We now know when we're going to see the next version of Samsung's Galaxy Note smartphone.
Samsung sent out invitations today (June 25) to its next Unpacked press event. The event takes place in New York on August 9, starting at 11 a.m. ET.
The invitation doesn't mention the Galaxy Note 9 by name. But it does promise a Samsung Galaxy announcement, and it prominently features either a close-up of the S Pen, the Note's signature stylus, or a button on the side of what looks like a smartphone.
If the picture is of an S Pen, it would line up with a report this week of a major upgrade coming to Samsung's stylus. There's speculation that the S Pen could include Bluetooth and maybe a mic and speaker for making calls. (However, we've heard rumors like that before for the Galaxy Note 8.)
If the latter, it's not a big leap of logic to conclude that's the dedicated Bixby button Samsung now features on its flagship smartphones. And since the company has already promised that Bixby 2.0 would debut on the Galaxy Note 9, you can pretty much assume that's what's on tap for August 9.
We don't know a lot officially about the Galaxy Note 9, but rumors about the upcoming phone have filled in a lot of the gaps. Expect a device that looks a lot like last year's Galaxy Note 8 with the an Infinity Display that stretches from one end of the phone to the other. Samsung will reportedly feature a slightly larger 6.4-inch display — last year's model topped out at 6.3 inches — but thanks to thinner bezels, the Note 9 should be about the same size as the Note 8.
The new phone is likely to run on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845, the same mobile chipset powering most high-end Android phones these days (including the Galaxy S9). It's unclear how much RAM Samsung will include; last year's Note 8 shipped with 6GB. Earlier reports on the Note 9 suggested Samsung would improve the dual rear cameras on the new phone. That's likely to mean the Note 9 will feature some of the improvements to the Galaxy S9 camera, such as a variable aperture and multiframe noise reduction.
Bixby 2.0 will be a smarter version of Samsung's built-in assistant. Among the improvements that Samsung has teased in the past, the new version of Bixby could recognize individual voices, allowing it to tailor responses to that person's preferences.
By unveiling the Note 9 on August 9, Samsung is giving us an earlier look at its phablet than it has in the past. Last year, the company didn't take the wraps off the Note 8 until August 23. By having the phone debut in early August, Samsung could beat Apple's new iPhone models to the market by a month, assuming Apple is planning a September launch for the iPhone X's successor.