Samsung has something to prove. Something big. 6.3" to be precise.
Today the company unveiled the Galaxy Note8, its flagship mobile device aimed at business and professional users and successor to the disastrous Note7. And indeed the device ships with a collection of features likely to impress business users. The Note8's Infinity Display has 15% more viewable area than previous models, and the phone is powered by an Octa core 64 bit 10 nm processor, 6GB RAM, and 64GB of storage that's expandable up to 256GB.
In many ways the Note8 is a symbol of the consumerization of the enterprise, and the device will test resilience of both Samsung's brand and mobile product line. The product is equipped with a dual rear camera, designed for both wide-angle and telephoto shots. The screen and redesigned S-Pen stylus are water and dust resistant and are compatible with Samsung's new Screen Off Memo mode for quick note-taking.
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Knox 2.9 isn't sexy, but Samsung's in-house encryption module provides stronger data security, enhanced user flexibility within a secure folder, better controls for IT admins, an enhanced UX, and a frictionless deployment feature that eases remote administration. Coupled with the two forms of biometric security—the phone has an iris and a fingerprint scanner—Knox remains a best-in-class security solution for the enterprise.
Last summer the company suffered a Titanic meltdown when batteries for the Note 7 overheated en masse resulting in widespread recalls. Though many technology analysts predicted Samsung might not recover from the debacle, a company spokesperson expressed confidence, citing "strong latent demand" for the Note8.
The 3300mAh "all day" battery is likely to be the most scrutinized component of the device. To head off fears that the phone might suffer a repeat of the battery issues that plagued the Note7, Samsung subjected the new phone to an 8-point battery safety check that included durability testing, examining the charge and discharge cycle, an X-Ray test, disassembly tests, voltage testing, and diverse use case testing. The company also had the battery evaluated by third-party expert Underwriters Laboratories.
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"We have been closely working with Samsung to make meaningful advancements in the science of smartphone quality and safety evaluation," said Sajeev Jesudas, SVP and president, UL Consumer in a statement. "As a result, the Note8 has successfully completed a rigorous series of device and battery safety compatibility test protocols. We look forward to maintaining our strategic relationship with Samsung to help ensure device safety for all consumers."
DeX, a dock reminiscent of the Microsoft Display Dock, might be the Note8's sleeper killer business feature. When attached to a display, DeX allows the Note8 to become a desktop workstation. Unlike Microsoft's Display Dock, DeX is fluid, fast, and functional. When connected to DeX, the Note8's Android 7.1 OS resembles a typical office workstation. When detached, applications continue running in the Note8's mobile mode. Though it remains to be seen how the device handles a plethora of real-world office tasks, in a demonstration, video and audio editing applications ran well alongside Word and Excel.
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"[The business community] has been a constant inspiration to us, and we designed the new Note for them," said DJ Koh, president of Samsung's Mobile Communications Business in a statement. The stakes are undoubtedly high for the company. Core Note8 users have high expectations for the new device, and Samsung is equally excited to bury the Note7 controversy.
We'll find out if the company can deliver next month. Pre-orders for the Note8 start August 24th and the phone will be available unlocked and on contract in the U.S. on September 15th from AT&T, C Spire, Cricket Wireless, Sprint, Straight Talk Wireless, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless, and Xfinity Mobile. The Note8 will also be available at Samsung.com, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart.
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Dan Patterson has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Dan is a Senior Writer for TechRepublic. He covers cybersecurity and the intersection of technology, politics and government.