With the Galaxy S9 now released, attention is already shifting to the forthcoming Galaxy Note 9. The Samsung phablet will undoubtedly be one of the standout devices of the year, but there is an onus on the Korean corporation to produce something more groundbreaking than its recent Galaxy S9 release.
While the Galaxy S9 Plus can be considered a more ambitious device, the Galaxy S9 is a rather conservative incremental upgrade. With an appearance that is extremely similar to the Galaxy S8, and no real knockout or killer features included, the Galaxy S9 can definitely be considered a placeholder rather than a revolution in the smartphone concept.
Of course, with Samsung being the largest seller of mobile devices in the world, the Galaxy S9 is guaranteed to sell extremely well, and remain a fixture in the mobile niche. But the idea that we have already reached ‘peak smartphone’ – the point at which the smartphone market begins to recede even for the largest manufacturers – is now well-established, and is impacting even on the biggest producers in this niche.
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Already there is evidence that sales for both Apple and Samsung have slowed down in comparison to previous years, and the plans of the Californian corporation underline how important it is that the Galaxy Note 9 is a departure from its predecessors. Not only does Apple intend to release three iPhone devices during 2018, but it is even ready to scrap the successful iPhone X after only one generation, if recent reports are to be believed.
Another issue for Samsung is that the Galaxy S9 Plus is already essentially a Galaxy Note 9 device in disguise. Although the Galaxy S9 Plus does not offer the popular S Pen that is now a major part of the Galaxy Note range, there seem to be few other differences between the two handsets. And it is highly debatable whether the stylus alone is enough to really make the Galaxy Note 9 a must buy for phablet fans.
Meanwhile, Samsung is also planning to release a Galaxy X device with a foldable screen at some point during 2018, and this could be the standout device from the Korean Corporation this year. In this climate, it is clear that the Galaxy Note 9 must offer more than a mere S Pen in order to attract the requisite attention. Surely there is now too much overlap between the Galaxy S9 Plus and Galaxy Note 9 for Samsung to simply rely on this one component.
What we do know is that Samsung is already preparing itself for the release of the Galaxy Note 9, with reports already flooding in that work has gotten underway on the next-generation phablet. Although the announcement of the next Galaxy Note cab off the rank is probably six months away, early reports suggest that Samsung is already developing its next Galaxy Note release.
Indeed, a prototype version of the Galaxy Note 9 has already been benchmarked according to recent rumors. An HTML5test demonstrated that the unannounced Samsung device bears the model number SM-N960; similar to the SM-N950 marking of last year’s Note 8. The HTML5test is utilized in order to evaluate the accuracy of a web browser in implementing the standard HTML 5 web setting, and the supposed Galaxy Note 9 was able to score 522 out of 555 in this department.
So there are a few clues here regarding the make up of the Galaxy Note 9, but when the device does come to fruition we are likely to see some knockout specs. Above all else, it would seem to be completely logical for the Galaxy Note 9 to be the first ever 4K mobile from the Korean corporation. This would enable Samsung to make a demarcation between the Quad HD+ Galaxy S9 range and its phablet.
One piece of information that did come out of the benchmarking is the notion that this device is a little taller and narrower than standard smartphone designs. This suggests that Samsung is contemplating a different approach to the Galaxy Note 9 than previous releases, although it is almost certain that the Infinity display from previous models will be retained. But it could be that the Galaxy Note 9 is armed with a larger display than we have seen in previous releases in the series.
Reports have also focused on the Snapdragon 845 chipset being included in the Galaxy Note 9, and this does seem rather likely. Although this is already included in the Galaxy S9 series, the chances of a different processor then being available to Samsung by the time that the Galaxy Note 9 is released is pretty slim. It would be desirable for Samsung to utilize its proprietary technology in North America, but it is more likely that it will stick with its existing policy.
The Galaxy Note 9 may benefit from the second-generation of Bixby, though, after Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh indicated the intention to release an updated version of the AI assistant later this year. “For Bixby 1.0, we focused on a fast rollout to the market,” Koh commented at a press conference following the S9 unveiling. “Expanding the ecosystem was difficult. So Bixby 2.0 will strengthen this aspect and we are working intensely.”
Koh went on to specifically mention the Galaxy Note 9. “In December last year, we began taking applications for the public beta version. So far over 800 companies have applied and are testing it. At this speed, I think we will be able to unveil Bixby 2.0 when we launch the Galaxy Note 9.”
So the picture that is emerging of the Galaxy Note 9 is of a large device with an excellent display and improved artificial intelligence capabilities. With various spec bumps also anticipated, and the aforementioned S Pen also part of the package, this proposed Galaxy Note 9 then begins to look like a viable phablet contender.