Take them with the customary grain of salt until further confirmation, but several unrelated reports seem to suggest Samsung is going to put out two new versions of the Galaxy Note 3 by the end of the year.
ETNews, a Korean publication that has provided accurate insider info in the past, claims that Samsung is preparing a cheaper version of the Galaxy Note 3 that will go in production in November and hit the stores by the end of the year. This low-cost Note device would feature an LCD display instead of the Super AMOLED on the Note 3 and an 8MP camera instead of 13MP. The device would reportedly feature the same design as the Note 3 and come with an S Pen.
By downgrading some of the components, Samsung has reportedly managed to decrease production costs by 30 percent. The original plan was to release both the high-end and the cheaper version of the Note 3 at the same time, but Samsung backtracked out of fear of sales cannibalization and a negative effect on the image of the Note series. Regular readers may remember that, over the summer, we heard several rumors about a cheaper LCD-equipped Note 3 variant.
Samsung may also release a “limited edition” of the Note 3 that is equipped with a flexible display, sometime in the next weeks. The reports come to us from ZDNet Korea and Chosun, a Korean business portal, and seems to corroborate with previous reports that claimed Samsung might manufacture plastic-based displays only in limited quantity, due to low yields.
What can we expect from this plastic-based display technology? If Samsung does bring it to market this year, the limited edition Note version would probably look like the Youm series prototypes that Samsung demoed as CES early this year. In other words, the flexible plastic panel would be encased in rigid glass and look like an ordinary glass-based display for the most part. However, using plastic instead of glass would reduce the thickness and weight of the device and allow Samsung’s designers to pursue new creative ideas, such as curved displays.
So, how likely is it that these rumors are accurate? Normally, we would be very skeptic about them, but they do seem to corroborate with earlier reports. Furthermore, Samsung has already created an entire range based on the Galaxy S4, so it’s not hard to believe that it would adopt a similar strategy with the Note 3.