For its next Note, Samsung will be hoping to build on a successful Galaxy S8 launch, and finally banish the specter of the Note 7.
In late 2016, Samsung released a critically praised smartphone that seemed to do everything right. A few weeks later, those phones started randomly catching on fire. Samsung recalled and replaced them, and then the new ones caught on fire as well. RIP Galaxy Note 7.
With the prospect of a Note 8 arriving later this year, Samsung's going to want to build on the good publicity surrounding the GS8 and rebuild the Note brand into something that no longer conjures up images of burning electronics. What's more, with the Galaxy S8+ already having an enormous screen, Samsung will need to push performance and features as a differentiator for this new, revitalized Note line.
So, no pressure then.
Will there be a Galaxy Note 8?
Yes. In an interview ahead of the company's Note 7 investigation press conference, Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh told Reuters that a Note 8 is indeed in the works.
"I will bring back a better, safer and very innovative Note 8," Koh said, adding "We found through the investigative process, we knew there are lots and lots of loyal Note customers."
Galaxy Note 8 design
We don't have any reliable evidence of what exactly the Note 8 will look like, but it's safe to draw a few conclusions from the design of the Galaxy S8.
With that said, you can expect metal, glass, slim bezels, no buttons, rounded corners and that all-important extra-tall Infinity Display. Historically, Note devices have been a little more boxy than Galaxy S phones, so slightly narrower corners and flatter sides are a possibility too.
And yes, expect it to have that all-important S Pen.
The only purported Note 8 image to appear so far is of dubious credibility to say the least. The shot first surfaced on Chinese social network Weibo before being picked up by Slashleaks, and shows a design very similar to the Galaxy S8+. The proportions aren't identical, and if you overlay a GS8+ image over the top, there are differences. But equally, it could easily be a fabrication.
Could this be the Galaxy Note 8? Maybe, but probably not.
Galaxy Note 8 specs and features
The Galaxy Note line has historically packed the latest and greatest specs, and that trend should continue in the Note 8. It's likely we'll see at least Snapdragon 835 and Exynos 9 series chips running the show, just like the GS8.
As Samsung looks to differentiate the Note line in ways other than sheer screen size, a jump to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage as standard is probable, too.
And that dual camera system we've been seeing in leaked Galaxy S8+ prototype photos is a good bet for the Note 8. Samsung showcased the Exynos 8895's dual ISP (image signal processor) support in its announcement imagery, and chances are the company wouldn't do that without having a specific product in mind.
Expect cutting-edge specs, and possibly new features like dual cameras and a higher-res display.
A 4K screen is a possibility too, one that's long been rumored for Note devices, and potentially a huge development for VR, eliminating the dreaded "screen door" effect. Higher pixel density doesn't matter when you're tweeting or browsing the web, but it makes an enormous difference when you're watching a movie of playing a game in VR. Like Sony's 4K phones, a 4K Note 8 wouldn't need run in 4K mode all the time, the full screen res could be limited to a number of apps where it makes sense.
Other, less outrageous possibilities for the Note 8's display include a move to RGB AMOLED, as opposed to the diamond PenTile arrangement used in the S8. That would increase subpixel density while keeping the resolution the same (because each pixel would be made up of three subpixels, not two.)
Samsung has reportedly been working on integrating a fingerprint scanner directly into its AMOLED screens, a technical feat it wasn't able to achieve in time for the S8 launch. But if this tech is ready in time for the next Note, Samsung would be able to avoid the reachability issues caused by the S8's poorly-placed scanner.
As for the battery, Samsung is unlikely to want to push the capacity too high in the wake of the Note 7's battery issues. What's more, space inside the Note 8 will probably be constrained compared to the Galaxy S8 Plus, because you've got to fit an S Pen in there in addition to all the standard components. For that reason, we wouldn't expect Samsung to push things much higher than the 3,500mAh capacity of the S8 Plus.
When will the Galaxy S8 be announced and released? We only have guesswork to go on so far, but here goes:
A later than usual release for this year's Galaxy S phones might push the Note back from its usual early August announcement window, perhaps in line with a debut at IFA 2017 in Berlin, Germany. A launch event in Germany would be important for the Note line in Europe, which hasn't seen a functional Note launch since 2014's Note 4. (The Note 5, as you may remember, wasn't released in Europe.)
With a refreshed iPhone design expected later in the year, Samsung will be hoping to get its phone on store shelves first, meaning a possible global launch no later than mid-September.
More to come
We're sure to learn more in the months leading up to the Note 8 launch, so stick with us here on Android Central for all the latest.