Now that we've all got over the excitement of the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus, it's time to think about what Samsung is planning next – and it's almost certain that they're working on another Note device, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
In recent years (see the Galaxy Note 8, pictured above), Samsung has used the Note line to develop an even bigger, even more powerful, even more expensive, stylus-equipped phone to go alongside the Galaxy S handsets, and all the indications are that 2018 will follow the same template.
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Like the Galaxy S phones... but better
To get a better idea about what's coming with the Galaxy Note 9, just take a look at the Galaxy S phones that Samsung just launched – the bigger handset is likely to be much the same, with a few minor improvements here and there.
In terms of raw power, we'd expect the same Exynos 9810 or Snapdragon 845 chips to be running under the hood (depending on your region), just as they are in the S9 and the S9 Plus. The S9 Plus now matches the 6GB of RAM that came with the Note 8, and it's unlikely Samsung will go any higher this year.
As far as screen size goes, the Note 9 may well match the 6.3 inches of the Note 8, just a shade bigger than the S9 Plus. The bezels could shrink even further, though they were already very small on the 2017 model anyway.
The Note 8 had a decent camera upgrade so the Note 9 is likely to have a more minor camera bump, probably matching the dual-sensor 12MP+12MP rear-facing camera of the S9 Plus, together with the repositioned fingerprint scanner.
And it will of course come with a stylus, the signature feature of the Note line-up, so you'll be able to do all the usual tricks – like put handwritten notes on the lock screen. Together with these slight improvements and increase in size, expect the price to go higher than the £869/$840 Samsung is asking for an unlocked S9 Plus.
Rumoured new hardware features
Most of the speculation about the Note 9 centres around what might happen with the display. There's been plenty of talk that the phone will be the first major handset to embed a fingerprint reader under the screen, which would certainly be a coup and free up some space on the back of the device too.
This is by no means confirmed though – it sounds like Samsung is working as hard as it can to get a fingerprint scanner under the screen of the Note 9, but it's going to have to pass a lot of rigorous tests first, and if it doesn't work perfectly then the company isn't going to lose too much by saving it for its 2019 handsets instead
Based on a leaked patent we've seen though, Samsung wants to go even further than that, putting the front-facing camera, the iris scanner and the face recognition system under glass as well. That would mean the whole of the front of the Note 9, more or less, would be given over to the screen.
It's a tantalising prospect but we're going to have to wait and see whether Samsung's engineers can get the technology perfected in time. As we've said, the rest of the hardware should match the S9 phones closely, though the battery might get a boost above last year's 3,300mAh – is two-day battery life too much to hope for?
Rumoured new software features
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 may not be official yet, but it's clearly going to follow the lead of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus and come with Android 8.0 Oreo on board – with the extra layer of Samsung tweaks on top, of course. That's going to be followed quickly by Android P, maybe even by the end of the year.
Oreo offers improved notification management and battery optimisations, though there aren't too many obvious bells and whistles that you're going to see in the jump up from Nougat (if that's what you're already on).
Samsung executives have hinted that Bixby 2.0 is coming down the pipe and may well launch alongside the Note 9 device in the summer – so look out for more intelligent responses to your questions, a more natural flow of conversation, and probably a handful of extra talents on top.
With the Galaxy S9 earning some rave reviews at the moment, it's perhaps no surprise that Samsung is going to stick to the winning formula for the Note 9, and there's not going to be much to choose between the S9, S9 Plus and Note 9 when the final device launches.
That's going to be especially true on the software side – though as we've said, the Note 9 will come with a stylus, so look out for extra options like lock screen handwriting support and the option to highlight and translate text with the S Pen.
We're looking forward to seeing what Samsung has prepared for us in the coming months, and of course as soon as we've got some official news or some unofficial leaks to share, we'll report them here.