The Note 9 will be introduced on August 9th in New York. The event has been scheduled, the press has begun receiving invitations and rumors about the phablet are starting to circulate. I, however, cannot find a reason (not one!) to be interested in this device. And please don’t bring up the S-Pen...
A glorious past that can’t be forgotten
The Note series has a long history behind it. The success story started in 2011 with the first Galaxy Note that created a new category of devices and coined the term ‘phablet’. In short, these are smartphones with large dimensions, or at least dimensions that are larger than the other smartphones on the market, but also still smaller than tablets, which back in the day were more popular.
The Notes were conceived as devices designed for professionals, for users struggling with multitasking in general, and last but not least, for gamers (why not?). The original phablets reached important milestones (1 million units of the original device were sold after just two months on the market, to name just one) and proved time and time again to be well-made and high-performing. Expensive? Yes, but for a lot of users they were worth the investment.
Those of you who had a Note 4 know very well what I’m talking about and devices from the Note series have never been easy to replace, especially if you consider the Note 5 was only released in selected markets and the explosive end to the Note 7. The Note 8 can be thought of as the first true successor for Samsung.
I still remember the enthusiasm that the Note Edge generated. It’s the only one of its kind with the curved display. Along the right side you can quickly access your favorite apps, notifications, weather, the time and pedometer. It was beautiful and unique. Sure it was pricey, just like all members of the Note family, but it’s still interesting and exciting. It’s reason enough to save for the device (and to not invest in any other device).
But the world of smartphones has changed...
Has the world of smartphones changed? To me, things are somewhat different nowadays. The Notes don’t really cut it anymore. Phablets aren’t a fad anymore. The smartphones on the market are almost all phablets: the displays are getting bigger and better optimized and are housed within light and thin frames. There are hardly any bezels anymore, and the infamous notch has found ways to house the front camera and sensors (Vivo and Oppo use special mechanisms for the camera, much to the pleasure of notch-haters everywhere).
... the Notes are no longer as interesting as they used to be
So what about the Samsung Galaxy Note series? Yes, it has the S-Pen, which others devices don’t have. But I don’t need a pen everyday. It might be fun for a while, but let me be clear, it’s not really a feature that I need for a smartphone.
The S-Pen surely wasn’t what convinced me to wait for the Note 9, which according to the latest rumors, will make it smarter with new integrated features. Beyond these new features, the Note 9 shouldn’t be a surprise on the design side. It integrates Android Oreo and a processor from the last generation that will surely offer excellent performance, but that’s what I expect from an expensive flagship in 2018.
The device will probably use version 2.0 of Bixby, which manages to be a little more useful, but I’m more than satisfied with Google Assistant and don't feel the need for an additional dedicated button.
Perhaps people have lost interest in the Galaxy Notes since the Note 4. Although the Note 8 did have some success in the US, Korea and Australia, it had a poor show in other important markets, especially Europe. Or perhaps it’s simply the result of the evolution of smartphones, the arrival of new competitors on the market and the success obtained by alternative phablets that perform just as well, such as Huawei’s Mate line (though it comes without a pen).
But to return to the Note 9, it will face some tough competition from a rival device from Honor. Honor’s originally named Note 10 device won’t at the same level, technically speaking, but it’s certainly cheaper.
There's something more exciting out there (for me at least)
Personally, I’m more excited to get my hands on smartphones like the new Vivo Nex, to try the triple camera on the Huawei P20 Pro or the retractable camera on the Oppo Find X. I’d also like to try out the Nokia 8110 4G, the Nokia 8 Sirocco, and take a look at the patents on the foldable devices coming from Samsung and LG.
And mid-range devices have become more and more elegant and have adopted exclusive features that were once reserved only for high-end devices. I think that many users will become more interested in mid-range devices, especially if you consider the impressive benchmarks some of these devices are reaching now.
In short, I don’t have any real reason to wait for the release of the Note 9. But if you’re eyeing the pen, you might have a different idea. Surely the launch event will be as exciting as all the Unpacked events that Samsung has organized, and without a doubt, it will be a great device on the hardware side and it will offer good performance. But it’s not exciting or special enough for me to think: “that smartphone will be mine”.
Are you still faithful to the Samsung Note series? Are you anxiously awaiting the release of the Note 9? If you are, please let us know why in the comments!