Samsung might have placed itself on dire straits due to the now-infamous Galaxy Note 7 debacle, but the company is far from giving up. Defying speculations that the Note line would be retired due to its damaged reputation, recent leaks and rumors point to Samsung pulling all stops in creating the Galaxy Note 8, its most formidable enterprise-grade phablet yet. While very little official information is available about the upcoming device, The Note 8, which is scheduled for a 2017 release, is slowly coming to form through rumors and leaks.
During the height of the Note 7 disaster, speculations were high that the end of Samsung’s premiere phablet line would soon be at hand. With Note devices being labeled as sleek, nondescript sticky bombs capable of setting vehicles on fire, it seemed like Samsung’s flagship phablet was all but over. Just months after Samsung opted to discontinue the device, however, rumors started emerging that the South Korean tech giant was not throwing the towel on its flagship device just yet. The legitimacy of these rumors appeared to have been confirmed by smartphone analyst Evan Blass, who posted a tweet featuring the model numbers of Samsung’s 2017 flagships.
Samsung Galaxy S8 models are indeed skipping SM-G94* model numbers, will ship as SM-G950 & SM-G955. Know what else is in the works? SM-N950.— Evan Blass (@evleaks) November 9, 2016
While the first two model numbers in Blass’ tweet most likely correspond to the rumored 5.7-inch Galaxy S8 and 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+, the third model number, SM-N950, seemed to point to the Galaxy Note 8. Over the years, Samsung’s Note line of devices has always been designated with the SM-N model number, with the Galaxy Note 7 being SM-N930 and the Note 5 being SM-N920. With this in mind, the model number stated in Blass’ tweet definitely seemed to correspond to the Note 8.
The Galaxy Note 8 is definitely coming, and it appears that Samsung is making sure that the device would be its most formidable ever. Considering the rumors and speculations about the phablet, it would be easy to say that the Galaxy Note 8 might be the most daunting smartphone that would be launched in 2017.
Rumors about the Note 8’s specs are abounding, with some speculations stating that the phablet would carry the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip, 6GB of RAM, and a 4K screen. While these rumored specs are comparable with the specifications of the Galaxy S8 and S8+, it is the Note 8’s speculated features that truly makes the upcoming enterprise-grade tablet downright scary for its competitors. While none of these rumored features have been confirmed, it would be safe to say that Apple must make its top-tier iPhone 8 its best device yet to give the Note 8 some worthy competition.
One thing that has definitely stood out in the Note 8’s rumored features is its rumored audio capabilities. Even before the model number of the device was leaked on Twitter, there were already rumors that the S-Pen of the Note 8 would be utilized in some form to augment its users’ audio experience. These speculations seemed to be confirmed recently when it was announced that Samsung would be acquiring audio firm Harman in a massive $8-billion deal. While Harman is best known for its car audio products, the firm is also known as the company behind premiere audio brands such as JBL. With this in mind, it would not be improbable for the Galaxy Note 8 to have JBL-tuned speakers. This alone would distinguish the Note 8 from the pack.
Apart from this, rumors are also high that the net line of Samsung flagships would carry the firm’s new A.I. assistant, Bixby, which would most likely give Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google Assistant a run for their money. What makes the South Korean tech giant’s A.I. efforts notable is the fact that the Samsung’s executive vice president, Rhee In-Jong, has already confirmed that the artificial technology it is refining would be open to developers. This is a complete departure from Apple’s strategy, which, until recently, limited Siri’s development to proprietary applications.
“Developers can attach and upload services to our agent. Even if Samsung doesn’t do anything on its own, the more services that get attached the smarter this agent will get, learn more new services, and provide them to end-users with ease.”
As for the device’s release date, rumors have been conflicting so far, with some speculations pointing to a Q1 2017 release date and some pushing the device’s reveal as far back as August 2017. Considering that the Note line’s reputation has been damaged, releasing it alongside the Galaxy S8 and S8+ in the first quarter of 2017 makes strategic sense. On the other hand, an August 2017 release date is just as likely, as the Note line has always been launched just a month or so before Apple releases its flagship smartphones, which are usually released in September.
It is no secret that 2016 has been a tough year for Samsung. While the company opened the year strong with the launch of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, the losses it incurred due to the Note 7 disaster is estimated to have reached about $5 billion. While the blow to the tech giant’s reputation was significant, it is far too early to count the Note 8 out of the smartphone game. Instead, Samsung seems to have used the failure of the Note 7 as a hard lesson. If recent rumors about the Note 8 prove accurate, it seems like Samsung has come out of that lesson far more formidable than before.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]