Just in case you might be tempted to forget that Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone 8 (or whatever) won’t be introduced into a world without competing smart phones, Samsung introduced its own attempt to climb to the top of the smartphone market today.
The Note 8 is Samsung’s attempt to recover market share after the debacle of the Note 7. Batteries that burst into fire are never good for sales and Samsung finally had to pull the Note 7 from the market. Which means that Samsung hasn’t really updated its top of the market Note line since 2015.
The new phone is the mark to beat if Apple wants to generate excitement with its own new model this fall. So exactly how snazzy is the Note 8?
Pretty snazzy from early reports.
The phone is large at 6.3 inches and the lack of a bezel lets the display run edge-to-edge, which makes it look even larger. That gives you a lot of real estate for using Samsung’s stylus.
Members of the tech press who have been run through the phone have been wowed by its multitasking. Users can set up shortcuts to quickly open two apps at the same time. So for instance, you can have your email and your calendar both running on your screen at the same time.
Last bit of obvious neat stuff is the work Samsung did with the camera on the Note 8. The software improves the camera’s ability to shoot in very low light and provides a major upgrade in stabilizing the camera in shaky hands. With its dual lenses, the camera takes several shots with each click of the shutter and that allows the user to edit blur or change a close up to a wide angle.
Bixby, Samsung’s voice assistant, remains a work in progress since it works with a limited number of apps. (It does work with Spotify, Apple Music’s intense competitor.)
I haven’t seen reviews that look at battery life. And I’m waiting to see if the strange placement of the finger print reader next to the camera lens is a problem with users.
But this is what the iPhone 8 will be chasing this fall. And, of course, you can expect many of these features to show up in Chinese-made smart phones very quickly.
That’s just the way this market works these days.