Aug 7, 2019

Samsung aims for high note with latest smartphone

Samsung's Note 10. Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

Samsung introduced its latest Galaxy Note smartphones on Wednesday. Among the new features are improved video editing controls, augmented reality doodling and what Samsung is calling "Air Actions"— gestures made using the digital pen to control the camera and other apps.

Why it matters: Samsung's Note customers are its most loyal and demanding, and the high end remains the most lucrative part of the U.S. smartphone market. But the industry is finding it increasingly tough to make phones that are better than the pretty darn good ones most people already have.

The Galaxy Note will come in three versions, including a 6.3-inch model that isn't much bigger than a standard Galaxy S model and a Note 10+, with a 6.8-inch screen. A third version, the Note+ 5G, will support multiple 5G networks and ship first as a Verizon exclusive in the U.S.

  • All three models are nearly all screen on the front, with just a small hole punch notch for a front-facing camera.
  • In addition to the changes on the phone itself, Samsung is adding software for the Mac and PC that make it easier to get files and other information on and off the phone.
  • The Note 10 will come in four colors: a metallic Aura Glow, white, black and Aura Blue, the last of which will only be available on Note 10+ models ordered from Best Buy or Samsung.com.
  • The Note 10 will start at $949, the Note 10+ model will start at $1099, and Verizon says the Note 10+ 5G will start at $1299.
  • The phones will be available for pre-order at midnight and hit stores on Aug. 23.
  • Oh, and unlike previous models, there is no headphone jack. (Wired USB-C headphones do come in the box and a dongle to use your own standard headphones is available from Samsung.)

The bigger picture: Samsung is looking to regain momentum after having to delay its Galaxy Fold. The $2,000 smartphone is now set to ship in September. Meanwhile, rival Apple is expected to debut its next iPhones in September.

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Samsung's delayed Galaxy Fold to debut in Korea

Samsung

Samsung said Wednesday night that the delayed $2,000 Galaxy Fold will go on sale in Korea on Friday and be available in the U.S. "in the coming weeks." Samsung had promised in July that the phone would ship this month, following design changes.

Why it matters: Samsung and other phone makers are hoping foldable will usher in a new era for the smartphone market, but so far things have gotten off to a rocky start.

Global demand for high-end smartphones is declining


Smartphone sales continued their decline in the second quarter, dropping 1.7% from a year earlier, with demand for high-end phones dropping the most.

Why it matters: The data, from Gartner, suggests a tough environment as Apple, Google and Samsung all are set to introduce new high-end phones to the market. Samsung just launched its Galaxy Note 10, with Google set to introduce the Pixel 4 and Apple expected to debut a new crop of iPhones in the coming weeks.

Go deeperArrowAug 28, 2019

Trump: Apple's Tim Cook made a good case that trade war helps Samsung

Apple CEO Tim Cook and President Trump at the White House in March. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump said Sunday Apple CEO Tim Cook made a "very compelling argument" during a meeting with him on how paying tariffs would make it difficult for the tech giant to compete with the likes of Samsung.

The big picture: Trump announced last week he would delay for 3 months tariffs on some Chinese imports, including certain tech goods, footwear and clothing. The 10% tariffs that were due to go into effect Sept. 1 would have affected iPhones and iPads.

Go deeperArrowAug 19, 2019