Samsung today today introduced the new Galaxy Note 8 smartphone and sought to turn the page from the Note 7 debacle that saw the company recall the phones after “battery cell issues” caused devices to explode or burn while charging.
Samsung started off the event by mentioning the problems it had with the Note 7 at a press conference in New York, without going into detail about how it will prevent the same issues from recurring. Samsung then dove into the new design and features in the Note 8, which will be released Sept. 15.
A short video briefly detailed issues with the Note 7 and highlighted fan loyalty to Samsung and the device. DJ Koh, president of Samsung Mobile, said, “none of us will ever forget what happened last year,” and went on to thank Note fans for sticking with Samsung and waiting for the next device.
Perhaps the biggest change for the Note 8 is a pair of rear-facing cameras, one for wide-angle shots and another that is a telephoto lense. The cameras have a variety of features to take better photos, including image stabilization for both cameras, as well as the ability to edit the background only in a photo.
Samsung executives said the Note 8 has the largest screen of any Note, and it will include the Infinity Screen that goes all the way to the edge, a feature that debuted with the Galaxy S8.
Samsung has found a few new ways to use the big screen. Split screening to run multiple apps at once is not a new concept for smartphones, but on the Note 8, users can create a shortcut with two apps tied together.
“That means as soon as I get in my car I can pull up maps and music in just one touch,” said Justin Denison, senior vice president of product strategy for Samsung.
All these new features require some serious processing and storage power. The Note 8 has 6 GB of RAM, and the phones have 64 GB of memory, as well as an SD cart slot to expand capacity.
Samsung didn’t give much detail about price or preorder timing at the event. T-Mobile said it will offer the phone, with a full retail price of $930, for $210 down and $30 a month on T-Mobile’s Equipment Installment Plan, or $0 down and $39 on the Jump on Demand plan. The phone will be available for pre-order on T-Mobile starting at 9:01 p.m. tonight.
The new device has a local tie-in as Seattle startup Hiya will integrate its caller ID, spam detection and business search services into the Galaxy Note 8. Hiya, which spun out of Seattle-based Whitepages last year, powered a feature new in the Samsung Galaxy S8 that allowed users to search businesses within the phones native dialer screen.