The Galaxy Note 5 landed as Samsung’s latest flagship phablet back in mid-2015, and over the last few months the rumor mill has started to spin up new ideas about what we may see in the Note 6, including the possibility that it may be called the Galaxy Note 7. Here’s what we’ve heard so far about what the next-generation Samsung phablet will offer.
Note 7 accessories begin to ship
If the cat wasn’t out of the bag regarding Samsung’s forthcoming Note 7 handset, it is now. Case manufacturer Olixa has begun to ship accessories designed for the new handset. It features ports for a dock connector, fingerprint sensor, a camera cut-out, and the Note series’ signature S Pen stylus.
The computer-generated renders of the cases are potentially more revealing than the cases themselves. They appear to show the Galaxy Note 7 with a curved screen and dual rear-facing cameras. It is entirely possible that the images are tentative, of course, but they’re the best encapsulation of Note 7 rumors we’ve seen.
Samsung leaks the Note online
It seems as though not even Samsung can keep itself from leaking details about the Galaxy Note 7. The new device has been named on a Samsung User Agent Profile (UAP) page as the SM-N930F.
The UAP may not make specific mention of the Note 7, but considering the fact that the Galaxy Note 4 had the model number SM-N910 and the Note 5 was the SM-N920, it’s a fairly safe assumption to make that the next device in the lineup will be called the SM-N930. The F on the end of the name normally refers to the European model of the phone.
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Unfortunately, the page doesn’t show anything beyond the name just yet, but presumably it will offer more details after the launch of the phone. There isn’t any listing on the page for the rumored Lite or Edge models, but those could appear later on.
An early August launch date
Last year, we saw the Note 5 launch in August, several weeks before the typical September Unpacked event that coincides with the annual IFA tech convention in Berlin. This year, we may see an even earlier unveil date, if the latest rumors prove true.
According to SamMobile, the Galaxy Note 7 will be announced at an event on August 2. The site published an event invitation showing the date, along with the words “The next edge is just around the corner,” and calling the event “Galaxy Unpacked 2016.” The image may show a further hint the phone will be named the Note 7.
Previously, phone leaker @evleaks tweeted on June 2 that the Galaxy Note 7 was “almost exactly two months away” from release, which fits in with the invitation above.
This follows a tweet he sent in May, saying the Galaxy Note 6 could launch as early as the week of August 15.
If the leak is correct, then Samsung may have brought forward the Galaxy Note 7’s launch date slightly, targeting the beginning of the month rather than the middle, perhaps not to clash with popular vacation times in many parts of the world.
The reason Samsung may opt for an earlier Note 6 launch may lie in the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge’s success, with Samsung revising its earnings forecasts due to “better than expected operating profit” from the Galaxy S7, according to an analyst speaking to Bloomberg in April. In the same piece, Strategy Analytics Neil Mawston said, “We expect Samsung to release the Note 6 a month or two before the Apple iPhone 7.”
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Traditionally, new iPhone models arrive between September and November each year, which puts the potential Note 6 launch between July and October, depending on Samsung’s level or preparation. Previously, unnamed sources familiar with the matter told The Bell, a Korean website, that Samsung could launch the Galaxy Note 6 in the middle of July.
Again, this is a rumor that we can’t verify, so take it with a grain of salt.
An Edge and Lite version only?
Samsung used to have just one Galaxy Note each year, but it’s created variants in recent years. Rumors hint that Samsung may shake things up in 2016, and may not release a standard flat version at all.
Samsung hasn’t released an Edge version of the Galaxy Note since 2014, when it was announced alongside the Galaxy Note 4. The Korea Herald reported at the end of June the company may change this for the Note 7, and only release an Edge model, foregoing a flat-screen model entirely. According to the anonymous sources, the Note 7 will have a dual-curved edge display, like the Galaxy S7 Edge.
It’s not the first time we’ve heard about an Edge Note 7. The last indication one may arrive came from a leaked render showing a large phone with a dual-edge screen like the Galaxy S7 Edge.
The render has a very similar style to the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, with less curvy corners than the S7 range, and both a camera lens hump and flash/heart rate sensor array next to it on the rear. The render clearly shows a dual-edge screen design, and suggests the phone will be 7.8mm thick, slightly more than the Galaxy Note 5. While the authenticity of the render cannot be verified at this stage, it may have been the first hint the Note 7 will only be sold as an Edge model.
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Prior to this, a listing from the Zauba import site in late May hinted an Edge Note 7 would be produced, showing a part called a metal mask entered India for a smartphone with a model number of SM-N935G,
Nobody knows for sure what phone SM-N935G represents, but if you consider the Galaxy Note 5 had a model number of SM-N920 and the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge had model numbers of SM-G930 and SM-G935, respectively, it’s easy to conclude that “935” represents the next Note phone. However, it’s more than likely to be an Edge version because the non-Edge version would presumably be SM-N930. The letter “G” in the listing is likely referring to either a region, carrier, or variant based on different specs.
The Edge version may be joined by a Lite model. According to a leak in early May on the popular Chinese social media site Weibo, Samsung might be prepping a second version of the next Note that some are referring to as the Galaxy Note 6/7 Lite.
According to the leak, this phone will be the same size as the Note, but won’t be as powerful, in an effort to make it more economical. Although the display would be the same size as Note, this lite version could get a drop in resolution to 1080p or 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. It might be powered by the Snapdragon 820 or 821, which is the same processor used in the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. And finally, instead of a whopping 6GB of RAM, the Note Lite could get 4GB, which is still very high considering the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have the same.
Smartphone manufacturers generally use more midrange specs when offering a more economical version of a phone, so we are a little surprised at how good these rumored specs are. Of course, all of this is just a rumor, so not only is it unknown if Samsung is really working on such a phone, but the specs could very well be different in the final product as well.
What will it be called?
Since 2011, there have been five Galaxy Note phones and each one was named based on its sequential version. So it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the next Galaxy Note phone should be called the Galaxy Note 6. That would seem logical, but according to a report out of Korea in late May, Samsung has different plans. Supposedly, the next Note phone will be called the Galaxy Note 7 instead.
This might sound crazy at first, but Samsung seems to have thought this one through. Although the next Galaxy Note phone will actually be the sixth version, the fact that the Galaxy S series is in its seventh version might cause consumers to think a Note 7 is inferior to a Galaxy S7. Every spring, Samsung releases a new Galaxy S phone, but each new Note is always one number behind when it’s released several months later in the fall. It has been this way ever since the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 were both released in 2012.
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A move to skip a generation would certainly simplify things, but one has to wonder why Samsung didn’t make the change sooner since this issue has been going on for a few years. It’s possible the company has been contemplating the move for a while, but it’s also possible that since this year’s iPhone will most likely be called the iPhone 7, the company decided it no longer makes sense to have a version number lower than Apple’s flagship phone. Samsung would be simplifying its own product portfolio and squashing any thought that the next Galaxy Note is subpar to the iPhone 7. Also, assuming Apple continues to use the “S” designation every other year, both the S series and Note series would always have a version number higher than the iPhone moving forward.
In the phablet department, Samsung has experimented with screen sizes anywhere from 5.7 to 6 inches and beyond for its device displays. While the Note series has been consistently 5.7 inches in size for some time, the same rumor suggesting 6GB of RAM is also showcasing a slightly larger 5.8-inch display for the Note 7. According to the rumor, the Quad-HD Super AMOLED display will get a fraction of an inch larger screen with the same resolution.
In the processing department, the Note 7 is reportedly no slouch.
A leak in late June on Chinese social media site Weibo suggests the upcoming handset sports a 2.7GHz Exynos 8893 octa-core processor “in some markets,” and Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin reported that the upcoming handset would feature 6GB of RAM.
Phones with 6GB of RAM aren’t exactly commonplace, but they’re not new either. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 is rumored to have 6GB of RAM, but it may beat the competition if the Korean tech giant uses its latest 6GB LPDDR4 DRAM chip.
Before this, there were other hints that the Note 7 would use 6GB of RAM, according to a Chinese blog.
The chip was unveiled at a mobile conference last week, according to The Next Rex, and uses a 10-nanometer manufacturing process, which allows the smaller chip to use less battery. The timing of this move could point to the company using this chip in the Note 7, which is rumored to launch in a few months. Of course, Samsung could also hold off on using the chip for a later device, so take this information as mere speculation.
The Note 7’s battery capacity remains a mystery, but reports from Weibo suggest the handset will pack a 4,000mAh battery — a capacity larger, it’s worth noting, than the Galaxy Note 5’s 3,000mAh pack. That contradicts Murtazin, who pegged the Note 7’s capacity at 3,600 mAh. But those numbers could change between now and the handset’s release date.
Some other features rumored in Weibo include a 12-megapixel camera with something called “Super OIS,” a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, as well as 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB of storage and a microSD slot. And Samsung’s rumored to introduce a new model of its Note-specific S Pen stylus.
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Many Galaxy fans were disappointed that Samsung didn’t utilize a USB Type-C port in the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. Since most manufacturers have already made the switch, it seems more than likely the Korean giant will do the same very soon. Good news! Sam Mobile reported in early May that the Galaxy Note 7 could be Samsung’s first phone with such a port.
It’s unclear whether it’ll be USB 3.1 or something older. We’re hopeful that if this rumor is true, Samsung will go with 3.1 since it would be able to transmit HDMI or Display Port video signals and support fast charging.
In an unrelated note, the adoption of a Type-C connector could mean that a new Gear VR is on the horizon since the existing headset only works with Micro USB.
Samsung always makes its Note hardware special, and ensures there’s plenty of power inside too. While the Snapdragon 820 is used in the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, there are rumors the Note 7 may use a revised version of the chip known as the Snapdragon 823, which will apparently run at speeds up to 3GHz.
But there’s no evidence Qualcomm is working on such a processor, and there has been no official announcements yet.
New software features
With every Galaxy Note phone comes new software features, and the Note 7 will be no exception. A rumor in early May suggests Samsung is working on a new app calledSamsung Focus.
Focus appears to take cues from BlackBerry Hub in that it incorporates a bunch of apps in one place. However Samsung looks to be emphasizing productivity apps rather than messaging apps.
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Samsung Focus will show all your calendar appointments, emails from multiple accounts, and memos for all your reminders. It will also categorize all of this information per contact and allow you to manage notifications by priority contacts or keywords. Click here to read more about it.
In terms of the Galaxy Note 7’s underlying operating system, the reports are a bit contradictory. Weibo leaks indicate that the new handset will ship running Android 6.0.1, Android Marshmallow, but according to The Bell’s sources, it’ll actually sport Android N — the latest version of Android publicly available. It’s quite possible, considering Google surprised everyone when it released the Developer Preview for the upcoming Android version early — Google said it hopes to finish and hand off Android N to manufacturers in the summer. That means it’s easily in the realm of possibility that the Galaxy Note 7 could be one of the first phones to come equipped with Android’s latest operating system.
Waterproofing and an iris scanner
Rumors continue about the next Samsung phablet, and these latest reports suggest a new set of interesting features for the Note 7. We may very well see water resistance come to the Note 7, reports SamMobile and Murtazin.
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Since IP68 water resistance come to the Galaxy S7 this past fall, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Samsung bring the same protection to its larger phablet — indeed, Murtazin wrote in a blog post that the Galaxy Note 7 sports a coating resistant to liquid. It was already surprising that the Note 5 didn’t offer any water resistance, after Samsung opted for a sealed battery and removed the MicroSD card slot from the phablet last September. If the Note 7 gets IP68 water resistance, the device would be able to withstand 30 minutes under up to 3 feet of water — just like the Galaxy S7.
SamMobile also reported rumors that an iris scanner may add more security to the Note 7. Leaked renders show a rear-facing camera paired with iris-scanning tech, and an scanner recently appeared on a list of materials purchased for research and development, the publication reported. According to the Korea Herald, Korean imaging company Patron will supply the sensors following a bid it won “months ago.”
Of course, even if Samsung is researching iris scanners, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Note 7 will feature an iris scanner. However, the addition of the eye-scanning tech wouldn’t be surprising, either. Samsung recently debuted the Galaxy Tab Iris, a smartphone equipped with an iris scanner, in India, and the company, as a rule, generally likes to differentiate itself from the crowd with tech like Samsung Pay. It’s still speculation at best, though, so don’t hold your breath for a Windows Hello-like unlocking experience just yet.
We’ll keep our eyes peeled and let you know as learn more new rumors and news about the next Galaxy Note.
Updated on 06-29-2016 by Kyle Wiggers: Added rumor of 3,600 mAh battery and info regarding leaked accessories.