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Today Samsung launches its biggest phone of the year -- both literally and in terms of what it can do. The Galaxy Note 9 is scheduled for a grand introduction this morning at Samsung's signature Unpacked event.
The Galaxy Note is Samsung's top-of-the-line phone and the stakes will be high. Equipped with its signature S Pen stylus and what's sure to be a premium price tag, the Note 9 will take on the forthcoming 2018 editions of the iPhone and Google Pixel in the super-competitive corridor of the high-end smartphone market.
A persistent flow of rumors suggest that the Note 9 may have some head-turning features including new camera technologies and expanded capabilities for its S Pen stylus. There is also buzz that the Note 9 may be the first Android phone to support Fortnite, and that the game may come with the phone in a special pre-order package. (If these rumors hold true, will they be enough to?)
As the clock ticks down, the rumors are coming at a torrential pace. Of course, Samsung has not officially released much information about the phone, and hasn't replied to repeated requests for comment. But the hour approaches and an array of rumors, looking increasingly authentic, continue to emerge. Have a look below to catch up on all of the latest buzz.
Editors' note: This article was originally published June 13 and updates frequently.
Rumor: Aug. 24 release date
We know Samsung's "Unpacked" launch event will take place on Aug. 9, and we're pretty confident we're going to meet the Galaxy Note 9 there. But we don't know exactly when Samsung will start selling the Note 9. Persistent rumors suggest that the on-sale date could come exactly two weeks after the Unpacked event and you can now use the Shop Samsung app to reserve the phone -- and have it delivered on Aug. 24 (as reported by Droid Life).
Confirmed: It's called the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 -- and it looks a whole lot like the Note 8
Last week Samsung leaked its own picture of the phone. Oops. The image below (spotted by noted phone leaker Evan Blass and confirmed by CNET) not only all but confirms the Galaxy Note 9 name -- not that it would be anything else -- but gives us a clear look at its 3.5mm headphone jack, rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, switched-up dual camera and upgraded S-Pen stylus. So, expect the same basic design as the Note 8.
Confirmed: The Note 9's S Pen connects to Bluetooth
And speaking of that stylus -- an FCC filing confirmed that the next version of Samsung's S Pen will have Bluetooth support. This feature has the potential to make the stylus even more powerful, and help further differentiate the Note 9 from the iPhone. We're just spitballing here, but the Note 9 S Pen, in addition to drawing, writing and navigating, could serve as a remote control for triggering photos or advancing musical tracks.
Rumor: It could cost $1,000 or more
Now that Apple has broken the "grand" barrier, pricing the baseline iPhone X at $999 and the top-of-the-line model at $1,149, we have every reason to expect Samsung to follow suit. As my colleague Jessica Dolcourt has explained, the strong performance of the iPhone X proves that millions of consumers are prepared to pay top dollar for what is likely to be their most-prized tech possession.
Galaxy Note 8 and Note 7 prices
||Galaxy Note 8||Galaxy Note 7|
|US||AT&T: $950; Verizon: $960; T-Mobile: $930; Sprint: $960; US Cellular: $963||AT&T: $880; Verizon: $864; T-Mobile: $849; Sprint: $850; US Cellular: $834|
In fact, Jessica's analysis shows that the Note 8 cost about 9 percent more than the Note 7, and she makes a convincing argument that this trend will continue -- despite Samsung's promise to keep the Note 9 "reasonably priced" on its most recent earnings call. After all, "reasonable" is relative.
Rumor: The Galaxy Note 9 gets Fortnite first
The massively popular game just might make its Android breakout in a 30-day exclusive on Samsung's Galaxy Note 9.that anyone who preorders the Note 9 will get between $100 and $150 worth of V-Bucks, Fortnite's in-game currency. It's also rumored that the game will work with Samsung DeX, a dock that runs your phone like a laptop when you plug it into a monitor, and possibly with that new Bluetooth-ready S Pen.
Rumor: Dual cameras, side-by-side, with new warning features
Reddit user Wan997 has posted a laundry list of Note 9 specs including a new camera feature that notifies you of potential issues ranging from too much motion to someone closing their eyes in a portrait photo.
Dual cameras on the Note 9 are pretty much a sure bet, and Bloomberg reports that Samsung will upgrade the Note's camera with the forthcoming model. The Note 8 was Samsung's first phone to add portrait mode, and the Galaxy S9 Plus has the setup, too. No reason to suggest that Samsung would take a step backward. An image from OnLeaks and @91Mobiles shows a Galaxy Note 9 with side-by-side cameras instead of a vertical stack as we see on the S9 Plus.
Rumor: No notch for the Note 9
Google has adopted the notch for Android phones but we're skeptical that Samsung will follow suit. After all, Samsung explicitly mocked the notch in its infamous Galaxy S9 ad earlier this year. That noted, Samsung did file a patent application for a phone with a notch design as well as a notchless one, with holes cut into the display instead of a screen cut-out.
Highly unlikely: A fingerprint scanner embedded in the display
This rumor has been attached to nearly every high-end Samsung phone (and iPhone) for years now. Korean news site The Investor (and others) have suggested that the Galaxy Note 9 would have a fingerprint reader integrated right in the display, like the Vivo X20 Plus UD and the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS. But word on the street is that Samsung is saving this one up for the Galaxy S10 and will put the fingerprint scanner on the back of the Note 9.
Other rumored Galaxy Note 9 specs
- Preorder comes with Wireless AKG headphones or Fortnite gaming package
- Screen: 6.38 or 6.4-inch AMOLED display
- Battery: 3,850mAh or 4,000mAh (and supporting 4,000mAh)
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
- Android Oreo
- 256GB internal storage (or as much as 512GB, which feels like a stretch for Samsung)
- 8GB RAM
- Faster -- both for the phone and the S Pen
- A new wireless charging accessory to support a phone with a 4,000mAh battery, and to charge two devices at once
- Samsung's Good Lock app to customize the phone's UI, could return in the Note 9
- New copper wiring for internal cooling
Jessica Dolcourt and Perla Shaheen contributed to this report.