Samsung’s latest flagship Galaxy Note 8 has been flying off the shelves, and it is expected to be one of the most popular Android smartphones this holiday season. Citing Korean news outlet The Bell, The Investor reports that Samsung will “soon start the development” of the next-gen Note flagship. The report also reveals that the Galaxy Note 9 codename is “crown.”
Galaxy Note 9 codename: Samsung looks to solidify its position
Citing an official at a component supplier, The Bell claims the first prototypes of the Note 9 would be ready by early next year. The unnamed supplier would start providing parts for the phablet’s pilot production “in the first quarter next year.” Samsung’s choice for the Galaxy Note 9 codename seems interesting because codenames serve as subtle indicators of the Korean company’s plans.
The Galaxy S8 was codenamed “dream,” which represented Samsung’s dream to beat its arch-rival Apple. The Galaxy Note 8 was internally known as “Baikal” after one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. The codename hinted at the Note 8’s giant bezel-less Infinity display. The Galaxy Note 9 codename “crown” likely represents the Korean company’s ambition to retain the top slot in the global smartphone industry.
Samsung is facing tough competition from Apple’s iPhone X and older iPhones in the premium segment. Chinese smartphone heavyweight Huawei is challenging Samsung’s dominance in the mid-range and low-range markets. Huawei, which was not even among top five players a few years ago, recently surpassed Apple to become the world’s second-largest smartphone vendor behind Samsung.
Samsung seems afraid of both Huawei and Apple. Huawei is also gaining a strong foothold in the premium segment with its Mate line. Soon after the iPhone X went on sale, Samsung released an ad mocking the iPhones from 2007 to 2017, including the iPhone X. The Galaxy Note 9 codename suggests that the Korean company might be looking to beat the iPhone X or its successor with the 2018 Galaxy Note.
The pilot production is set to start in the first quarter of 2018. It doesn’t mean the phone would launch in the first half of the next year. The Note 9 is unlikely to arrive until August 2018. Samsung is working to release the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus in the first quarter. The S9 is likely to be unveiled at the MWC in February before hitting the store shelves sometime in March.
Galaxy Note 9 to have an in-display fingerprint reader
The Bell or The Investor didn’t mention the Note 9’s features or specifications, but the rumor mill has already revealed a thing or two about the phablet. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo firmly believes that the Note 9 will be Samsung’s first premium phone to feature an in-display fingerprint solution. It means the upcoming Galaxy S9 would lack the optical fingerprint reader.
Samsung has been working to incorporate the in-display fingerprint technology into its flagship smartphones for over a year, but with little success. Kuo believes the company would be able to successfully place the fingerprint reader under the display glass of the Galaxy Note 9. Users have criticized the rear-mounted fingerprint reader on the Galaxy S8 and the Note 8.
Ming-Chi Kuo has learned from supply chain sources that three suppliers- BeyondEyes, Samsung LSI, and Egis – are in the race to supply the in-display fingerprint scanners for the Galaxy Note 9. Two of them, Samsung LSI and BeyondEyes, have already shipped sample units to Samsung for testing. Egis supplies the fingerprint scanners used in the current Galaxy S8 and Note 8.
Samsung looking to further improve the S Pen stylus
Last month, two senior Samsung executives said during an interview that the S Pen stylus would get a major upgrade with the Galaxy Note 9. S Pen is one of the signature features of the Note line, and it has evolved significantly in the last few years. BJ Kang and Cue Kim of Samsung’s Global Product Planning Group said the Note team started preliminary work on the next Note phablet soon after the Note 8 launch. They did not even take a break.
BJ Kang and Cue Kim said they were exploring various “ways to improve upon signature features like the S Pen.” They did not mention exactly what improvements we should expect. It’s understandable considering the Note 9 is still about a year away, and a lot of things could change down the road. While Samsung has kept the S Pen design similar over the years, it has consistently added more and more features to make the stylus more useful.
The S Pen that comes with the Galaxy Note 8 has 4,096 pressure levels. It allows you to create original art through the Pen Up app, create and send text GIFs using the Live Messages feature, translate text from one language to another, write on the idle screen using the Screen Off memo feature, and select areas on the screen for screenshots.