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The war of the twin beasts

As the two biggest players in the smartphone market begin their annual battle, here are a few predictions...

brunch Updated: Aug 04, 2018 20:31 IST
Rajiv Makhni
Rajiv Makhni
Hindustan Times
Apple,Samsung,Samsung Note
This was the first Samsung Galaxy Note. The new Note 9 will be strategically launched on August 9 in New York, three weeks before the new iPhones are launched

It’s right around the corner. The war of the two giants. Played out like clockwork every year just about now. The Samsung Note vs the Apple iPhone. It’s about to happen again with the Note 9 and the next iPhone(s) about to be released. And this war has an interesting little story behind it.

The first iPhone was released on 29 June 2007 and was tagged as the first true smartphone ever. Samsung took exactly two more years to release the Samsung GT-I7500 smartphone with an Android operating system on 29 June 2009. In 2010, Samsung wanted to go up the value chain and enter the same premium market that Apple completely dominated. Thus was born the Samsung Galaxy S. Not satisfied with the success of the S, Samsung went with an all-out strategy. A two-pronged attack in the flagship segment with the world’s first phablet with a stylus. The Samsung Galaxy Note was released in October 2011 and was a runaway hit. Apple’s dates for the annual iPhone launch stabilised around September and Samsung, wanting to steal the thunder, changed the Note launch to late August. This year they’ve brought the date down further. Time to explore what each of them may have up their sleeves with my predictions. In this column, I take on the Note 9.

The first iPhone was released on 29 June 2007 and was tagged as the first true smartphone ever

The design

Don’t get your hopes high for a radical departure from the last two Note phones. It’s going to be on those lines. 3D curved surface front and back, colours like black, brown, blue, purple and gold, with a red coming out two months later. The same dimensions as before. Not changing the design could be a problem for Samsung though, as expectations are very high.

Stylus

The stylus will get new colours (matching the colour of the phone), a more angular look, and add on a serious number of capabilities

The killer feature of the Note may well be the game changer. There are strong rumours of this being a bluetooth connected stylus with a speaker and other capabilities built in, but I’m going to call that hogwash. I don’t think it’ll happen this year. The stylus will get new colours (matching the colour of the phone), a more angular look, and add on a serious number of capabilities. Always important for the Note to take the stylus to the next level. It’s what makes it the most unique phone.

Camera

There isn’t going to be a 360-degree VR camera on the Note. Also, the four cameras on the phone is also vapourware. What you’ll get is stellar Samsung quality optics that takes low-light photography, video capability and sensors to a new level.

Specs

Yes, there will be a variant with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of inbuilt storage. There will be a MicroSD card slot to take this even further. Samsung will push that in its message of ‘There can never be enough storage’. There will be a Snapdragon 845 version. The screen will remain the same size and resolution. It’s already one of the best screens on any phone.

This is a concept of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Don’t get your hopes high for a radical departure from the last two Note phones in terms of design

Battery

The last Note wasn’t a battery beast. Samsung may go with a serious powerhouse of a battery built in. It’s these two pillars that it will hit out with as the iPhone still has the problem of slightly poor battery life and no way to add more storage.

Fingerprint scanner

People are claiming they’ve seen the Note 9 with a fingerprint scanner built into the bottom half of the screen. I have two letters for them. BS. Complete lies. The phone will have the scanner and it’ll be at the back. They’ll take it away from the camera and place it where the Galaxy S9 has it, a little lower.

Other big features

The Note has always been about power users. And thus with a dock it could give you a desktop experience. To connect a monitor, keyboard, mouse and other stuff, it needed a DeX Pad dock. With the new Note you may not need anything at all. It’ll have all the connectivity for all that built in with a USB Type C port that does it all. Another very interesting thing is a new add-on Protective Silicone Cover to give it military-grade protection.

The Note 9 will be launched on August 9 in New York and will be available to buy on the 24th. Yes, a whole three weeks before the new iPhones are launched. In my next column I make my predictions on the new iPhones. Double the egg on my face if I get things wrong!

(Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3Techilicious appears every fortnight)

Techilicious appears every fortnight

From HT Brunch, August 5, 2018

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First Published: Aug 04, 2018 20:30 IST