Samsung typically releases its Galaxy Note line for the year sometime in August, just before Apple's keynote presentation for their new iPhone. It's a bold strategic move to try to steal the wind from Apple's press conference, and it looks like Samsung will be ready when the time comes. Two firmware builds for the Galaxy Note9 have been leaked, and these indicate a wealth of information on the upcoming device, along with a tantalizing clue at its release date.
The firmware builds are N960FXXE0ARB7 and N960FXXU0ARC5, and these builds are usually in development and testing several months prior to the actual release of the device. The builds were spotted as early as March 22 last week, more than two weeks earlier than the start of development for the Galaxy Note8 firmware which was on April 6 of last year. The Galaxy Note8 ended up launching on August 23, 2017, and if we look at the timetable, it seems Samsung is preparing a little earlier than usual this year, hinting at a possible early August launch.
One thing's for sure, there's a strategic reason or Samsung moving the timeline up, and usually, with Samsung, it has something to do with the moves Apple is making. Samsung may be anticipating a change in Apple's keynote this year, or perhaps they are simply moving up the timeline to allow more testing and development for the Galaxy Note9. It's hard to say.
The Galaxy Note9 is codenamed "Crown" and is expected to have the Infinity Display 2.0 that we first saw on the Galaxy S9. It is likely to have a 6.3-inch Super AMOLED display with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio, and will have both variants with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and an Exynos 9810. Other rumors have indicated that the Galaxy Note9 may finally be the first device in Samsung's stable to have an in-display fingerprint sensor, although there are also conflicting reports saying that Samsung may hold off on the fingerprint sensor until 2019.
Regardless of what happens, we can almost certainly expect the Galaxy Note9 to come out sometime in Q3 2018, and it will be timed just before Apple's big iPhone launch.
- Images from samsung.com