There has been a lot of chatter in the last few weeks that the Galaxy Note 9 launch could happen sooner than expected. Now we have clear evidence that Samsung has set the ball rolling for its upcoming flagship phablet. The Note 9 has already been spotted on a handful of benchmarking sites. Folks at LetsGoDigital have now discovered that the China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (CMIIT) has certified both the Snapdragon and Exynos variants of Galaxy Note 9.
The CMIIT certified a phone with model number SM-N9600 on March 21st, and now it has certified another variant of the same device carrying model number SM-N9608. For the uninitiated, the Galaxy Note’s model number starts with SM-N960. The two handsets that received the CMIIT certification are the Snapdragon and Exynos-powered models of the Galaxy Note 9.
Samsung sells the Snapdragon model in the US and Exynos variant in most other countries. The certifications suggest that the company wants the flexibility of selling both versions in the world’s largest smartphone market. Unfortunately, the certifications do not reveal the phablet’s features.
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Last month, Samsung had applied to trademark the “Note9” moniker in Colombia. The trademark filing offered strong evidence that Samsung is going to stick to the same naming pattern this year, though there is a good chance the company could change the moniker next year. Samsung is expected to trademark the name with the USPTO in the coming months. The phone will likely be certified by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) closer to the Galaxy Note 9 launch.
Last year’s Galaxy Note 8 was launched in September. But the rumor mill claims Samsung could change the Galaxy Note 9 launch schedule to bring it earlier than usual. The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus were impressive phones, but they failed to sell as well as Samsung hoped. Samsung could introduce the Note 9 in late July or early August to ensure that buyers don’t switch to other brands amid poor Galaxy S9 sales.
The early Galaxy Note 9 launch could also give it a few weeks of additional time on the store shelves before the launch of three new iPhones in September. The Korean company has reportedly expedited OLED panel production for the Note 9 as it faced excess capacity.
Recent reports suggest the Galaxy Note 9 would look similar to the Galaxy S9 Plus in terms of design. It is said to sport a 6.3-inch Super AMOLED Infinity display with curved edges. It would retain the Bixby button and the 3.5mm audio jack. Talking about Bixby, Samsung’s mobile business head DJ Koh has told media that Samsung would launch an upgraded Bixby 2.0 AI assistant with the Note 9.
Samsung is currently testing the new Bixby with more than 800 partners across the globe. Bixby 2.0 would be capable of recognizing individual voices, meaning if there are more than one registered users, the virtual assistant will personalize answers for each of them. The rumor mill claims Samsung will also remove the “Hi, Bixby” trigger to enable a more natural communication between the user and the digital assistant.
The Galaxy Note 9 was recently spotted on the Geekbench website, which revealed some interesting details about the phone. It would run the Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810 chips depending on the region. It will likely pack 6GB of RAM rather than 8GB. The Geekbench listing indicated that the Note 9 would launch with Samsung’s custom UI on top of Android 8.1 Oreo. The phone is expected to offer at least 64GB of base internal storage.
The Note 9 would feature an improved dual camera system on the back, though the front camera is also rumored to get an upgrade. The Galaxy S9 Plus came with exciting features such as super slo-mo video recording and variable apertures. The Note 9 will likely borrow both these features from the S9 Plus. Additionally, the phablet would come with an upgraded S Pen stylus. Chinese tipster Ice Universe claims the Galaxy Note 9 would feature a 3,850mAh or 4,000mAh battery. If it turns out to be true, the Note 9 would pack the biggest battery Samsung has ever offered inside its flagship smartphones.
There is growing evidence that the Galaxy Note 9 could be Samsung’s first smartphone to feature an in-display fingerprint sensor. The company has been working on the optical fingerprint solution for years. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims Samsung’s in-display fingerprint technology is still some time away because it is still facing “technological difficulties” with the feature.
However, Korean media recently reported that Samsung Display had developed 3-4 solutions to implement the technology under the Note 9’s display, and Samsung was seriously considering one of them.