Each year, Samsung offers up two big releases: a new Galaxy S and Galaxy Note. And now that the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are on store shelves, the attention is turning to the Galaxy Note 9.
The Galaxy Note 9 should be sleeker, faster and especially smarter than the Note 8 (above).Building on the successful Galaxy Note 8, you can expect a big display (6.3 inches or higher), S Pen input and strong overall performance from the Note 9, but what about the new features? And when will you be able to get your hands on it?
Here are all the latest Galaxy Note 9 rumors.
Latest Update (May 16)
- Leaker Ice Universe has reported various bits of information regarding the Note 9's design over the last few days, indicating it will be more of a refresh of the Galaxy Note 8 with newer, more powerful components.
- A report from a South Korean business site claims Samsung has decided to shelve the in-display fingerprint sensor it was prepping for the Galaxy Note 9, and will introduce it with the Galaxy S10 instead.
In-screen fingerprint sensor
Samsung has reportedly been working on an in-display fingerprint sensor for years. And while there had been some hope that the feature would come to last year's Galaxy Note 8, it didn't happen. There had also been speculation it could be available in this year's Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9+. That didn't happen, either.
So, will the Note 9 finally get a virtual fingerprint sensor?
The saga started in February, when The Bell reported, citing sources, that Samsung had told its manufacturing partners that efforts to get a virtual fingerprint sensor working on the Galaxy Note 9 were not going well. The company reportedly told the manufacturing partners that it would instead opt for a physical sensor.
In early March, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors that the Korean tech giant had been working feverishly on a virtual fingerprint sensor but ultimately ditched the idea after facing "technological difficulties." He said the sensor wouldn't work in uncontrolled environments or when using a screen protector.
Then, just weeks later, there was a glimmer of hope. The Korea Herald reported that Samsung Display had found "three or four solutions" to deliver a virtual fingerprint sensor. Samsung at the time was testing the technology and reportedly decided to make a final decision on the matter by the end of March.
Credit: 91MobilesThat was all the news we had for many weeks, up until very recently. According to ChosunBiz and SamMobile, Samsung has finally decided to save the in-display sensor for the Galaxy S10, rather than launching it in the Galaxy Note 9. The company has reportedly informed its suppliers of the decision. Leaker Ice Universe compounded these rumors on Twitter, saying "it is almost certain" the Note 9 will not feature an in-display fingerprint sensor.
Meanwhile, a Samsung patent filing uncovered by 91Mobiles shows how the fingerprint sensor might work on a future Samsung phone. An area at the bottom of the screen would accept your fingerprint, with a touch icon displaying when you put your finger on it.
Although the Galaxy Note 8 offers a fingerprint sensor, it's on the back of the phone, and moving its location (as Samsung did with the S9) won't make it much more convenient to use. A reader built into the screen would likely make unlocking the Note 9 a lot faster.
Note 9 release date: It could launch (quite) early
There had been some speculation that Samsung would release the Galaxy Note 9 in September, like it did with last year's Galaxy Note 8. But a recent report from The Investor suggests the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ could prompt an earlier launch.
The Galaxy Note 9 could have a fingerprint sensor in the display. Credit: DBS Designing/YouTubeAccording to that report, Samsung is experiencing lower-than-expected Galaxy S9 demand and has missed some financial targets on the handsets' sales. In order to address that, Samsung has reportedly decided to launch the Galaxy Note 9 as early as July or August to get its new handset on store shelves sooner.
The move could also help Samsung sidestep possible direct competition with Apple's next round of iPhones, which could launch in September.
Samsung in the past has used its Galaxy Note line to experiment with different design concepts and colors. And although the company hasn't revealed any details about its design for this year, there have been some reports that suggest a change could be in the works.
Credit: DBS Designing/YouTubeIn January, Let's Go Digital discovered a patent Samsung filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that showcased a smartphone with no notch or bezels. To deliver the features you'd expect from a smartphone, like an earpiece, microphone and front-facing cameras, Samsung's patent describes puncturing holes in the display to make room for the components.
In April, graphic designer Mushin M. Belaal Auckburaully, who goes by the name DBS Designing on YouTube, took some cues from those patents and other reports and fashioned a graphic rendering of a possible Galaxy Note 9 release.
The designer's creation, which was reported on by BGR, shows a smartphone that ditches the bezels around the screens altogether and, yes, includes a virtual fingerprint sensor. There's also a headphone jack in the rendering, along with a USB-C port for fast-charging. And since this is the Galaxy Note 9, it comes with a reimagined S Pen stylus.
Other, more recent reports suggest Samsung has elected for a more conservative approach with the Note 9. Leaker Ice Universe tweeted in late March that the new phablet's design would be "consistent with the S9's." He also said it would employ the same cameras as the Galaxy S9+. Based on Ice Universe's reporting, Samsung may be saving its serious updates for the Galaxy S10 in 2019.
Possible Galaxy Note 9 specs
There shouldn't be too many surprises under the Galaxy Note 9 hood, according to several rumors.
The Note 8 (above) has 6GB of RAM, but the Note 9 could step that up to 8GB.Samsung is expected to deliver the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 inside the handset, according to recently leaked benchmarks on HTML5Test. This chip turned in some impressive numbers on our Galaxy S9 benchmark tests, though the overall horsepower falls short of the iPhone X's A11 Bionic chip.
The Galaxy Note 8 came with a robust 6GB of RAM, but other phones like the OnePlus 6 are shipping with up to 8GB, so it will be interesting to see whether Samsung offers this as an option.
We would like to see an upgrade in storage. Yes, it's nice to have a microSD card slot for expansion. But if the price of the Galaxy Note 9 winds up being in the same neighborhood of $930 to $960 as the Note 8, offering a 128GB or 256GB option would be good. The iPhone X comes with up to 256GB.
Like the Galaxy Note 8, you can expect to find a big screen featuring an 18.5:9 aspect ratio. There's no telling yet, however, exactly how big that display will be, though initial rumblings from website SamMobile point to a 6.4-inch screen.
The battery — always a point of interest when it comes to Samsung's Note phones — figures to be a 3,850 mAh or 4,000 mAh power pack, according to Twitter leaker IceUniverse. Either one would be a jump from the 3,300 mAh battery in the Galaxy Note 8.
On the software side, you can expect Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 to be running Android Oreo, but whether it's Android 8.0.0 or Android 8.1 isn't yet clear. The newer Android P will likely be reserved for the upcoming Pixel 3 line, at least at first, which is expected to hit shelves this October.
A revamped Bixby
At Mobile World Congress earlier this year, Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh confirmed that his company will be delivering the second-generation of Bixby in the Galaxy Note 9.
Bixby 2.0 on the Galaxy Note 9 should be able to do a lot more than today's version.Samsung unveiled Bixby 2.0 late last year and called it a "bold reinvention" of the company's virtual personal assistant. Not much is known about all the ways Bixby 2.0 will innovate on last year's version, but Samsung has confirmed that it will be capable of recognizing individual voices. It'll also be capable of being integrated into apps and services, expanding its reach in mobile.
Samsung is believed to be testing Bixby 2.0 now, so we can expect more rumors to surface as time goes on.
Galaxy Note 9 price?
It's too early to say how Samsung will price the Galaxy Note 9, but if history is any guide it will be in the same $930 to $960 range as the current Note 8.
The Galaxy S9 starts at $720 and the S9+ at $840, so it's reasonable to expect that the Note 9 will command a similar $100 premium over the larger S9+.
Credit: Shaun Lucas/Tom's Guide
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