Samsung has been releasing new flagship phones at roughly six-month intervals. So while the Korean manufacturer made a splash with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge this spring, some fans of Samsung's largest-screen phones are waiting for the next big phablet launch: the Galaxy Note 5.
Early reports suggest the Galaxy Note 5 screen is going to get sharper with an Ultra HD display with a resolution of 2160 x 3840 pixels. This would be a significant jump in display technology as many smartphone makers, including Samsung, just began using Quad HD displays with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels on their smartphones.
What else should we expect from the successor to the Galaxy Note 4, coming this fall? Technologies included in the Galaxy S6 offer clues.
Glass And Metal Design
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 could feature a glass and metal design similar to the one introduced on the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Samsung has said it plans to update its entire smartphone portfolio in terms of design in 2015. So far the Galaxy S6 devices have gotten the most extensive design update, but they aren’t the first smartphones to move away from Samsung’s traditional all-plastic design.
Last September, Samsung introduced a metal frame on the Galaxy Note 4 while maintaining a traditional polycarbonate plastic back. Many applauded Samsung for the design update. But it is possible Samsung could update the Galaxy Note series even further to have a more premium design.
Wireless Charging/Fast Charging
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 could include charging features like those on the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. The wireless charging technology on the Galaxy S6 devices is compatible with the two top wireless charging standards -- Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) and Power Matters Alliance (PMA) -- so users will be able to charge their devices wherever a charging pad is available, such as cafes, restaurants and offices. It would make sense for Samsung to implement wireless charging on other flagship devices.
The Galaxy Note 5 could also see updates in fast-charging technology. On the current Galaxy Note 4, Samsung uses a fast charger that can power up a handset to 50 percent in 30 minutes, but the charging technology on the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge allows the devices to gain four hours of battery life from a 10-minute charge. With several manufacturers now implementing features on their devices to provide a faster charge in less time, it is likely Samsung will continue to improve its quick-charge feature with the Galaxy Note 5, especially since Galaxy Note devices tend to require large batteries because of their size.
Dual-Edge Display: Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 2?
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 could feature a dual-edge display, which similar to the Galaxy S6 Edge curves around both sides of the device. Last September, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Note Edge, which launched alongside the Galaxy Note 4 and features a display that curves around the right side of the handset. Because of its size, Samsung could design the Note with curves deeper than those on the Galaxy S6 Edge.
Samsung can also further update the Edge software features on the Galaxy Note 5. Edge features on the Galaxy Note Edge include a space to put icons of most-used apps for easy access. Edge features on the Galaxy S6 Edge include a method of organizing favorite contacts.
Samsung has many naming options if it decides to release a new curved-display phablet. Such a device could be called the Galaxy Note 5 Edge or the Galaxy Note Edge 2. Or Samsung could come up with a completely new name. We’ll have to wait and see.
Samsung Pay/Fingerprint Sensor Upgrades
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 will likely include the Samsung Pay mobile payment system introduced on the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Samsung Pay, which the Korean manufacturer launched as a play against Apple, will automatically be accepted at more vendors than Apple Pay when it launches this summer. By the time the Galaxy Note 5 releases, Samsung Pay will already be on the market and used by Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge owners.
The Samsung Pay system, developed by Samsung’s new subsidiary Loop Pay, is compatible with the magnetic strips on credit cards as well as with NFC-based payment systems, making it automatically accepted at most retailers. Apple Pay is accepted only at retailers that have NFC hardware, which is about 10 percent of all retailers.
The Galaxy Note 5 will likely also include the updated fingerprint sensor featured on the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Samsung updated its Finger Scanner feature from a swipe-based sensor to a touch-based sensor, similar to Apple’s Touch ID. This makes actions like unlocking a device or to authenticating Samsung Pay with a fingerprint similar to the process on an iPhone.
After the Galaxy S5 released in April 2014 with the original Finger Scanner feature, Samsung later added the feature to the Galaxy Note 4 (and Galaxy Note Edge) in September. This increases the likelihood that the Galaxy Note 5 will feature an updated Finger Sensor.
Samsung Exynos Processing Chip
Samsung will likely include its own Exynos brand processor, similar to the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge were introduced with the Exynos 7240 chip. Samsung has moved away from relying on outside suppliers like Qualcomm to provide chips for most of its devices. In the past, most models of the Galaxy Note and Galaxy S devices featured Qualcomm chips, while models with an Exynos chip had limited availability in Asian, European and African countries.
Taking a cue from Apple, which uses its own A-series chips in iPhones, future Samsung devices like the Galaxy Note 5 could also feature Exynos chips exclusively.
Samsung stands to save money by not having to pay an outside supplier for its components. It also has the opportunity to differentiate itself from the other Android smartphone-makers that use Qualcomm chips for their devices.
Samsung claims the Exynos 7420 in the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge is 30 percent to 35 percent more power-efficient than other chips now standard on the market. The Exynos 7420 is also optimized to make the battery in the Galaxy S6 devices last longer and charge faster.
Non Removable Back/Battery, No Micro SD Slot
Though many Samsung fans aren’t pleased with the fact neither the Galaxy S6 nor Galaxy S6 Edge feature a removable back, there is a good chance the Galaxy Note 5 will also have a unibody. This is especially likely if Samsung opts for an all metal and glass design on the Galaxy Note 5.
Because the backs of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge aren’t removable, users cannot change the batteries within their devices like they could with older Galaxy smartphones. Users also cannot expand their storage capacities with a MicroSD card, as they’ve been able to do in the past.
The microSD slot was a key differentiator from the iPhone, and an attractive option for Android users looking to get more storage space without shelling out hundreds of dollars for a handset with more storage space. But with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge have sacrificed the removable back and its features in favor for a more premium design.
However, Samsung has made the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB storage options, which could also be a possibility for the Galaxy Note 5.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 will likely include upgrades to Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface, similar to the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. With its new devices, Samsung has removed some bloatware features and added an option so users can disable preinstalled applications they don’t want prominent on their handsets.
The new TouchWiz UI features simple colors that are associated with different applications. Pages for the phone app are highlighted in green, pages for the video app are in purple and pages for the contacts app are in orange. Additionally, Samsung has switched from icons to text for better recognition on many applications.
If users aren’t enamored of the standard TouchWiz look, they can apply a theme for a whole new look and feel. Samsung’s themes change the wallpaper, color scheme and icons on a device.