[THE INVESTOR] Editor’s note: Samsung Electronics’ upcoming Galaxy Note 8 will likely be a critical test bed for the tech giant, which is struggling to restore the faith of consumers after the shameful recall of Note 7 in 2016.
On July 14, Samsung mobile division chief Koh Dong-jin confirmed that the Note 8 would be unveiled in late-August, and hit shelves in September in many countries including the US, UK and Korea.
The Investor sifted through some of the more reliable sources to check what customers can expect from the next-generation Note 8.
Largest display ever
Despite initial complaints about the unusually big display size, the Korean giant packs bigger and better displays in its Note models every year.
For the upcoming Note 8, the tech firm is expected to push the limits by deploying a whopping 6.3-inch Super AMOLED display, which is 0.1 inch larger than the Galaxy S8 Plus, and 0.6 inch larger than its predecessor.
“Like the S8 and S8 Plus, the Note 8’s screen with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio will likely be one of the appealing factors that Samsung will promote in the coming weeks,” an industry source said.
In an event to remember, one of the biggest naysayers of the big size panel, Apple, also adopted a larger screen in premium smartphones.
Samsung Electronics CEO Koh Dong-jin
After the unprecedented recall of the Note 7, Samsung has beefed up its quality control process by adopting stricter safety checks in the manufacturing process. So far, there have been no reports of fire or explosions in the S8, S8 Plus and the most recent Note Fan Edition.
To maintain the hard-earned level of safety, Samsung is expected to avoid any drastic changes to the Note 8 battery. However, instead of using the 3,500 mAh battery fitted in the Note 7, the tech giant will likely opt for a 3,300 mAh.
At a press conference in January this year for announcing the results of the inspection on the faulty Note 7 batteries, Samsung CEO Koh pledged that Samsung would make sure the incident is never repeated. It has also hired globally renowned experts in battery materials and battery safety examination. A safe Note 8 will prove whether Samsung can be trusted once again with the Note series.
Dual-lens camera and more
For the first time, Samsung is expected to mount a dual-lens camera on the back of the phone. Samsung has so far been almost the only top-tier smartphone maker that has not deployed a dual-lens camera in flagship smartphones. Even Apple, well known for its long, rigorous tests before adopting new technologies, used a dual-lens camera in the iPhone 7 Plus in 2016.
The rear-facing camera of the Note 8 will feature a 12MP telephoto lens and a 13MP wide-angle lens, placed next to the fingerprint scanner, which was originally located at the bottom of the front panel in preceding Note models.
Aligned at the top of the Note 8’s front screen will be an 8MP camera, an iris scanner, and a proximity sensor. At the bottom, software keys, like those featured in the S8, will replace the home button.
An official from one of the main vendors for Samsung declined to confirm the specifications of the cameras, but hinted that the 13MP rear-facing camera is likely. Main component vendors are said to have delivered supplies of the initial batch of smartphone parts for Note 8.
Samsung will also introduce a more advanced version of its first artificial intelligence assistant Bixby with a fluent command of English. The rollout of the English-speaking Bixby had been delayed for a while due to glitches in the AI system.
The base price of the Note 8 is anticipated to start from US$1,000 for the 64GB model and US$1,100 for the 128GB model.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)