Another ‘Note’worthy gadget?

Nikhil Bhave
Saturday, 16 September 2017

This week saw two major flagship handset releases in a single day. While Apple released the new version of iPhone as well as a 10th anniversary special iPhone X, Samsung also rolled out its flagship Note 8.

So, let us talk about the Note 8. The phone comes with a 6.3” QHD screen, which on first look, is similar to that of the recently launched S8 and S8+. It runs on Android Nougat, packing an octa-core 64-bit processor. It comes with a 3,300 mAh battery and an array of security features, including iris and fingerprint scan and facial recognition. It costs a cool Rs 67,000.

This week saw two major flagship handset releases in a single day. While Apple released the new version of iPhone as well as a 10th anniversary special iPhone X, Samsung also rolled out its flagship Note 8.

So, let us talk about the Note 8. The phone comes with a 6.3” QHD screen, which on first look, is similar to that of the recently launched S8 and S8+. It runs on Android Nougat, packing an octa-core 64-bit processor. It comes with a 3,300 mAh battery and an array of security features, including iris and fingerprint scan and facial recognition. It costs a cool Rs 67,000.

Now, let us put the Note, the S8 and the iPhone X side-by-side. Can we distinguish one from the another at first glance? (Fun fact: iPhone X’s OLED panels come from Samsung) Can we say that now Apple is following Samsung, instead of the other way around?

The one thing now becoming increasingly common is bigger displays. As phones go from just being a communication device to a social media, gaming and entertainment hub, you will see the phone’s face becoming bigger. After Google, Samsung followed suit with integrating the physical keys on the phone’s front into the screen and making it bigger. The new Note and the S8 both feature the same edgeless display named ‘infinity’ by Samsung. Now, Apple too has joined the party with the X, bar some space at top reserved for cameras. Such screens will likely prove very useful while streaming online content or for even holding a teleconference via Skype. Considering that Apple now has to buy the panels from Samsung, it will be interesting to see what the company will do to reduce dependence to its biggest rival.

But is it only Samsung vs Apple as the only two bigwigs in the mobile telephony sector? Recent years have seen Chinese players such as Oppo, Vivo and Mi disrupt the market in a big way. These companies’ USP is their offering of higher technology at lesser price. But the stigma attached to Chinese goods persists here and it will be some time before these firms will be able to challenge Samsung or Apple on all levels. Samsung, meanwhile, already has a smartphone at every tier. The company is reportedly set to introduce its virtual assistant Bixby, currently available for S8 and S8+ in cheaper smartphones.

Coming back to the OSes running both Note and iPhone, both have now started integrating each other’s features. In the new iPhone, users can now swipe up to the home screen or down for Control Center, very Android-like. On the other hand, Google had waited till Marshmallow to introduce individual approve for each app. These are but some of the features the competitors have been ‘borrowing’ from their rivals. So how long before it becomes confusing to distinguish between iOS and Android?

What lies ahead? As phones get thinner and bigger, Samsung still retains some features that iPhone has ditched. There can be one guarantee about the future: it will be way more intrusive, with digital assistants keeping watch on you 24*7.

Pros
Spoilt for choice: Since Android is an open end software, there is a wide variety of devices you can choose. Of course, this also means stock upgrades can only come to Google phones.

Customisation: Since this is an open end software, there is a lot of room for customisation. You can change your phone skin, plus there are a lot of choices for keyboards, themes and other options available from the Google Play Store.

Availability of expandable storage: You can move apps etc from your phone to an SD card, thus freeing up valuable space.

Ease of installing third-party apps: If a ‘clean’ app is available, just not in the Play Store, it can still be installed.

Cons
Security: Android’s biggest plus point is also its biggest minus. Open end software means it is open to misuse. Thus, malware remains a much bigger risk on Android, compared to iOS.

Updates: Android is adapted by every manufacturer specifically towards their handsets. This means upgrades and fixes are delayed.

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