Galaxy Note 8: Samsung’s phoenix phone?
August 24, 2017 09:52 am
It was the most disastrous product recall in the history of the mobile phone industry. Now, a year on from the exploding Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, Samsung has unveiled the new version of its giant smartphone.
It should be a nervous moment for a company which has had what sounds like a catastrophic year. First, the self-combusting handsets did untold damage to Samsung’s brand, then the arrest of the company’s boss on corruption charges battered its reputation further.
But here’s a funny thing - the Korean company can afford to be pretty relaxed about the Note 8. Because even before the phone goes on sale, the company’s record results and soaring share price show that the crises of the past year have done little damage to its bottom line.
What is more, the prospects for the Note 8 look rosy. The new version features the biggest screen of any mainstream phone, along with new multi-tasking capabilities, and a dual lens rear camera with optical image stabilisation. The S Pen stylus that comes with the Note, and is seen by Samsung as a key draw, has also been upgraded so that you can produce fine writing even if the screen is wet.
The original Note, launched in 2011, started the trend for larger screens. I remember trying it out on a street in Barcelona and feeling foolish holding this enormous slab to my ear. “What is that?” exclaimed a passer-by whom I had stopped to ask for directions.
But today, with so many other giant phones on the market, the Note 8 does not look or feel outlandish - indeed one problem for Samsung may be making it stand out from the crowd. It is also one of the more expensive smartphones on the market at an eye-popping £869 in the UK.
It does however have a fiercely loyal army of fans, who have now waited two years for a new device. You might have thought that the fact that the Note 7 became so notorious that airline pilots warned customers not to bring one on board would have lessened their devotion.
But Samsung Europe’s Phil Lander says a survey of users tells a different story: “They’re very loyal - eight out of 10 respondents said the word ‘love’ in association with their smartphone. Three out of four said it was the best smartphone they’d ever had.”