The Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin 2014 (IFA) show begun in earnest and many of the big players in the mobile device industry got to show off their latest handsets. Samsung, which is arguably the biggest manufacturer in the game showcased the next incarnation in their Note lineup, the Galaxy Note 4.
The Galaxy Note 4 comes with a 5.7" quad HD display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, the same size as The Note 3. The device is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, quad-core Krait 450 chip which can be clocked up to 2.7GHz, the latest Adreno 420 GPU and 3GB of RAM. There are two models of the Note 4: one with the aforementioned chip and one using Samsung's own Exynos 5433 octa core processor.
With a 16MP rear camera with optical image stabilization, autofocus and LED flash and able to record video up to 4K resolution. It also has a 3.7MP front camera with f/1.9 aperture. Other features include a 64GB capable microSD slot, three microphones, an IR blaster, 3220mAh battery, retina scanner, a new UV sensor which will warn users if they are being exposed to too much sun and a fingerprint sensor akin to what we saw in the Galaxy S5.
Incorporating the new design features introduced on the Galaxy Alpha, a metal chassis, rear plastic cover and protective glass with rounded edges. Like the Galaxy S5, the Galaxy Note 4 also comes with a dust and waterproof design. Ingress Protection (IP rating) is now almost a de-facto feature for high end devices after Sony popularised it with the Xperia Z range.
The Note 4 will come with Samsung's S Pen stylus and will be powered by Google's Android operating system, we expect the device to ship with Android 4.4.4 better known as KitKat, but if the rumours about Android 5.0 'Lolipop' are true then perhaps this will be one of the first Samsung devices to receive the new Android update.
It's rumoured the Galaxy Note 4 will be priced at around $800 and with previous versions of the Galaxy Note being released around September we can expect to see the Galaxy Note 4 hit the shelves in the not too distant future. The Galaxy Note 4 will be available in four colours, namely Frosted white, Charcoal black, Bronze Gold and Blossom Pink.
Samsung managed to pull one surprise out of the bag at IFA and this was the Galaxy Note Edge. This device is a variant of the Galaxy Note 4 which utilises a new arched display. The display bends around the right side of the phone with an additional 160px. This means the entire display has a resolution of 1600 x 2560 and a density of 539ppi, which should make the Note Edge the smartphone with the highest resolution screen to date.
The key feature of the Galaxy Note Edge is this curved display of its 5.6" Super AMOLED screen. All other specifications besides the display and a slightly smaller 3000mAh battery remain exactly the same as the Galaxy Note 4. The curved part of the display has a variety of uses. Swiping on the curved section will reveal the date, time and notifications. When locked only the additional 160px-wide strip will light up. You can use the additional strip to display weather, shortcuts, feeds and more once Samsung release the official SDK to developers.
The Galaxy Note Edge should be available in some markets by the end of 2014 and will be available in Frosted White and Charcoal Black. Expect to see a premium price label for the honour of having new screen technology.
Other devices announced by Samsung include two new wearables, the Gear VR and Gear S. the VR in Gear VR stands for Virtual Reality and it's a peripheral accessory based on the Oculus Rift, whereas the Note 4 acts as the screen on the Gear VR. So far the Gear VR will only work with the VR player included with the Note 4 and the native QHD resolution is halved to produce the 3D effect, the available content is also quite limited at the moment but it will be interesting to see what developers can achieve.
The Gear S is Samsung's newest smartwatch, the device has a 2.0" display with a 480 x 360px resolution and is powered by a dual core 1GHz CPU and 512MB RAM. 4GB internal storage is provided and so is Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi and an internal phone modem with a nano SIM slot. A new headset called the Gear Circle will be available to pair with the watch for making and receiving phone calls. The Gear S is also water and dust resistant with an IP rating of 67. However one feature currently lacking from the device is a web browser but we expect this to be remedied shortly.
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