8. Competition will likely be fiercer than ever before if the iPhone 8 throws in a killer feature surprise.
Personally, I always find a Note release exciting, as much for the technology as the phone’s history in kicking off the big-screen craze. Back when the first Galaxy Note phone arrived in 2012, the “phablet” (half phone, half tablet) had a 5.3-inch screen and was considered a monster of a device that was too unwieldy to really use (yes, I said this too). But the trend caught on, and here we are anticipating the eighth iteration of a large-screen phone-plus-digital-stylus.
What we ‘know’ about the Note 8:
The Bixby Voice app will work straight out of the box
Samsung hasn’t confirmed this, but it has said that its Bixby Voice app is a priority on Samsung phones and other devices, too. Now that Samsung’s voice app — and its challenge to Apple’s Siri — is available on all Galaxy S8 phones, it’s almost a given that the Note 8 will have a physical Bixby button of its own.
The electronics giant is hoping to turn Bixby into a full-blown ecosystem robust enough to rival the rest of the field: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri, and yes, you too, Microsoft Cortana.
I strongly assume that the Note 8 will feature a standalone Bixby button like the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. Unlike those two iphone digitizer , Bixby Voice should be developed enough to launch along with the phone.