Wednesday, 12 July 2017 22:16

Ring ‘The Bell’ – Samsung Note 8 unpacked on 23 August?


Two South Korean sources say August is when the Note 8 will launch, with a 6.32-inch screen, twin cameras and stylus ensuring Samsung’s premium flagship launches with the lot.

Although Samsung launched the Note7 earlier than expected, which was part of the reason why the faulty battery wasn’t found before retail availability, no-one expects the Note 8 to suffer the same notable fate.

This time, rumours are rife that Apple’s iPhone 8 or Pro model could be delayed, due to any number of reasons, be it memory or display shortages, or issues with the Touch ID sensor, or whatever else the rumour sites throw up — while at the same time promising the most exciting iPhone line-up ever, in its 10th anniversary year — putting pressure on Samsung to hit a Note 8 home run.

The 23rd of August is the date the Note 8 is expected to launch, a date confirmed by South Korean site “The Bell (page Google translated to English)”, another South Korean site called The Investor quotes an unnamed Samsung executive refusing to specifically confirm 23 August while nevertheless stating the Note 8 would be “unveiled later next month in New York".

However, Note 8 sales aren’t expected to start until early September – which is the IFA 2017 timeframe (first week of September) that Samsung reportedly originally wanted to hold the Note 8 launch.

So, whether actual retail Note 8 units will be in customer hands before the 2017 iPhone 7s, 7s Plus and 8/Pro models are also launched, with a presumed delay before retail availability, is yet to be seen, but Samsung does like to launch before any new iPhone so as to maximise pre-orders.

If the Note 8 has a 6.32-inch Infinity Display screen, that will be larger than the 6.2-inch screen of the S8+, which is that little bit extra for Samsung’s Note stylus to write upon.

The Bell says that the Note 8 style “appears to be equipped with a sophisticated, soft writing feel and various functions”, while “translation services and image related functions seem to have become more diversified".

Samsung’s artificial intelligence assistant, Bixby, will obviously be available for Korean speakers, but whether an English or Chinese version of Bixby will be ready in time is not yet known.

That said, The Bell quotes consumers wanting Bixby to work with more apps, and notes the release of an SDK at a Samsung Developer Forum to be held in San Francisco in October.

If true, that will certainly help Bixby better interact with more third party apps as developers integrate its capabilities, but whether that will be of much use to Bixby users during the rest of 2017 is unknown.

There’s also the potentially disappointing news that an under-screen fingerprint scanner will not make it into the Note 8, with imagery suggesting it will still be on the back of the Note 8. However, until the launch goes live, we don’t know for sure.

The Bell makes note of the Note 8 being used as a “tablet PC”, so whether this is simply because of its larger size, or perhaps because it will work in a better way with a Note 8 compatible DeX unit is something we’ll find out, presumably on 23 August.

Another reason for wanting to accelerate Note 8 sales is to make up for reports of S8 sales being “about 20% lower than the S7”, at least at this moment in time, according to 9to5Google, with excitement over the Note 8 expected to put a rocket up Samsung's smartphone sales.

We can only hope that the Note 8 is much more than simply an S8+ with stylus, and hope that Samsung has managed to keep some great features and benefits under wraps as surprises, while ensuring no repeat of the battery issues of its predecessor.

Until then, there are six or so weeks to go before the Note 8 is unveiled, in what will be the most powerful stylus-equipped handset yet – unless Apple decides to allow its Pencil to work with 2017 iPhone models, in which case the battle of the stylish smartphone stylii will commence!


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.



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