The Galaxy Note 8 has been around only for a few weeks, and it has been selling well in most markets. Samsung has already started working on the Note 8 successor, which is about a year away. Rumors about the Galaxy Note 9 are scarce at this point, but the device is expected to have a Note 8-like Infinity Display with a metal and glass design. In a recent interview, Samsung executives confirmed that the Galaxy Note 9 S Pen stylus would get a major upgrade. You can expect the new S Pen to take the smartphone experience to a whole new level.
Here’s what Samsung execs said about the Galaxy Note 9 S Pen
In an interview with Samsung Newsroom, BJ Kang and Cue Kim of the Korean company’s Global Product Planning Group – Mobile Communications, revealed that the Note 9 would be a formidable flagship. Just like every other Note before it, the Note 9 would come with an S Pen stylus. During the interview, Kang and Kim explained how they approached the Note 8 design, and how they look forward to the future devices.
Kang said the planning team usually takes a “small break” when one project comes to an end before moving on to the next one. But they did not take any breaks after releasing the Note 8, even though the Note 8 planning process was extremely challenging. He added that the team was “already considering” how they would approach the Note 9 development by evaluating the Note 8 and exploring the “ways to improve upon signature features like the S Pen.”
He added that consumers’ needs would be their top priority. Kang’s statement that Samsung would improve upon the Galaxy Note 9 S Pen stylus should be exciting news for the Note fans. The Samsung executives did not mention precisely what improvements we can expect. But that’s understandable considering the phone is roughly a year away and a lot of things could change in the coming months. Even though the S Pen design has remained similar over the years, Samsung has been adding new features to make the stylus more useful.
Galaxy Note 9 S Pen stylus could get more new features
The S Pen stylus is what differentiates the Galaxy Note from the Galaxy S line. The Galaxy Note 8 comes with a high-sensitivity S Pen with 4,096 pressure levels. The current S Pen allows users to create original art using the Pen Up app. It has a Live Messages feature that lets you create and send text GIFs in text messages. The Note 8 S Pen can also highlight the text for translation, select specific areas on the screen for screenshots, and supports the Screen Off memo feature that lets you write on the idle screen of the device.
Kang also indicated that Samsung would improve the dual camera system with the Note 9. The Galaxy Note 8 dual camera is one of the best in the world, but it lags behind the Google Pixel 2 in DxOMark’s smartphone camera tests. Kang said research had shown that right from the first Note phone in 2011, the camera is one of the most important features people look at before buying a Note.
Note 9 to feature an optical fingerprint scanner
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors earlier this month that Samsung would finally implement the in-display fingerprint sensor with the Galaxy Note 9. Samsung was previously rumored to add the optical fingerprint scanner to the Galaxy S8, and later in the Galaxy Note 8, but it never materialized due to production and security issues. Kuo says the upcoming Galaxy S9 will also feature a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. It means the Galaxy Note 9 would be Samsung’s first flagship to have an in-display fingerprint scanner.
The optical fingerprint sensor will allow users to unlock the handset and authenticate payments by placing their finger on the screen. Even though Samsung has been working with Synaptics on an in-display fingerprint solution for a long time, the Note 9 would not feature fingerprint sensors from Synaptics. Kuo says Samsung subsidiary Samsung LSI and South Korea-based BeyondEyes are leading contenders to supply the Note 9 in-display fingerprint scanners. They have already shipped samples to Samsung for testing. Egis is also reportedly in the race.
It’s quite surprising considering the fact that Apple has introduced a highly secure FaceID facial recognition system with the iPhone X. Kuo believes the optical fingerprint sensor is a stop-gap measure before Samsung could bring its own FaceID-like 3D facial recognition system. Samsung has already added facial recognition technology on its flagship phones, but they rely on 2D mapping and can easily be fooled using a photo or mask. Ming-Chi Kuo estimates it will take Android vendors roughly two years to replicate the FaceID technology.
Kuo told investors that supply chain inquiries by Android smartphone makers into 3D facial recognition technologies have tripled since the iPhone X announcement, and the in-display fingerprint sensor has taken a backseat. Talking about the Note 9, the KGI Securities analyst said the OLED panel will not only protect the optical fingerprint sensor but also serve as a light source. It means the Note 9 would not require an additional light source for the fingerprint sensor, saving the precious battery life.
What new features do you want to see in the Galaxy Note 9 S Pen stylus? Let us know in the comments below.