We've certainly been impressed by the Galaxy Note 9 that Samsung unveiled in August, but the smartphone industry never stays still – no sooner is one phone out the door than the speculation starts about its successor (which is no doubt already being worked on).
Header image: TechConfigurations
How is Samsung going to improve on what's essentially the best Android phone on the market? Well, we've already heard a few rumours in that direction, both about the Galaxy Note 10 and about the Galaxy S10 which should launch first. Here's what we know so far.
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Samsung Galaxy Note 10: release date and price
We haven't managed to sneak into any Samsung boardroom meetings lately, but nevertheless it seems a safe bet that the Galaxy Note 10 will break cover in August 2019, a year after the unveiling of the Galaxy Note 9.
Remember we've got the Galaxy S10 phones to come first, which are almost certainly going to show up in February or March of next year. Mobile World Congress is in the calendar for 25-28 February, and Samsung may well use the big industry event to show off its latest and greatest handsets (as it did with the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus).
August would then be six months later, giving each flagship phone half a year to make an impact before the next one arrives. That's the template Samsung stuck to this year and we're not expecting any significant changes.
As for the price of the Galaxy Note 10, you might want to get saving: the Galaxy Note 9 went on sale for £899 / $1,000 for the lowest configuration, and we see no reason for that to drop next year (with phones like the iPhone XS Max pushing prices even higher). This is going to be one premium-level phone, so expect a premium-level price, not least because 5G tech is expected to be included.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10: design
By now we know Samsung's approach to the design of the Galaxy Note series: large handsets, with minimal bezels and curved screens. That means we could be looking at something like the concept phone in this video put together by mobile tech industry designer TechConfigurations, based on the speculation we've seen so far.
If this video is on the mark we're going to be getting a 6.5-inch screen – up from the 6.4 inches of the Note 9, but probably with the same 1440 x 2960 pixel resolution. The bezels have been banished to just about nothing, with a pop-up front-facing camera and an in-screen fingerprint sensor included too.
The concept video treats us to a look at the Note 10 in copper, light blue and purple, though it's a bit too early to speculate on the sort of hues the giant handset is going to come in. Those three choices plus black were the colours for the Note 9, so we might see a similar sort of range in 2019.
We're thinking that a big display dominating the front of the device and a minimal, glass back around the rear is what we should be expecting from the Galaxy Note 10. The Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus should give us some more clues when they show up in the first half of the year, so we'll have a better idea in a few months.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10: specs and features
The codename "da Vinci" is being used for the Galaxy Note 10 inside Samsung, according to recent leaks, which makes us think some kind of reinvention could be on the cards. It might point to a total redesign (da Vinci was famous for his designs), or it might be suggesting that the phone will be better for creatives – the S-Pen got extra Bluetooth powers this year, so is Samsung going to give it another significant upgrade in 2019?
Inside, get ready for the usual specs bump – Qualcomm hasn't announced a Snapdragon 855 or anything like it yet, but whatever the successor to the Snapdragon 845 ends up being, we would expect to see it inside the Galaxy Note 10 (with Samsung's own Exynos equivalent used in some regions). Based on the specs of the Note 9, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage might well be the new normal by the time that next summer rolls around.
There's plenty of unofficial talk that the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 could come packing a triple-lens rear camera, taking its photo-taking capabilities up another notch. What is official is the new Galaxy A7, with three lenses on the back – if Samsung is bringing the tech to its mid-range phones in 2018, it seems like a sensible bet that it's going to be ready for its flagship phones in 2019.
Another piece of important technology that should be ready: 5G capabilities. Again, this is an innovation that's likely to come to the Galaxy S10 phones next year as well as the Galaxy Note 10 – it doesn't really matter that actual 5G networks are still in their infancy, because Samsung still gets the bragging rights and phones that are fully future-proofed.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10: what we want to see
We're still many months away from an actual Galaxy Note 10 launch, and we'd expect plenty more in the way of leaks and tips to appear before the big day. In the meantime, there's no harm in us listing what we hope the new phone brings.
Features we'd like to see, and which Samsung may decide to add, include a bigger battery, maybe as high as 6,000mAh. Remember these big Note screens need a lot of power to keep them running brightly, and even taking the lower power draw of next year's chipsets into consideration, some extra milliamp hours wouldn't go amiss.
It seems unlikely that we'll get any kind of transparent or foldable screen technology on this particular handset, but we can dream. We know that Samsung is working on tech that makes a phone at least semi-transparent, but this kind of cutting-edge innovation may not make it to the Note series this time around.
And what about a super-strong, self-healing screen? We know that Note phones have always been pioneers in terms of their display tech (remember the Note series first introduced the curved screen edges), so the Galaxy Note 10 might well follow that tradition. Samsung already has a patent for the technology, so again it's just a question of whether it'll be ready for 2019.