The new Samsung Galaxy Note 9 includes an updated S Pen stylus with Bluetooth to allow users, particularly those in business settings, to use it for a variety of functions.
"The pen has been the cornerstone of what we do on our Galaxy Note devices," said Eric McCarty, vice president of mobile product marketing at Samsung Electronics America, at a Samsung press preview. Samsung revealed the new Galaxy Note 9 to a limited number of journalists at its New York office on August 8, 2018, the day before it officially announced the new flagship phone to the public.
The S Pen first appeared in 2011 on the original Galaxy Note. That initial stylus was primitive in comparison to subsequent models.
Samsung has completely redesigned the S Pen for the Galaxy Note 9, and while writing and drawing continue to be important applications for Samsung, the new S Pen does far more.
SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)
The S Pen now has a Bluetooth low-energy module and antenna and supercapacitor. The supercapacitor allows the user to place the S Pen into the holder on the Galaxy Note 9 for 40 seconds to give it a full charge, providing enough power for 30 minutes of use or clicking the stylus's button up to 200 times.
This is ideal when using the stylus as a remote control for PowerPoint presentations or slideshows, whether directly on the phone or with the Galaxy Note 9 running DeX and connected by a dongle to an external monitor with HDMI. The dongle will be sold separately as an accessory. The phone can also be connected to an external monitor with a multi-port adapter.
The S Pen functions can be customized by simply pressing and holding the button on the side of the stylus to load an application. The chosen default could be the phone's camera, and the user can present a slideshow by pressing the S Pen's button once each time they want to advance to the next image.
The remote control option using the S Pen for the camera could come in handy in business settings where group photos are taken, said Adam Kuhn, national product manager, Samsung Electronics America.
The software development kit (SDK) will be released in September 2018 so developers can customize the experience with apps.
The S Pen is still useable even without Bluetooth connectivity, such as when the phone is in airplane mode, Kuhn said.
Navigation is a key way that people use the S Pen, although this wasn't the original use case. "We didn't design the S Pen with navigating in mind, but that's what a lot of users use the S Pen for: To open applications and hover over applications. That leads to translating, which is a big feature and capability of the device," McCarty said.
Delivery companies can use the S Pen and Galaxy Note 9 for signature capture, and it has the functionality for retailers processing orders, too.
The S Pen also allows users to take notes on the fly through the Screen-Off Memo feature, as well as navigate, translate, and organize notes through Samsung Notes, and send personalized texts through Samsung Live Message, which was first introduced in the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.
Samsung includes the S Pen with the Galaxy Note 9 at no additional charge.
- Samsung Note 9 needs to go more mainstream, leverage S Pen to win vs. Apple, Android rivals (ZDNet)
- The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is a bargain at $1250. Here's why (ZDNet)
- 10 reasons the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is best for business (ZDNet)
- Samsung Galaxy Note: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- Samsung releases Galaxy Note 9: World's first terabyte phone for business pros (TechRepublic)
- Will the Samsung Note 9 suffer the same fate as the Galaxy S9? (CNET)
Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including People, W and Women's Wear Daily.