Now that the Galaxy S4 is official, we can all take a step forward in time and look at what Samsung will bring to the table with the Galaxy Note 3.
The Note series can be largely credited for making phablets a feasible proposition. The first Note was an unusually big handset for its time, but now phones with displays measuring 5 inches and even larger ones have become ubiquitous. The Note 2 perfected some of the tricks that the Note could perform and the S-Pen became an even more powerful navigational tool. The company also expanded the Note portfolio by launching two tablets, the Galaxy Note 10.1 (Note 810 in India) and the Note 8.0 (Note 510 in India).
According to one report, Samsung will show off the new Galaxy Note this week to executives of AT&T, one of the company’s most important clients in the United States. "Samsung will release a mock-up of the Note 3 during a senior-level meeting with AT&T this week in Suwon, on the outskirts of Seoul, where the firm’s technology complex is located," an executive at Samsung’s main parts supplier told Korea Times.
A Galaxy Note 3 concept (Image credit: Twrix)
So what can we expect from the Galaxy Note 3 in terms of specs and software features? We have some idea through the rumours and speculation. Let’s have a look.
Many rumours have so far suggested that Samsung will go with a 5.9-inch OLED display with a full HD resolution. The company was in the process of mass producing 5-inch OLED displays for the Galaxy S4 as well, but faced some difficulties with that particular panel. However, by the time the Galaxy Note 3 is ready to be announced, the issues are expected to be smoothed over. Speculation is that the Galaxy Note 3 will make an entry by late 2013, in time for the IFA show in Berlin.
Another theory is that Samsung will push the Galaxy Note 3’s display beyond 6-inches. A 6.3-inch full HD display would put it dangerously close to tablet territory. To avoid building a very large handset, Samsung may fit the display in a smaller body, just like it managed to do with the S4. The Galaxy S4 has a larger display than the S3, but it’s been fitted into a body that’s smaller and thinner than the 2012 flagship.
Another hint of a potential 6.3-inch display comes from the Galaxy S4 microsite, which shows details of the many accessories one can buy for the recently-launched phone. In the description for the gaming pad, Samsung mentions that the accessory will be able to take devices with screen size up to 6.3-inches, leading us to believe that might be the actual screen size of the next-generation Note.
Could look like the Galaxy S4
Samsung generally bases the Note’s design on the Galaxy S flagship of the year. It happened with the original Note and the Note 2. So don’t expect too much difference between the Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy S4 in terms of design and build of the phone. It is likely that Samsung will make the Note 3 less curvaceous and we could also see a flat back panel and less-prominent rounded edges.
As far as other hardware is concerned, Samsung will likely bring an improved S-Pen stylus with the Note 3. The Galaxy Note 8.0, which was announced at February’s MWC, has a pen that can also operate the capacitive buttons on the tablet. This will most likely be carried over for the next Note smartphone as well.
If we had to take a punt as to what other S-Pen features one can expect in the Note 3, then in our estimate, the new stylus will also allow users to interact with objects without touching the screen. In the Galaxy S4, Samsung added Air Gestures, which allows users to browse through pictures, opened tabs and other lists by swiping their hand in front of the screen. In theory, this can be adapted for the S-Pen as well, since the Note 2 already had the Air View function for floating touch.
Just like the Galaxy S4, we expect the Note 3 to have a Exynos 5 Octa SoC. This particular CPU is based on the big.LITTLE architecture, developed by British chipset designer ARM. It features four ARM Cortex-A7 cores and four Cortex-A15 cores, which alternate processing duties depending on the task at hand. This arrangement is said to provide high performance without adversely affecting battery life. Besides this, the Note 3 could also have Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 or 800 CPUs, which have integrated LTE support.
May feature the Exynos 5 Octa processor
Of course, this is just how we expect the Galaxy Note 3 to be like, based on rumour and speculation and some Samsung-specific trends. The final device, when it releases, could be entirely another beast. What do you guys want to see in the Note 3? Let us know in the comments.