With the Galaxy Note, Samsung took a firm foothold among consumers and set a new standard for how big a phone could be, singlehandedly chiseling out a new market segment for so called "phablets."
However, when the original Galaxy Note launched, reviews by magazines and analysts everywhere were pretty dismal, saying, "It's too big, it doesn't fit in my jeans," "Enjoy your niche market, Samsung!", "Seriously, what's up with the stylus? That's so 90's." Yet, somehow, Samsung manage to prove them mostly wrong.
Following the unexpected success of the Note, Samsung continued the onslaught with the Note II, launching a huge marketing campaign which allowed them to create an ever broader user base. The phone exceeded all expectations and Samsung found themselves with a second hit series, next to their popular Galaxy S devices.
Now, the time has almost come for the third device in the series. What is new? We have tried to collect some of the rumored features and specs of the device, but not much is confirmed by Samsung as of yet.
In all likelihood, the Galaxy Note 3 will be a step up from the newly released Galaxy S4, which featured a 1080p display and Qualcomm quad-core processor in North America. The Korean version of Galaxy S4 even featured the new octa-core processor from Exynos, and it is a qualified guess that the bigger Note 3 will have at least the same - if not more powerful - CPU.
Again, the Korean version of the Galaxy S4 had 3 GB RAM compared to the U.S. 2 GB, and it is not far-fetched to think that Galaxy Note 3 will have same or better.
For some reason Samsung has consistently released its smartphone devices with different hardware in its home market of Korea compared to North America. Usually the hardware is higher-end and higher capacity in Korea compared to its U.S. counterpart. The first Note had minimum 32 GB internal storage in Korea, while the U.S. version started at 16 GB. It was the same with the Note II released last year. Therefore it is hard to say what Samsung are going to decide with the Note 3, but it is our guess that this time they are stepping up the internal storage capacity to 32 GB in the U.S. as well, as apps and media content in general are starting to require larger storage space from devices.
Apart from its size, the other major thing that sets the Galaxy Note apart from the Galaxy S series is the S-Pen, Samsung's word for stylus. Although the Galaxy S4 received many of the capabilities of the Note 2 that had previously required a stylus, we guess that Samsung's investment in S-Pen apps will not be thrown out the window, but rather expanded upon to increase productivity in the Note 3.
The latest Android OS version is Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, but that has already been around for a while, leading most people to expect Google to unveil the latest version 4.3 Jelly Bean or 5.0. Key Lime Pie at Google I/O next week. Whatever version is released, Samsung will likely include the latest Android OS pre-installed on the device, as they have usually done in the past. In addition to the OS, Samsung will probably pre-install its ubiquitous home launcher TouchWiz, as on previous Galaxy devices.
To be announced, but for what it is worth, analysts say the most likely is a release around the same time as the iPhone 5S this year. The carriers that will sell the device are reasonably the top 5, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular.
Price will again be slightly higher than the Galaxy S series, as we have come to expect. Save up at least $299 if you plan on getting the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with a new 2-year contract.