After last year’s Galaxy Note 7 was plagued with technical issues and had to be recalled, many assumed that Samsung’s flagship phablet range was dead in the water. But it has since emerged that a Note 8 is indeed on the way, with its launch scheduled to take place later this month.
Fans were given their first look at the device earlier this week after VentureBeat published a leaked press shot which showcases the almost bezel-free curved display which dominates the front surface of the phone.
The Note 8 does away with physical buttons on the front, instead embracing the same Infinity Display hardware that was seen earlier this year on the Galaxy S8. There will still be the usual trio of lock, camera and volume buttons on the sides of the handset.
What remains to be seen is whether Samsung has learned any lessons from the Note 7 launch and fitted the follow-up with a battery that is large enough to power everything but not so sizeable that it leads to overheating and combustion issues. Another major recall would be an unmitigated disaster for the South Korean firm which is already on the ropes.
Samsung is set to launch an Active iteration of the Galaxy S8, as revealed via an accidental leak from its official website.
Earlier Galaxy handsets have received Active updates, making them much more rugged and tough than their standard counterparts.
Waterproofing is already a fairly common feature amongst high end handsets, but the Galaxy S8 Active should take this a step further with a heftier, sturdier exterior which will be able to withstand plenty of punishment in gruelling outdoor environments.
From adventurous smartphone lovers to people who work in challenging conditions, the new Active edition of the S8 will appeal to a sizeable niche in the marketplace. It should also pack similar specifications to its existing sibling, meaning it may feature a 5.8 inch screen, an octa core processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage.
Hopefully, the S8 Active will be launched in the UK, as last year’s S7 Active was limited to the North American marketplace, leaving European customers in the lurch. There is certainly demand for rugged smartphones and, as Samsung looks to rebuild its reputation as a manufacturer of reliable devices, it makes sense to pursue a global launch for this model.
While most smartphones with fingerprint scanners integrate this component with the home button, or place it on the rear surface, Samsung could be taking an entirely different approach with the upcoming Galaxy Note 8.
Leaked images provided by an unnamed industry insider and published by Poyoco Tech suggest that the display of the Note 8 may house the fingerprint scanner discretely within it, which will give the phone a cleaner, less cluttered design than its predecessors.
Furthermore, it has been suggested that the Note 8 will have an all-new S Pen stylus that is capable of vibrating to provide a bit more physical feedback during use, emulating the feel of a real pen in the process.
Other features hinted at in the leak include high end audio capabilities from AKG, which is a company that Samsung owns indirectly and so can easily call upon to provide its support for the Note 8.
Dual camera lenses on the rear surface suggest that a photographic upgrade is going to be part and parcel of this new phablet. And Samsung’s attempts to wipe away the bad memory of last year’s battery-blighted Note 7 certainly seem impressive on paper.
Any mobile buyer in the UK looking to snap up the new Galaxy S8 in its SIM free form can expect to pay at least £689, putting it at the upper end of the market in terms of price. But now figures from IHS Markit show that Samsung itself is having to splash out a sizeable sum to manufacture this cutting edge device.
The components alone cost just over $300 (£234) and each S8 also bears a £4.60 production cost. This is much more than the £174 that Apple pays to produce every iPhone 7 that rolls off the production line.
The second most expensive smartphone in terms of manufacturing costs at the moment is Google’s Pixel XL, but even this device is quite a bit more affordable than Samsung’s latest release.
Of course, this is all due to the cost of the leading technologies that have been corralled into the S8, with most buyers more than willing to fork out that extra cash in order to ensure that they have the world’s most powerful, future-proof phone in their pocket. Thankfully, there are lots of other affordable alternatives that are cheaper to build and buy.
The fully flexible smartphone which Samsung is rumoured to be developing at the moment may be a year or two from hitting the market, but industry insiders quoted by The Investor suggest that the South Korean manufacturer may have a foldable device in the works, which takes a slightly more traditional approach to this problem.
Rather than fashioning the entire handset from flexible components, Samsung is apparently going to put together a pair of OLED displays and attach them to one another with a hinge in the centre, mirroring the kind of design seen on the Motorola RAZR over a decade ago.
Observers have pointed out that this flip phone-like quality could make the handset more of a retro revival; a throwback to earlier designs which also hints at the possibilities for fully foldable handsets in the future.
Making the leap into true flexibility will require that the entire display is able to be folded and twisted, which means using glass to cover it could ultimately be out of the question. But the promise of a model which will bridge the gap may be enough to keep consumers content until Samsung’s next big breakthrough is made.