LIVE FROM IFA 2014: Samsung announced its anticipated Galaxy Note 4, complete with 2K screen, while also debuting its Galaxy Note Edge, taking its curved screen technology a step further than with its previous Galaxy Round.
With the screen being a key differentiating factor for phablet devices, Galaxy Note 4 becomes one of a handful of devices offering a quad HD (2560×1440) screen. The company said that the 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display “reproduces clearer and more vivid images with deep contrast, better viewing angles, and response time as fast as a millionth of a second”.
And, addressing earlier criticism about the build quality of Samsung’s premium devices, the Galaxy Note 4 features a “premium metal frame with fluid curvature that seamlessly blends with device display”. This echoes the design of the Galaxy Alpha, announced recently.
The vendor also said that a “refined” multi-window feature gives the “key to easier multitasking”.
Samsung has updated its S-Pen stylus, to deliver what the vendor claims is a more authentic pen experience and more user-friendly “air command” features.
In addition, the Galaxy Note 4 includes a camera which the company said is “able to reproduce brighter and clearer images”. It has a 16MP rear-facing camera with smart optical image stabiliser that automatically balances camera shake and automatically extends exposure time in dark settings.
It also has a 3.9 megapixel front-facing camera.
Other features of Galaxy Note 4 include an improved fingerprint scanner and “the world’s first UV sensor in a mobile device”. Versions powered by two different processors (2.7GHz quadcore, 1.9GHz octacore) have been listed, as has a unit with category 6 LTE support (supporting 300Mb/s peak download speed).
Availability in global markets is slated for October.
IHS Technology’s Ian Fogg described the Note 4 as “a straight evolution of 2013’s Note 3… It’s a solid update. But there is little in the Note 4 which will change the trajectory of Galaxy Note shipments.”
The device features a screen which wraps around to the side of the device, enabling users to gain quick access to frequently used apps, alerts, and device functionality, even when the cover is closed.
Users can also receive notifications on the edge screen even when viewing videos on the main part of the display.
“The Galaxy Note Edge is a more striking device which is visibly more differentiated from other smartphone markers’ devices because of its curved screen,” noted IHS’ Fogg. “Unlike previous curved screen smartphones, such as the LG Flex, the Galaxy Note Edge screen delivers practical benefits. But to maximise the differentiation, Samsung will need third party app developers to support the edge display.” Fogg added that Samsung should chose to offer the edge display on most of its portfolio, and so create a large attractive installed base for app developers.
What will be interesting to see is the speed and scale of the rollout for Galaxy Note Edge: the earlier Galaxy Round did not see full global availability.
But the device does at least see Samsung breaking new ground in terms of form factor, with the bragging rights that go alongside.
Samsung said Galaxy Note Edge will be available “in select markets through Samsung’s retail channels, e-commerce and carriers later this year”.