Samsung's debut of a new version of the productivity-focused Note smartphone, the Galaxy Note9, could offer new opportunities for businesses looking to simplify their device deployments to highly mobile employees such as salespeople.
The Galaxy Note9 features the ability to work with Samsung's DeX feature, which offers a desktop Android experience powered by the mobile device. While DeX was previously only available by connecting a smartphone to a docking station or pad, users can now use DeX by connecting the Note9 to a display via a USB-C to HDMI dongle.
The Note9 can then be used as a touchpad for navigating in the Android desktop, or users can connect a compatible keyboard and mouse. The Note9 holds the promise of letting employees just use one device for all of their work needs, said Marco Nielsen, vice president of managed mobility services at Stratix, a Norcross, Ga.-based MSP and partner of Samsung.
"Right now, everyone is walking around with two to four devices," Nielsen said. "I'm excited to see Samsung getting one step closer to the holy grail of getting rid of the laptop."
Other key changes with the Galaxy Note9 also help to deliver on that promise, he said. Those include a configuration with 512 GB of internal storage -- already more than offered by some laptops, Nielsen noted--which can be expanded to 1 TB with a microSD card.
"Think about having videos and everything you need to do a sales process in your pocket," he said. "There are all these different use cases where you need lot of storage, and you might not have connectivity. This lets you have everything in your pocket, and you can just plug in with cable and showcase anything you want."
The stylus that comes with the Note9, the S Pen, is also getting a helpful upgrade for salespeople and other users. The new version of the S Pen connects to the Note9 over Bluetooth, and the button on the S Pen can now be used to open apps and take actions within apps.
For instance, users can move to the next slide in PowerPoint by pressing the button -- meaning that "you even have your own remote control unit" with the Note9, Nielsen said.
While just a few apps work with the S Pen button to start -- including the camera, voice recorder and PowerPoint -- Samsung plans to open up its software development kit in September so that developers can enable more apps to work with the S Pen button.
In other changes, the Super AMOLED screen on the Galaxy Note9 is getting a modest increase in size, to 6.4 inches, versus the 6.3 inches of the Galaxy Note8.
Samsung is also boosting the battery size with the Galaxy Note9: The device will sport a 4,000mAh battery, compared to the 3,330mAh battery in the Note8. Samsung hasn't provided a specific estimate for the battery life on the Note9, beyond saying that the device will offer "all-day" battery life.
For performance, the Galaxy Note9 will be available with 6 GB or 8 GB of RAM, and will use Qualcomm's latest top-of-the-line mobile processor, the Snapdragon 845. The eight-core processor runs at up to 2.8GHz.
Samsung said that the Galaxy Note9 will feature the latest version of Samsung's mobile security software, Knox 3.2, which offers data protection as well as simplified deployment and management for IT departments. In terms of authentication, the Note9 will be available with fingerprint, iris and facial recognition, as well as Intelligent Scan (a combination of iris and facial recognition). The fingerprint reader on the Note9 is located on the back of the phone below the camera, as on the Galaxy S9.
Pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy Note9 start on Friday, Aug. 10, and the Note9 will begin shipping on Aug. 24. The starting price for the 128 GB model of the Galaxy Note9 is $999.99, while the starting price for the 512 GB model is $1,249.99.
Nielsen said he expects that the Note9 combined with DeX will present an opportunity for more conversations with customers than did previous Note and DeX releases. His firm has already been seeing demand from customers for Samsung devices that are unlocked to a certain carrier, or are deployed on leasing plans.
Unlocked devices "bring much more flexibility," Nielsen said, since solution providers no longer have to acquire a certain stock of devices that are tied to each carrier.
Overall, "I'm excited to see where [the Note9] will impact the enterprise," he said.
The Note9 is the latest in a string of product releases by Samsung that place an emphasis on meeting business needs.
In March, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Tab Active2 tablet, which offers a range of rugged features and special capabilities for a number of industry verticals. The Tab Active2 is only sold by IT channel partners.
Also earlier this year, Samsung launched an Enterprise Edition for the Galaxy S9 smartphone, which is sold unlocked by channel partners. The Enterprise Edition S9 includes business features such as enterprise customization through Knox Configure.