By Kim Eun-jung
SEOUL, Aug. 8 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Co. introduced its latest phablet, the Galaxy Note 10, with an enhanced stylus and simplified design, hoping for the new premium device to invigorate the flattening smartphone market.
The South Korean tech giant showed off its premium large-screen smartphone sporting an S-pen stylus during an Unpacked event in New York on Wednesday (local time).
The new phablet comes in two sizes: the 6.3-inch standard Note 10 and souped-up Note 10 Plus with a 6.8-inch panel, both of which are available in either 4G or 5G models.
The Note 10 features a hole-punch selfie camera to minimize bezel on the screen and ditches the 3.5 mm headphone jack for the first time, following its U.S. rival Apple. Instead, it offers a USB-C dongle.
It left physical buttons, locating the volume key on the top of the side and a power button at the bottom, which can also turn on Samsung's digital assistant Bixby.
The big addition is "air gesture," which lets users control the phone through the S-pen by moving it around without actually touching the display. It also provides remote switching between camera lenses and handwriting-to-text conversion, according to Samsung.
The Note 10 has a main camera, telephoto lens and ultrawide angle lens on the back, and the plus model will have an additional time-of-flight (ToF) sensor, which gathers additional depth data.
It packs Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 processor and new fast-charge option to enable "hours of power from minutes of charge," Samsung said. The 10 Plus will offer great battery life, thanks to a 4,300 mAh battery with 45 watt fast charging tech.
Samsung said it joined hands with Microsoft to enable seamless connection between the Note 10 and Windows 10 computers, allowing users to check messages and photos on computer screens without much hassle.
The Note 10 will hit shelves in major markets starting from Aug. 23, the company said.
The success of the Note 10 is crucial for Samsung as the world's largest smartphone maker suffered a slump in its mobile business in the second quarter.
The firm's IT and mobile division saw its second-quarter operating profit tumble 41.6 percent on-year to 1.6 trillion won (US$1.3 billion) following the weaker-than-expected performance of the Galaxy S10 launched in March.
The mobile division posted lackluster profits despite strong sales in emerging markets of its budget smartphones, the Galaxy A series, due in part to increased marketing costs for its 5G phone released in South Korea and the United States in the second quarter.
Samsung said it expects sales of the Note 10 to exceed its predecessor Note 9, but industry watchers say the company may face hurdles in promoting the new phablet due to the lengthening smartphone replacement cycle.
Some customers are also expected to wait until the showcase of the Galaxy Fold scheduled for September.
Samsung had hoped its foldable device would wow the market with its innovative design, but it delayed the April launch schedule after early reviewers complained of durability issues with the $2,000 smartphone.
Market researcher Counterpoint Research predicted that combined sales of the Note 10 will reach 9.7 million units this year, similar to that of the 9.6 million units posted by its predecessor the Note 9 last year.
The figure hovers below the 10 million units posted by the Note 8 back in 2017, which posted strong sales due to the suspended sales of the Note 7 over battery problems.
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