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Samsung launches Galaxy Note 8 hoping to extinguish Note 7 memories

The new Samsung Galaxy Note 8, the most important big smartphone in the company’s history, is launching in New York today, hoping to right the wrongs of last year’s “exploding” Note 7 and tempt people away from rivals with a new dual-camera system and massive “infinity display”.

The Note 8 looks to rekindle Samsung’s dominance of the so-called “phablet” category, which the company invented with 2011’s original Galaxy Note, featuring the same winning formula that made its predecessors a success until the Note 7 debacle: big screen, big specs, long battery life and an advanced stylus to “get things done”.

The Note 8 runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat, has a 6.3in quad HD+ infinity display with a similar minimal-bezel design to that of the Galaxy S8+, dual 12-megapixel cameras on the back and plenty of biometric security options to choose from, including a fingerprint scanner, iris scanner and facial recognition.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

DJ Koh, president of Samsung mobile, said: “We appreciate the relentless passion of the Note community. They’ve been a constant inspiration to us and we designed the new Note for them. From the Infinity Display to the smarter S Pen and the most powerful Dual Camera, the Galaxy Note 8 lets people do things they never thought were possible.”

But the Note 8’s biggest challenge is to displace the memories of the Note 7 that ended in a wholesale recall, leaving fans disappointed and would-be buyers wary of a repeat performance.

Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight, said: “It’s a testament to Samsung’s stubbornness and determination that the launch of the Note 8 cements its position as the leading Android smartphone maker, drawing a clear line under the Note 7 problems.”

Samsung had a similar problem with the well-received Galaxy S8 line of devices, which were the first top-end devices to be launched by the company after the Note 7’s failure. At the time it trumpeted a new eight-point battery safety check and a recommitment to extensive quality control to try and help alleviate buyers’ worries.

With the Note 8, Samsung is pushing independent safety testing firm UL International as its quality assurance step. Sajeev Jesudas, president of UL International, said that the Note 8 passed a “rigorous series of device and battery safety compatibility test protocols”.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8

The Note 8 also supports the company’s DeX accessory that turns the smartphone into a computer with monitor, keyboard and mouse support, and multi-tasking using two apps side-by-side on the smartphone.

Two is better than one

Arguably more important for Samsung is the company’s introduction of its first dual-camera system on the Note 8. Where rivals such as LG, Huawei and recently Apple, have equipped various smartphones with two cameras on the back that work in conjunction to produce better photos, Samsung has stuck to a single camera solution until now.

It is Apple’s anticipated new iPhone, expected in September, that will be Samsung’s biggest challenge. The two companies have been fighting over the “floating voter” of smartphone buyers – the roughly 20% of owners who would ever consider switching platforms from Android to iOS and visa versa.

Wood said: “By launching the Note 8 now, Samsung gets the oxygen of publicity ahead of Apple’s highly anticipated iPhone 8. Samsung will be hoping that a trio of competitive high-end products – the Note 8, S8 and S8+ – will appeal to anyone looking for a new Android phone. Furthermore, these devices are certainly good enough to turn the heads of a few iPhone owners who fancy a trying a different device.”

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will come have 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage with a microSD card slot for adding more, Bluetooth 5.0 and will come in black and gold in the UK, with grey and blue colour variants in other regions. It will cost £869 and is available for pre-order from today, shipping on 15 September.


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