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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Release Date, Specs and Rumors: Weekend Round-up

While the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 release date is getting closer, the rumors about the next-gen phablet of the South Korea-based company are starting to pile-up. Even though many of the rumors should be taken with a pinch of salt (especially those talking about a flexible display or aluminium body), other rumors are capable of giving some hints regarding the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 specs. Since the weekend is here, I thought you might want to read something about your favorite phablet.

There’s no doubt that Samsung will launch a follow up of the popular Galaxy Note 2, a smartphone that managed to sell millions, being the company’s second best selling handset after the Samsung Galaxy S3. Well, the Samsung Galaxy S4 will definitely outsell its predecessor, but the analysts say that the same rule applies for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 compared to the Galaxy Note 2. Moreover, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will also help the South Korean phone maker bite an even larger chunk of Apple’s market share. Why am I saying that? I’m glad you’ve asked.

Even though we don’t know anything concrete about the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 release date, all the signs are indicating towards a launch in the fall. First of all, Samsung’s previous releases for the Galaxy Note phablet line up are pointing that we might actually see the Galaxy Note 3 at IFA Berlin 2013. The first Note was officially introduced at the Berlin-based tech fair, while the Galaxy Note 2 was announced a couple of days ahead of the IFA 2012 debut.

As I know Samsung, they will want to launch the Galaxy Note 3 in a special Unpacked event, and the week prior to IFA Berlin 2013 would be a perfect occasion. Since IFA 2013 will open its gates for the public on September 6th, we might actually see the Galaxy Note 3 being announced in the week prior to it, in the September 1 – 5 time frame.

But why are the members of the Galaxy Note tribe always launched during the fall? Whether you believe it or not, it is related with Apples product launch pattern. The Cupertino-based company is usually launching its iPhones during the fall, thus Samsung is aiming to counter them with a fresh new product.

The Samsung Galaxy S flagships are launched late spring giving Samsung almost half a year to hit make its sales peak. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has hit the market April 26 and managed to sell over 10 million units in less than a month after the debut. In the same time the iPhone 5 sales started to decrease, but the same will happen with the Galaxy S4 shipments by fall. The launch of the iPhone 5S will also contribute to the Samsung Galaxy S4 sales drop, thus the South Koreans will need a powerful high-end product to fight back.

While Samsung can’t count on the likes of Galaxy S4 Active, Galaxy S4 Mini, or Galaxy S4 Zoom, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has all the abilities to bite a chunk of iPhone 5S’ market share. We’re talking about a high-end device that comes to continue the success of the already-popular Galaxy Note line-up.

But what are the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 specs and features capable of making it a successful smartphone. We don’t know for sure, but at least we have some rumors capable of giving us some ideas on what to expect form the next-gen Sammy phablet.

I will start with the screen size. As you probably know the first Galaxy Note had a 5.3-inch display, while its successor, the Galaxy Note 2 came with a 5.5-inch display. That’s an increase of 0.2 inches per year, thus the early rumors suggested that the Galaxy Note 3 will come with a 5.7-inch display. It seems though that it will actually sport a 5.9-inch display. Is it too big? Not considering today’s standards for the smartphone market.

The line between phablets and tablets is getting thinner each year and the Galaxy Mega 6.3 and the Huawei Ascend Mate which come with 6.3 and 6.1 inch displays, respectively, are here to prove it.  Reports are indicating that Sony is planning a phablet, too, a 6.5-inch device that is unofficially dubbed Xperia ZU. Even the smartphones have grown this year, and both Samsung and Sony introduced 5-inch flagships (the Galaxy S4 and the Xperia Z) and a 5.9-inch Galaxy Note 3 should surprise us.

Despite some reports saying that the Galaxy Note 3 will come with a LCD display, because Samsung might have some production issues with its AMOLED panels, I am sure that, just like its predecessors, the phablet will come with a Super AMOLED screen. Of course, because the standards of the 2013 smartphone market demand it, the resolution will be different than the one of the fist two Galaxy Note generations.

As you probably noticed the high-end Android smartphones launched this year sport full HD displays (see Sony Xperia Z, HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4, LG Optimus G Pro) and, in order to stay competitive, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will make no exception. Summing up, expect the Galaxy Note 3 to boast a 5.9-inch Super AMOLED display with full HD resolution. Oh, and there will be Gorilla Glass 3 protection.

There’s no doubt that the Galaxy Note 3 will also fit in the trend when it comes to the amount of RAM, so 2 GB will be placed under the hood of the next-gen Sammy phablet.

In terms of design, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will look like a Samsung Galaxy S4 on steroids. How do I know that? Is not that some “insider” told me that, or a birdie whispered it to my ear. It’s an educated guess based on Samsung’s previous launches. The first Galaxy Note had the same design as the Galaxy S2, the Galaxy Note 2 was a bigger Samsung Galaxy S3, so the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 must continue the design language introduced by the Galaxy S4.

We’ll be dealing with the same body texture as the SGS4, but in terms of size will be way larger. Just like the Galaxy S4 is about the same size as the Galaxy S3, we should expect the Galaxy Note 3 to be similar in terms of dimensions with its predecessor, but a couple of millimeters thinner.

Let’s talk about the processing solution that will underpin the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. A Samsung Galaxy Note 3 variant powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 chipset was already caught in the benchmark logs, and, in my opinion, that’s what the phablet would need in order to fight against the iPhone 5S and the other Android competitors on the market.

In case you don’t know it already, I will tell you that the Snparagon 800 chipset that debuted at CES 2013 is based on four Krait 400 cores clocked at 2.3 GHz and an Adreno 330 GPU. Moreover, at the Las Vegas-based event Qualcomm informed that the fist Snapdragon 800-powered devices will hit the market in the summer, thus the Galaxy Note 3 release date fits into the Snapdragon 800 launch calendar.

But will it be an octo-core Galaxy Note 3, as well. My guess, is that we will see an Exynos 5 Octa Note 3, too. Samsung’s proprietary Exynos 5 Octa chipset comes with four Cortex A15 cores with a maximum clocks speed of 1.8 GHz (which handle the tasks that require more battery power) and four Cortex A7 cores clocked at 1.2 GHz (handling the basic tasks and meant to improve the battery life). While the Galaxy S4 has its Cortex A15 cores clocked at 1.6 GHz, the Galaxy Note 3 will probably have them clocked at 1.8 GHz for even more processing power. The GPU fitted on the Exynos 5 Octa SoC will most likely be the PowerVR SGX 544MP3 unit that brings a processing performance somewhere between the iPad 3 and iPad 4.

The primary camera of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 should be no surprise for us. The South Koreans will probably fit on the back of the Galaxy Note 3 the same 13 megapixel camera that equips the Samsung Galaxy S4. I’m also expecting the same features on the new phablet: Eraser (allows the user to erase moving objects from pictures), Cinema Photo (create a picture where selected objects move while others freeze), Drama Shot (takes a series of pictures of a moving subject, and merge them into one picture, as Samsung describes it), Sound & Shot (allows the user to add a couple of seconds of sound to pictures), Dual-Shot, Dual-Video, Best Face, Best Shot, Beauty Face, and other such goodies.

The 13 megapixel camera comes with autofocus, LED flash, simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, HDR, and support for recording 1080p@30fps videos.

One major feature of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3’s camera might be the S Orb. As you remember we exclusively told you about this feature a while ago, when a source close to the South Korean company informed us about it. What is the S Orb? Well, it’s Samsung’s equivalent for Android 4.2’s Photo Sphere. LG already has it, being called VR Panorama, but why Sammy’s version will be better. Well it seems that the S Orb will allow the user to upload 360 panorama pictures on Facebook, while the pictures take with the Photo Sphere and the VR Panorama are Google Plus-tied.

The connectivity features of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will recommend it as a modern smartphone, so expect HSDPA, 42.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth  v4.0 with A2DP, EDR, LE, microUSB v2.0 (MHL 2), USB On-the-go, USB Host, NFC chip, and infrared blaster.

The internal storage options will be the same as usual: 16, 32, or 64 GB of flash storage expandable with up to 64 GB via microSD cards.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will probably leave the factory gates with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean on board, well, unless Google changes its mind and announces Android 4.3 Jelly Bean in the meantime. Of course, Samsung will customize the interface with it’s proprietary ThouchWiz Nature UX. The Note 3 will borrow all the Air Gesture and Air Control features of the Samsung Galaxy S4, plus the same overall interface. I don’t know whether the launch of Android 4.3 will make Samsung bring a new version of TouchWiz, but, most likely not.

A couple of months ago Samsung announced it acquired 5% in Wacom shares. Those of you not knowing who Wacom is, learn that the Japan-based company produces popular graphics tablets and related products. Their tablets are using styluses, thus their technology will be available for Samsung, too. Therefore, expect an improve S-Pen stylus to be fitted into that special slot on the bottom of the phablet.

Of course, a new and improved S-Pen will probably arrive with new features. Since the Air View now works with fingers too, I am eager to see what new functions the South Koreans will tie to the stylus of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

As always, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will have a huge removable battery squeezed underneath its plastic body. While the Galaxy Note and the Galaxy Note 2 came with 2,500 and 3,100 mAh batteries, respectively, the unit fitted on the Galaxy Note 3 will probably be even bigger. My lucky guess is 3,500 mAh-ish. The Galaxy Note smartphones are known for providing more than decent battery life, and so will the Note 3. The real life tests have proven that both the Galaxy Note and the Galaxy Note 2 can go through 2 full days of moderate usage, and so will the Galaxy Note 3.

Anyway, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will have some serious competitors in the segment this year. LG already announced the Optimus G Pro (with a 5.5-inch full HD display and Snapdragon 600 CPU), while Sony and HTC are said to announce the Xperia ZU and the One Max later this year. Sources say that the Sony phablet will sport a 6.5-inch display, while HTC’s rival for the Galaxy Note 3 is rumored to pack a 5.9-inch full HD Super LCD3 display and a powerful Snapdragon 800 SoC.

Summing up, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will be an interesting device and there’s no wonder it’s one of the most anticipated smartphones of the year. But will it be able to deal with the heavy pressure coming from the smartphones developed by the other three big players of the Android smartphone market?

What are your expectations from the Samsung Galaxy Note 3? Any guesses on the technical specifications of the next generation phablet manufactured by Samsung? How about the new software features and functions that will be introduced with the Galaxy Note 3? We are inviting you to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Also, don’t forget to stay tuned as we will return with more news and rumors about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 3 as soon as they hit the web.

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