Samsung unveils snazzier Galaxy Note and S6 Edge smartphone

Samsung Electronics has unveiled a new Galaxy Note phablet and a larger version of its curved-screen S6 Edge smartphone.

At an event in New York on Thursday, the South Korean company showed off the two new models, the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus.

Samsung has made several hardware changes for the new phablets, including a faster processor for the Galaxy Note 5 and increasing the screen size of the S6 Edge Plus to 5.7 inches from the 5.1 inches on the S6 Edge.

Both are powered by Samsung’s Exynos chips, a person familiar with the matter said. Samsung dropped Qualcomm chips that powered most of its previous handsets, opting to use its own processors for the S6 models.

The phones are to begin shipping on Friday.

The S6 Edge Plus is being offered in Black Sapphire and Gold Platinum, and the Note 5 will be offered in Black Sapphire and White Pearl, with either 32 or 64 gigabytes of storage.

The new phones seek to play to Samsung’s strengths.

Although it appeals to a niche audience, the Note is popular for including a stylus to take notes and annotate images on the screen. The update provides quicker access to apps and features that use the stylus.

One new feature ends the need to print out and rescan electronic forms to sign or fill out. Just write on the PDF document directly before saving and sending. Another feature called scroll capture automatically snaps an entire article, even the parts you have not scrolled to yet.

The screens on Samsung’s Edge phones are curved on both sides. This spring’s S6 Edge used one of those sides for quick access to friends and other frequent contacts. Now, you can use it for quick access to favourite apps, too. The new models incorporate the improved camera technology found in this spring’s S6 phones.

Samsung declined to comment on prices for the newer phones.

q&a classy curves back and front

A few more need-to-knows on the new Samsung phones:

Do they look smart?

The new phones borrow design elements from the S6 Edge – a phone that IDC’s Saad Elkhadem, writing in The National this week, said “provides the wow factor that is so sorely lacking elsewhere in the market”. Like the S6 Edge, the models unveiled on Thursday sport aluminium frames and glass backs rather than plastic. The back of the Note 5 is slightly curved for a better grip, while the Edge gets its curve on the front. Either way, it doesn’t feel as boxy as the regular S6.

And when are they coming to the UAE?

The two new phones are having their UAE launch at an event this morning in Dubai.

How does this figure into Samsung’s rivalry with Apple?

The larger iPhones released last year cut into Samsung’s sales, so this is the rebuttal. The size of the new models is comparable to Apple’s 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, the larger of the two new iPhones. Samsung also said its Samsung Pay mobile payment service will debut in its home country of South Korea on Thursday. Testing in the US will begin then, with a formal launch on September 28. Samsung hopes its payments system will stand out from Apple Pay and Google’s upcoming Android Pay thanks to a technology that mimics the old-school, magnetic signals from credit-card swipes. That allows it to work with a wider range of merchants.

* with agencies

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