Launch events are about more than confirming what the prolific leak industry has been able to discover. It’s about setting expectations for the general public who don’t follow the rumor mill with the precision of an RSS reader.
It’s about focusing on specific areas of the handset to emphasize the areas where Samsung believes the Note 8 can attract customers. And it’s about positioning the phablet to shape the story of 2017’s smartphone trends to the benefit of the South Korean company.
The one thing I would love Samsung’s DJ Koh to do when he starts the presentation is to walk out on stage and put a fire extinguisher in front of the podium as he seriously deadpans “just in case…” to the world’s press.
That’s never going to happen – the PR message is going to do everything it can to stop drawing attention to the fiery fate of the Note 7, but the smaller battery and conservative spacing inside the hardware addresses that issue. That’s about the only area where the Note 8 could be considered small.
Everything else is definitely going large. From the 6.4 inch screen that dominates the front aspect of the handset to the increased speed in the processor and some variants looking to sport 256 GB of internal storage, the Note 8 is going to push almost every single number in the specifications.
When it reaches stores, the Note 8 is going to be sold as the biggest, fastest, highest performing smartphone in the market.
I’m expecting Samsung to make a lot of noise about the dual camera on the Note 8. Imaging remains one of the key battlefields in the modern smartphone marketing arena.
Samsung already has the edge over the competition in terms of software with the camera on the Galaxy S8. It is later to the dual camera game than the competition which means it will be missing a lot of user feedback available to the competition, but it has had time to do more research and development.
Samsung’s dual camera system appears to be one main camera, with the secondary camera offering a telephoto zoom lens compared to the primary camera. That will allow the dual camera to offer four special features; the use of depth information for a portrait mode, gathering more information to improve low light pictures, 3x optical zoom, and the ability to use the two cameras to create perspective so the picture can be ‘twisted’ by Samsung’s software.
Also, expect Samsung to lean heavily on the enterprise features of the Note 8. From the security minded software for document storage to a mix of fingerprint and biometric facial recognition, the phablet will be pitched as a workhorse device for busy and connected professionals.
That’s going to be enhanced by the S-Pen, arguably the Note 8’s secret weapon. Users who have unlocked the power of Samsung’s stylus know the difference it can make in terms of note taking, user interface tweaks, and navigation.
Plus the South Korean handset can store the stylus in its body, so there are no awkward fabric loops like you see on the Apple Pencil. The S-Pen is going to be the point of the spear that illustrates the Note 8 in the enterprise environment.
Of course, the Note 8 has a lot more going for it. The curve on the screen has been improved to be more functional and less like an annoying sunlight reflector, the fingerprint sensor is still in an awkward position, and the highest specced version may be a South Korean exclusive. But the three key selling points are clear. It is the biggest phone out there, it has the best camera of any smartphone, and it delivers an enterprise focused experience that is unrivaled.
At least I think that’s the message Samsung will be hoping to sell on August 23rd.