The first-gen was an experiment, the second-gen an instant classic, the third-gen a refinement of an instant classic and all-around force of nature, so obviously Samsung has a lot riding on the success of the forthcoming Galaxy Note 4.
Will the pressure get the better of the latest entry in a franchise that practically invented the word “phablet”? Could Galaxy S5 Prime development, if real, hinder Samsung from focusing on the Note 4? Are we in for a full-on upgrade or minor rehash?
I wish I had answers, but unfortunately it’s too early. Way too early, as the Note 3 is barely seven months old. Sure, a precocious Note 4 launch is always a possibility, yet again, if the S5 Prime exists, this high-end portfolio expansion has to take a toll on manufacturing cycles.
Bottom line, the best case scenario calls for a September introduction in keeping with tradition. But forget timetables. We’re far more interested in what Samsung has in mind as design, hardware and software updates and tweaks and here are a few scenarios based on existent speculation, history and, well, hunches:
Galaxy Note 4 wishlist – the cautious scenario
Even the most pessimistic Android geeks have to be envisioning next fall’s S Pen-toting big kahuna as packing 4 GB of RAM since the technology is all ready and, while not quite desperately needed, certainly welcomed.
Design-wise, if Sammy decides to play it safe… one more time, the Galaxy Note 4 shall rock a plastic exterior, maybe with a perforated back pattern a la the GS5 or a faux leather rear unchanged from last year. Where might innovation enter the picture? Remember, this is the cautious, safe outline, so it doesn’t call for innovation across the board.
And yeah, it sounds like potentially half-assed work and a great disappointment in the making, but the S5 is hardly innovative from an aesthetical standpoint and I don’t hear buyers complaining that much.
Moving on, the least we can expect from the GNote 4 in processing speed is to ditch its predecessor’s Snapdragon 800 chip for an ever so slightly punchier 805 clocked at 2.7 GHz. Likewise, the rear camera will definitely get a megapixel bump, at worse to 16 MP.
What else? Oh, yeah, the footprint could stay the same or grow by around 0.2 inches, water and dust resistance is clearly a must, an on-board 128 GB storage option may be added in the mix, microSD support isn’t going anywhere, and battery capacity will increase to 3,500 mAh. Worst case scenario.
Galaxy Note 4 wishlist – the optimistic version
The great strides made between Note and Note 2 releases and subsequently Note 2 and Note 3 allow Samsung to put the brakes on Note 4 development a little. But only a little. As such, a combination of our realistic and optimistic sides predicts the Koreans will look to take one or two gambles come September.
The safest bet is of course a shift in build materials we’ve been anticipating ever since… 2012, with aluminum replacing plastic at long last. Then again, one of the very few rumors already floating around vis-à-vis the Note 4, and a credible one at that, says the jumbo-sized smartphone may sport a so-called “three-sided” display.
Aside from the obvious advantage, of extra screen real estate and the ability to illustrate short messages on the handheld’s sides, that entails the first-time using of flexible Youm panels on a wide scale. Naturally, we don’t expect a fully bendable device right off the bat, however the plastic’s malleability should help it handle drops with extra elegance and strength.
Also sitting somewhere between realism and optimism, we have a 20 MP camera with optical image stabilization. And a purer copy of Android, probably 5.0 or 4.5, with less Touchwiz-specific “bloatware”. Speaking about software, air gestures need to be improved, S Health as well and the user interface… nah, it’s okay the way it is.
Galaxy Note 4 wishlist – the mind-boggling fanciful scenario
Okay, it’s time to let our imaginations run wild. Were Samsung to go crazy in the forthcoming months, throw all caution aside and decide to design the ultimate ultra-high-end Android, how would that look?
Fully flexible, bendable, curved panel, along with a stretchy battery and internals to result in an ensemble you can literally roll up your sleeve? We’re probably years away from seeing anything resembling such a futuristic gizmo, but we can always dream.
Ultra HD display resolution, aka 3,840 x 2,160 pixels? That’s skipping a logical step, namely Quad HD, or 2,560 x 1,440, but again, there’s no one stopping us from daydreaming. 64-bit processor? It’s not as bonkers, unless we’re talking one of Qualcomm’s explosive Snapdragon 808 or 810 CPUs, expected out in “H1 2015”.
By the by, should Samsung decide to make the move from 32 to 64-bit, what’s its best option? That’s a toughie. The Snapdragon 610 and 615 will roll out for sampling in Q3, but they’re not exactly high-enders. Which only leaves the Koreans a homebrewed Exynos concoction, or an Intel-made SoC. Snapdragon 805 it is then.
Back to our fantasies, maybe the Galaxy Note 4 will incorporate both a fingerprint sensor and another biometric security feature – eye scanning technology. And maybe, just maybe solve the nasty Android top dog battery life conundrum somehow.
Want to hear something crazier? How about a 41 MP camera with OIS to rival Nokia’s PureView shooters? Octa-core 64-bit power? 6 inches of bezel-less glass? 6.5? Alright, I’ll take a breather now, but if you can think of anything else, feel free to sound off below.