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Galaxy Note 7 do-over might get this S8 feature

The Note 7 FE will reportedly launch with the Galaxy S8's digital assistant.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 could come back better than before.

The refurbished version is expected to be just like the original Note 7, but with a few very important changes.

Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung said it would consider refurbishing its huge supply of recalled Note 7 phones. The latest word suggests that the refurbished phone -- reportedly dubbed the Note 7 FE (which stands for Fan Edition) -- could launch July 7 in South Korea, this time with Samsung's smart assistant Bixby, according to ETNews (Korean).

If true, Samsung's move would be one more step in patching up the saga of its Note 7 recall, which took 3 million phones off the market after units began catching fire. The episode also prompted Samsung to revise its process for checking phone safety before shipping.

Before the recall, the Galaxy Note 7 was one of the best-received and best-selling Samsung phones ever. It's possible that a new edition would placate fans looking for a new or nostalgic device before its update, the Galaxy Note 8, arrives later this year. 

Although it's been reported that the refurbished Note 7 is being sold in only a few markets (and not the US), the suggestion that it'll come with the Bixby assistant is new. Bixby Voice, which is like Apple's Siri assistant, has only launched in Korea so far. 

If Bixby comes to the Note 7 FE that would make it the second phone to feature the AI, after the Galaxy S8. Bixby is a huge part of Samsung's strategy going forward, but if it wants to compete against Amazon's Alexa, Google's Assistant and Apple's Siri, it'll need to find its footing on more phones -- and get voice features into more markets (we're  still waiting for a US release), for example).

Previously, the Note 7 FE was reported to be launching late June, but ETNews claims that the launch date had to be pushed back an extra week into July. This may have to do with Samsung releasing more Note 7 FE phones than the company originally planned, 450,000 instead of 150,000 units according to the report.

The phone is also estimated to sell for 700,000 won in Korea, which converts to roughly $615, £480 and AU$825.

A separate report from Korea also coincides with the claims that the Note 7 FE will launch the first week of July. If the phone launches then, it would predate the Note 8 by weeks; that phone is expected to launch in August.

Samsung did not respond to a request for comment.

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