Samsung launched Wednesday the Galaxy Note 8 smartphone, the successor to the ill-fated Note 7, with its biggest screen yet, new stylus features, and a bolstered camera.
The South Korean electronics giant is positioning this as a productivity-focused device. Key features include:
- 6.3-inch almost bezel-free “infinity display”
- S Pen stylus with new features
- A two sensor dual camera on the back that allows for increased image capturing ability
- A full hands-on rundown with the device can be read here
The Note category of phones was invented by Samsung and has been a very successful product for the company. But the Note 7 which was launched last year and and subsequently recalled because they were catching fire, was a setback for the product.
Samsung has successfully recovered, however, and is expecting this to be the best Note sold. Speaking to CNBC in an interview ahead of the launch, Samsung’s mobile chief DJ Koh said he has heard anecdotes of fans in South Korea already going into Samsung stores to ask about pre-orders for the Note 8 even though the company hadn’t officially announced the device.
“I cannot disclose the specific number but even I am expecting and confident it will sell more than the Note 5,” Koh told CNBC when asked how many Note 8s the company expects to sell.
Pre-orders for the device begin on Thursday.
Part of Koh’s confidence is thanks to a 3,949 person survey Samsung ran in which 75 percent of people said Note devices were the best phones they had ever had.
“The Note 8 underlines Samsung’s current confidence. It builds on the highly successful S8 and S8+ and draws a clear line under the Note 7 problems. The fact Samsung was prepared to continue using the Note brand shows its belief that there is significant pent up demand for another top of line flagship device alongside the rest of its smartphone portfolio,” Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, told CNBC by email.
“The Note 8 adds a top of the range flagship to Samsung’s smartphone current line-up ahead of Apple’s highly anticipated iPhone 8. With the S8, S8+ and Note 8 there is a strong set of high end products that will appeal to anyone looking for a new Android phone. Furthermore, these devices are certainly good enough to turn the heads of some iPhone owners who fancy trying a different device”.
Apple is expected to launch three new iPhones at a September event.
Samsung has not yet disclosed the prices. Several media reports in the lead up to the event said the device could be priced in excess of $1,000. Koh said that he is still working out the exact pricing but hopes it won’t exceed that figure.
“The basic price …. I do not want to see at $1000,” Koh told CNBC.
The Samsung executive also said he’s confident that the company would be able to meet demand for the product, saying that it was planning for around 10 million units to be made before year end.
Note devices have never been the biggest sellers, but rather are bought by a enthusiastic audience after a high-end device, with a larger screen and productivity features. The Note 5 for example, which was released in September 2015, has sold around 23 million units to date, according to Counterpoint Research. In comparison, the S7 series has sold nearly 70 million units, despite only being released last year. Counterpoint expects between 11 million and 12 million Note 8 devices to be sold this year.
Samsung has seen strong momentum in its smartphone business, which saw sales rise 11 percent year-on-year in the second quarter.