Marketing manager Michelle knows more than she’ll admit. But what makes me so sure? Yesterday the picture above popped up on my newsfeed. It came from a random Twitter account that had been retweeted countless times. The original post had more text and logos. As a general rule, I’m not allowed to post stuff like that, as it breaks internal image guidelines. The rule at digitec is only pictures without text. However, as the image is relevant to the story, I can make an exception.
The original image
It looks like someone has used Photoshop to add a blue pen to a PR image of the Galaxy S8 that has been flipped 90°. Is it real or fake? I ask Michelle Oehri. Update 21 July 2017: The image is real. Source: Twitter
When she saw the picture, she mumbled awkwardly: «Oh… that.»
It was as if she’d already seen it. My desk is hardly a few meters from hers and we do work closely on projects, but she deals with suppliers while my job is to share information and content. This means she often knows about things I’m still in the dark about.
«Michelle, have you seen the picture before?»
«I might have.»
She dodges the question and gives vague answers, no matter how I phrase it. The penny drops.
«Have you signed a non-disclosure agreement?»
«I might have done. I sign a lot of these things. I may have signed one with Samsung.»
If I’m not mistaken, she once mentioned Samsung reps were going to be dropping by. But as I’m prone to skipping meetings and am sometimes not invited, I could have just ignored that one.
What I know for sure is Michelle can’t be bribed. Not with all the biscuits, chocolate or coffee in the world. Darn it. Well, all that leaves is the primitive method. I gather all the rumours I can and put them to Michelle to see how she reacts.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is rumoured to launch at the end of August.
Samsung presents its devices a few weeks or even a few months ahead of their release date. Assuming sales start at the end of August, the world would get to see them around that time or even earlier. We wouldn’t have missed that.
The picture on my Twitter feed confirms that Samsung has something brewing for the end of August.
That makes me conclude they’ll either present the product at the end of August or wait until IFA, as this is around the end of August anyway.
Will the Note 8 be available in the digitec shop at the end of August?
«It might. But it might not,» she says absently.
This makes me think the Note 8 won’t come out at the end of August. Instead, they’ll probably just introduce it then.
This isn’t something that has been hinted – it’s a pattern I’ve noticed. You could say I’m spreading a rumour of my own. I’m pretty sure that even if they don’t launch a new VR headset the same day as the phone, it won’t follow far behind.
Traditionally, the Note series is bigger than the Plus series. What this means is the VR gear – Samsung’s current VR glasses – will be too small for the device. That wouldn’t be so bad if the Note 8 wasn’t meant to be the flagship phone and intended for power users.
The Galaxy S8+ clipped into the headset
The S8+ fits perfectly into the headset, but if it was just a few millimetres bigger, you wouldn’t be able to clip it in.
Will there be a new VR headset?
«There might. But there might not,» she says.
The way Michelle reacts makes me think there won’t be a new headset. But I’m still convinced they’ll launch something.
The Note series is making waves for consistently including the stylus with their devices. This means fans of the smartphone pen can well and truly get their money’s worth.
Up until now, all Notes have come with a stylus. It is one of the features buyers value most. I doubt Samsung will just launch a larger smartphone without including a unique feature.
Does the Note 8 come with a stylus?
«It might. But it might not,» she says. For a split second, I think I detect a slight smile dart across her face. This can be interpreted in two ways:
I can confirm the Note 8 will launch with a stylus.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 had one or two manufacturing defects that caused the battery to catch fire. The scandal led to the Note 7 being recalled for safety reasons.
If rumours are to be believed, the Note 8 will be quicker, hotter and more likely to explode than its predecessor.
The Internet laughed at the Note 7’s explosive feature and to this day, people are still cracking jokes about it. Sadly, the witty remarks don’t get better the more I hear them. iPhone disciples were ecstatic when they heard the news. Because reasons.
At the Mobile World Congress last February, Samsung presented its new safety concept at what was probably the event’s most interesting press conference.
Samsung tried to put the focus on giving customers what they wanted. Because, as the speaker pointed out, they had been falling short of quality expectations for the last few months. The sentences he read out were constructed in such a way that neither the word ‘Note’ nor ‘7’ passed his lips. He did briefly mention batteries. But Samsung hadn’t stopped putting a fuse in with the battery. In fact, they had supposedly improved processes at all levels.
Evidently, Samsung doesn’t want to commit a blunder like that again. That’s why I’m sure they will have taken extra care with the battery and the safety checks on it.
The test with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the hammer shows the phone is a lot robuster than it seems.
Of course a phone can go on fire. In short, the reaction is a short circuit which lets the electricity flow in an uncontrolled way. Most of this turns into heat and then… boom.
Is the Note 8 more likely to explode than its predecessor?
«It might. But it might not,» she says. She screws up her eyes. My verdict: the rumours definitely aren’t true.
I’d even go so far as to say that Michelle – like me – has heard the joke about exploding phones once too often.
According to rumours, the Samsung Galaxy S8 screen already has a high resolution, but the Note 8’s is set to be even higher. So much so that there is talk of the Note 8 having 4K resolution.
This is one of the rumours that just can’t be true. It’s not possible for the Note 8 to have a screen resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.
Because when we break down 3840x2160 to a screen aspect ratio, we get an aspect ratio of 16:9. The Galaxy S8 has an aspect ratio of 18.5:9, which makes a 4K screen resolution impossible.
A side by side comparison shows why a 4K resolution isn’t possible.
If the Note 8 really were to have a width of 3840 pixels then it would have 1868.108 pixels lengthways, which is purely a mathematical value. What it shows is that the Note 8 can’t have 4K with the same aspect ratio as the Galaxy S8. If the Note 8 had 2160 pixels on the short side, the long edge would have 4440 pixels.
Will the Note 8 have a 4K screen?
«It might. But it might not», she says. She seems as mystified as me. As she’s better at maths than I am, I’m sure she’s already roughly worked out the calculations above.
This makes me think there won’t be a 4K screen.
The Note 8 has a screen diagonal of 6.3”. This makes the screen larger than the 6.2” of the Samsung Galaxy S8+. Here is the screen diagonal in centimetres:
If the rumour mill is right, the Note 8 would be enormous.
We don’t know anything. It’s very difficult to confirm or deny this rumour, as the designs can rarely be guessed from previous models. This is especially the case with Samsung, as the design changed drastically between the seventh and eighth series.
As an experiment, I build an imaginary device in my head. An aspect ratio of 18.5:9 and a screen diagonal of 16.002 cm gives me this:
In the picture, this is how the Note 8 looks in comparison with the S8 and S8+.
The Samsung Note 8 as a sticky tape drawing next to the eighth series.
When compared directly with the S8+, the Note 8 isn’t markedly bigger.
The S8+ isn’t much smaller than the Note 8.
But you really see the difference when you compare the size of the Note 8 to that of the S8.
The S8 is rather pathetic when compared with the Note 8.
Does the Note 8 have a 6.3”-screen?
«It might. But it might not,» she says. Her face is expressionless. Or at least there is no expression I can pin down. She could shrug her shoulders but she keeps herself in check. I start to think that this whole put-rumours-to-Michelle-thing could be a waste of time.
Weibo user Reviewer_小康 posted photos on the Chinese social media platform of what was claimed to be a Samsung Galaxy Note 8.
The front of the Note 8
From the back
A GIF. Because reasons.
Samsung neither confirmed nor denied the accuracy of the photos.
Do the photos show the Note 8?
«They might. But they might not,» she says. Just as before, her face is expressionless. But I think I detect a glimmer of smile. Then again, I could be wrong. She does look at the photos with interest, nod and study the GIF, but I don’t think she’s seen the device before.
There are rumours that the fingerprint scanner will be beneath the display.
This rumour does the rounds before every new flagship launch. The reason being that putting the fingerprint reader under the front display frees up space for a bigger screen. Edgeless displays are now almost in reach.
The mobile phone resource GSMarena posted unconfirmed photos of a Note 8.
The leak on GSMarena
As all the other rumours talk about an S8-inspired design and Samsung undoubtedly put a lot of work into the S8, you could assume that the photo above is of the Note 8 in a case.
The BGR.com website also received a CAD drawing of the Note 8, which was allegedly from the company where the Note 8 was manufactured.
The photo BGR posted of the Note 8 CAD design.
In another article, BGR.com talked about receiving the same designs of the phone that Samsung had sent to their case manufacturers so that cases would also be ready for the launch. According to the leak, this is what the Note 8 will look like. And yes, I’m using huge renders on purpose, as this is the only way to see the details on the front.
The front of the Note 8
The back of the Note 8
Side view of the Note 8
What is interesting is that the fingerprint scanner is on the back. This suggests we will have to wait a bit longer for a phone with a scanner beneath the display.
But even if these renders are fairly trustworthy and from seemingly official sources, this doesn’t confirm anything.
Does the Note 8 have a fingerprint scanner beneath the display?
«It might. But it might not,» she says. This non-disclosure agreement is slowly starting to get on my nerves. Just like when I asked her other questions about the design, I can’t read anything from her face or body language. So I guess there might be. But equally, there might not be.
So what can we glean from these rumours? Very little, since Samsung are keeping their cards close to their chest. As you can see, I did ask around, but it was like trying to get blood out of a stone. It seems like all there is left for us to do is wait and speculate.
In the meantime, I’ll see if I can work out how to bribe Michelle. There must be some way. Surely?!
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