BUSINESS

[Newsmaker] Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 8 plays it safe

By Shin Ji-hye
  • Published : Aug 24, 2017 - 15:42
  • Updated : Aug 24, 2017 - 18:04
Launching the much-awaited flagship smartphone Galaxy Note 8 in New York, Samsung Electronics played it safe instead of shaking things up with stunning new features.

This is the first Note model after the exploding fiasco of the Note 7 last year that tarnished Samsung’s reputation. The debacle was reportedly caused by packing in too many new features like an iris scanner, increasing battery capacity and accelerating the release schedule on the rush to beat Apple.

Samsung, this time, chose safety over innovation. It upgraded some functions -- smarter S Pen stylus, a bigger infinity display and a bolstered camera -- but adopted no new striking features. Its battery capacity is 200 mAh smaller than the Note 7’s. 
Koh Dong-jin, president of Samsung‘s mobile communications business (Samsung Electronics)

“From the infinity display to the enhanced S Pen and a powerful dual camera, the Galaxy Note 8 lets people do things they never thought were possible,” Koh Dong-jin, president of Samsung’s mobile communications business, said at the launch of the Note 8 in New York on Wednesday (local time).

The Note 8 has 6.3-inch infinity display, which is 0.1 inch larger than Galaxy S8 Plus and 0.6 inch larger than Galaxy Note 7.

It features an enhanced S Pen stylus which unlocks new ways to write, draw, and interact with the phone and communicate with friends with a finer tip and improved pressure sensitivity 3.

The upgraded always-on display -- which keeps the display of the phone on while not in use -- allows Galaxy users to stay on top of their notifications without unlocking their phone.

The device, for the first time, adopted a dual camera which takes two pictures simultaneously and allow users to save both images; one close-up shot from the telephoto lens and one wide-angle shot that shows the entire background.

Samsung said the Note 8 will be available in stores starting Sept. 15 in 40 nations, including Korea, the US and the UK.

“Samsung’s decision to launch the Note across all regions means the Note 8 should be the most successful Note smartphone for at least three years. The last model, Note 5, did not launch in Europe,” said Ian Fogg, senior director, mobile & telecoms for IHS Markit.

Still, doubts remain over sales. Some say the Korean tech giant played it too safe to compete with its rival Apple ready to showcase the game-changing iPhone 8 soon to mark its tenth-anniversary.

“It is in fact disappointing that no significant change is made for the Note 8 from Galaxy S8 apart from the adoption of dual camera,” said Lee Kyu-ha, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities.

Lee added its battery capacity of 3,300 mAh is smaller than other upcoming flagship models made by its rivals (including Apple) that are slated to pack 4,000 mAh batteries.

Apple’s iPhone 8, which is expected to have a launch event on Sept. 12, is predicted to sport several new features.

It is expected to adopt bezel-less flat OLED panels, whose display technology is known to be more advanced and difficult to make compared to Galaxy Note 8’s curved edge OLED panels. It is also expected to feature 3-D sensor-based facial recognition scanner and 3-D sensors supporting augmented reality applications.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)

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