Samsung executive Lee Young-Hee gave some details about what the company is planning in an interview last month with the Korea Times. The new version of the Galaxy Note, the company’s third, will have “enhanced key features” and keep to a larger screen like its predecessors, he said. According to a Tuesday post from the tech blog Boy Genius Report, the Note is expected to have a 5.7-inch screen — larger than the current model’s 5.5-inch screen — as well as a 2.3 GHz processor, 3 GB of RAM and an eight-core Exynos Octa chipset, making it a very powerful phone indeed. The phone is expected to run Android 4.3, Jelly Bean.
The Note’s larger screen size — and the fact that it comes with a stylus — has been effective for Samsung as it markets the line to fill a niche between a smartphone and a tablet. Larger-screened phones have been particularly popular in Asian countries, said Gartner analyst Angela McIntyre, where consumers prefer that compact tablet size. The stylus, she said, is useful for writing languages that don’t use Roman characters.
With its anticipated smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, Samsung appears to be aiming at another niche audience: health enthusiasts. Fitness trackers have taken off as one of the most popular types of wearable technology. Samsung, which has already introduced health tracking features for its smartphones, is using integration to expand the feature to other devices. According to a report from VentureBeat, the smartwatch hooks in to users’ smartphones and can be used to track data, such as a users’ steps, heart rate and dietary details, thanks to a 4 MP camera mounted in the device.
The smartwatch also offers non-health-related features. The VentureBeat report anticipates WiFi capability, which would allow users to compose short e-mails on their wrists, as well as the ability to connect with social networks such as Facebook.
The watch, according to Lee Young-Hee’s Korea Times interview, won’t sport the flexible screen technology that Samsung showed off at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, and there is some concern that the wearable device will seem too big to be comfortably, or fashionably, worn around the wrist. But with increasing competition from smaller firms such as Pebble and rumors that Apple, Microsoft and Google are all planning to offer smartwatches, Samsung may be more interested in setting trends than in getting it perfect the first time.
Tech companies are setting up for a busy fall and holiday season — with the IFA events all week and Apple’s expected iPhone announcement coming Tuesday (Sept. 10).
Samsung isn’t the only company looking to make a splash with new products this week. Sony also has a big Wednesday event planned ahead of IFA, where the firm is expected to show off new smartphones, cameras, laptop models and even a new version of its wearable “personal viewer,” according to a report from Engadget.