Samsung’s latest Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus flagship smartphones are receiving a far better response from consumers than most analysts had anticipated. Meanwhile, Samsung has already started working on the successor to last year’s ill-fated Galaxy Note 7. The upcoming Galaxy Note 8 has to be great in every aspect to rebuild the credibility of the Note brand.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8
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Kuo raises Galaxy S8 sales forecast

Noted KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo talks about the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 in his latest reports. Interestingly, Kuo is the same analyst who said last month that the S8 wouldn’t sell better than Galaxy S7 because it would lack “attractive selling points.” But now Kuo has significantly raised his shipping estimates for Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

During the pre-order period, Samsung received a whopping one million orders in its home country alone. Ming-Chi Kuo said the phone’s Infinite display is the primary reason behind the massive consumer demand. The full-screen display and bezel-less design offset other concerns such as the lack of a dual-camera and the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner.

KGI Securities has increased its Galaxy S8 shipment estimates from 40-45 million units to 50-55 million units for this year. It’s a positive signal for Apple’s upcoming iPhone 8, which is also rumored to have a Galaxy S8-like bezel-less OLED display. Apple is reportedly buying more than 70 million OLED display units from Samsung Display this year.

Galaxy Note 8 to be Samsung’s first phone with dual camera

Ming-Chi Kuo told investors that the Galaxy Note 8 would be Samsung’s first smartphone to feature a dual-camera setup. It will be the “most important upgrade” in Samsung’s upcoming phablet. The analyst even claims that the Galaxy Note 8 dual camera will be far superior to the one on the iPhone 7 Plus. It will likely match the iPhone 8 dual-camera system.

The dual camera has been one of the biggest highlights of the iPhone 7 Plus. It offers features like Portrait mode that allows users to shoot photos with a blurred background. KGI Securities says the Galaxy Note 8 dual camera system would include 12-megapixel wide-angle CIS with dual photodiode (2PD), 13-megapixel telephoto CIS, dual OIS, dual 6P lenses, and 3x optical zoom.

Kuo noted that the Galaxy Note 8 would feature a 6.4-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED display. Just like the Galaxy S8, its screen will be curved on sides. The phablet is said to be powered by Qualcomm’s MSM8998 or Exynos 8895 chipset depending on the region. KGI Securities said the fingerprint scanner would be mounted on the rear panel.

Samsung was reportedly working with Synaptics to embed the latter’s optical fingerprint sensor into the Galaxy S8 display. However, Samsung had to drop the feature and relocate the fingerprint scanner to the back panel because of implementation issues. If the Korean company can fix the issue before the Note 8 release, the fingerprint sensor could sit under the display. Ming-Chi Kuo told investors that the technology was still immature, so the fingerprint reader would be placed into the Galaxy Note 8’s rear casing.

Galaxy S8 almost had a dual camera setup

Just a few days ago, Russian tipster Eldar Murtazin leaked images of a Galaxy S8 Plus prototype with a dual camera system. The two cameras are placed vertically on the prototype. It indicates that Samsung was seriously considering the dual camera system for the Galaxy S8 phones. The feature was probably dropped at the last moment.

Samsung had also teased the dual-camera system in a promotional piece for the Exynos 8895 processor. A report claimed last month that the feature was dropped from the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus because of “immature” design and high cost. The feature is now expected to ship with the Galaxy Note 8.

Galaxy Note 8 features and specs

Samsung’s mobile business chief DJ Koh has confirmed to the media that the Note 8 would be “better, safer, and very innovative” smartphone. It is said to feature 6GB RAM, an S Pen stylus, iris scanner, a USB Type-C port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Note 8 would also get rid of the physical home button, just like the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

You can expect Samsung’s in-house AI assistant Bixby to come pre-installed on the Galaxy Note 8. Samsung introduced Bixby with the Galaxy S8, but the voice assistant is almost useless at this point. Samsung said a few days ago that Bixby’s most important feature, Bixby Voice, will not be available at launch in the US. It would be rolled out sometime later this spring. However, the AI assistant is expected to receive a major update in the coming months to compete with the Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri.

Galaxy Note 8 to come in Q4?

Before the Galaxy Note 8, Samsung is rumored to launch a new device with foldable display called Galaxy X. The Korean company has been working on a foldable screen for years. A Chinese tipster recently claimed that Galaxy X would arrive in the third quarter while Note 8 would release in Q4. However, Galaxy X would be a niche device produced only in limited quantities. If it receives a good response, Samsung may scale up production and launch it more widely in 2018.