Evan Blass, a reporter for VentureBeat, posted a photo of the front of a black Note8 to Twitter on Monday. On Tuesday, he added front and back images of gold and black versions of the phone, as well as a stylus device called the “S Pen.”
The latest photos show a dual lens camera at the back of the phone. The mobile’s front has an edge-to-edge display across the width of the device and thin bezels at its top and bottom.
The photos represent early renderings of the phones, Blass tweeted.
While these early-stage “DIY renders” certainly give a feel for a phone’s basic design, the final product can differ significantly.
1:10 PM – Aug 1, 2017
However, it’s noteworthy that his past early renderings have proven to be very accurate.
Maximized Display Real Estate
Blass’ photos appear to support other reports on the Note8 build.
The device is designed to maximize screen real estate on its 6.3-inch QHD+ Super AMOLED Infinity display. The power-lock screen key is on the right side of the phone. On the left are the volume buttons and key for accessing Samsung’s Bixby digital assistant.
Along with the dual cameras on the back, there’s a dual LED, dual tone flash; fingerprint scanner; and, according to some accounts, a heart-rate scanner.
Chances are there will be two versions of the device — one with a Snapdragon 835 64-bit octa-core SoC and another with Samsung’s Exynos 8895 64-bit octa-core chip.
The unit is expected to have 6 GB of RAM, 64 GB or 128 GB of expandable internal storage, and a 3,500-mAh battery. It likely will run Android 7.1.1 Nougat with the customary Samsung UI on top.
Similar to Galaxy S8
Although the Note8 is larger than the recently released Galaxy S8, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of physical difference between the devices.
“There appears to be very little to distinguish the two phones at this stage, beyond the presence of the S Pen,” said James Moar, a research analyst at Juniper Research.
“The same bezel-less design is evident, as well as a dedicated button for Bixby,” he told TechNewsWorld.
“The biggest distinguishing feature appears to be the dual camera, which is becoming a standard feature for many current-gen smartphones,” Moar added.
In the Note8, Samsung may try to address an issue that already has cropped up with the S8 since its release.
“Feedback from users of the S8 is that when they’re not looking at the phone, they’re putting their finger on the camera’s lens instead of the fingerprint sensor because they’re adjacent,” said Jeff Orr, senior practice director for mobile devices at ABI Research.
“Maybe that gets remedied on the Note8, because there’s more room on it to move around the camera’s sensors or the fingerprint sensor,” he told TechNewsWorld.
An Edge in VR
When the Note8 is released, it can expect some tough competition from phones like the LG V30, Huawei Mate 10, Google Pixel 2, and of course the iPhone 8.
A key difference between the Note8 and other phones will be its broader support of virtual reality platforms, Juniper’s Moar maintained. The LG and Google models will support the Daydream platform, but the Note8 will support both Daydream and Gear VR platforms.
“This will be a big draw to both VR early adopters and some industries looking to deploy smartphone VR to their customers,” he pointed out.
That, along with Samsung’s strong relationships with channel partners, could help the company outsell its competitors — if the price is right, suggested Moar.
However, there are signs that the price won’t be right. There are reports that Samsung may be getting Apple fever and could price the Note8 at US$1,000 or more.
“This would put a huge dent in sales, both for the real price hike and the psychological effect of the $1,000 barrier on consumers,” Moar maintained. “If priced at over $1,000, the Note8 will fare badly, particularly with the S8 being so close to it in features for $200 or so less.”
Pricing may not be a problem in the United States, though.
“There’s an appetite for higher-end phones here,” said Ramon T. Llamas, a senior research analyst at IDC.
“There are also plans in place for people to buy high-end phones,” he told TechNewsWorld. “If you tell someone they’ve got to pay $1,000 up front, they’ll probably balk at that. But tell them to put $200 down and $25 a month, and they can deal with that.”
With the exception of Apple, Samsung has another advantage over its competitors.
“People don’t know these other brands as well as they know Samsung,” said Jack E. Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates.
“People know Samsung and feel comfortable with it,” he told TechNewsW
Samsung also does a better job of marketing its phones than others, added Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
“It’s going to come down to marketing execution,” he told TechNewsWorld. “I have no doubt that they’ll have the budget because they just had a phenomenal quarter.”
However, there is already speculation about the Note 9, Enderle noted.
“That could do damage to the Note8 the way iPhone 7 sales were hurt by the expectations that the iPhone 8 would be a very special phone,” he said.
Samsung no doubt hopes that its Note8 launch at the end of the month will not be plagued by the problems that doomed its predecessor, the Note7. That model made headlines with its battery fires and subsequent recalls. After less than 90 days on the market, Samsung stopped producing it.
It’s not likely that those headlines will impact Note8 sales, however.
“Not that many people were affected by those problems. I think 95 percent of the people don’t even remember the problems,” Gold said.
“They appear to have recovered from the problems, and people aren’t avoiding the brand or the product,” Enderle noted.
“Given the similarities between the Note8 and the S8,” said Moar, “that is likely to have a bigger impact on sales than the Note7 problems.”