Galaxy Note: A look back on the turbulent history of Samsung’s smartphone series
In the wake of the Galaxy Note 7, which was discontinued in 2016, Samsung is aiming high with its Galaxy Note 8, due to be presented on August 23, 2017, at a special event in New York. The Note 8 will be the latest in a long series of phablets, which started life in 2011.
Samsung Galaxy Note
At the IFA in Berlin, Samsung created a sensation with the unveiling of its first phablet, a smartphone equipped with a 5.3-inch Super AMOLED HD (800p) screen, which was considered very large at the time. The 3G-and WiFi-compatible device became the first phone in the Galaxy Note series, which differs from the competition in that all models ship with the S Pen stylus. Launched progressively across the world in the fall of 2011, the device, which ran under Android Gingerbread (2.3), was a massive commercial success.
Samsung Galaxy Note II
At the next year’s IFA, Samsung presented an even larger successor to the first phablet with a 5.55-inch screen. More an upgrade than a revolution, the Samsung Galaxy Note II featured a more advanced stylus sensitive to 1,024 levels of pressure, for better handwriting recognition.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Presented in the fall of 2013, the Galaxy Note 3 had a still larger 5.7-inch HD (1080p) display. Features like 4G compatibility and 4K video recording set new standards for performance. It was also the first smartphone to be compatible with the brand’s Galaxy Gear watch, launched at the same time. The following year, Samsung released the Galaxy Note 3 Neo, a more affordable version of this ground-breaking phablet.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
With its 5.7-inch QHD (2.560×1.440 pixel) display and radically improved performance, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 caused a sensation at the 2014 IFA. It was also the first smartphone compatible with Samsung’s new virtual reality headset, the Gear VR, which was sold at a reduced price in a bundle with the phablet. At the same time, Samsung presented the Galaxy Note Edge, with a display that curved over the side of the device, which worked as a sidebar displaying shortcuts and notifications, notably when the device was in sleep mode.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
Announced earlier than expected in the summer of 2015, the Galaxy Note 5 didn’t offer much in the way of innovation and even lacked some of its predecessor’s features like a removable battery and a microSD slot. It was also distinguished by the fact that it was not released in Europe, where Samsung decided to focus its marketing campaigns on the S6 Edge+.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Samsung skipped directly from the Note 5 to the Note 7, which proved to be a disaster. Shortly after its launch, it emerged that the Note 7’s internal battery was prone to overheating and could even explode. The phone was rapidly withdrawn, even before its launch in some countries. Many were disappointed that the device, which was supposed to set new standards for high-end smartphones, had failed to live up to expectations.
The Note 7 broke new ground with an iris scanner that could be used for unblocking and identification. A reconditioned version, christened Galaxy Note Fan Edition (FE), was released in the summer of 2017, in a limited edition currently only available in South Korea.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
In the wake of numerous leaks, few surprises are expected at the launch of the Galaxy Note 8. If all goes according to plan, it will be the first Galaxy Note to release in several countries since the Galaxy Note 4.
Photos posted online show a large display (probably 6.2 or 6.3 inches) with curved sides as well as a new version of the S Pen stylus. The device is expected to feature a dual rear camera with a 2X or 3X optical zoom. Depending on its destination market, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will be equipped with a Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895 processor, 6 gigabytes of RAM and 64 gigabytes of storage (expandable with a microSD card). JB
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