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The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is dead: what's next?

Samsung has officially closed the door on the Galaxy Note 7 after concerns over the safety and well-being of consumers became too great. The Korean manufacturer has taken the step to cease production of the unit for good, but is this the end of the road for the Galaxy Note 7?

Published onOctober 11, 2016

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Samsung has officially closed the door on the Galaxy Note 7. After a short battle, including recalls and replacements, concerns over the safety and well-being of consumers became too great and the Korean manufacturer took the step to cease production of the unit for good. But is this the end of the road for the Galaxy Note 7? Providing all current owners return the device as they should and the refund process runs smoothly, the phablet will cease to cause consumers any further concern.

But the fallout of the Galaxy Note 7 blast will be far reaching.

How will this affect the Galaxy S8?

After building itself back up from the relative disappointment of the Galaxy S5, Samsung now has another mountain to climb. Though the temptation to think that Samsung’s Note 7 misfire will inspire a world-beating Galaxy S8 is a compelling one, Samsung will be doing everything possible to cut costs. And innovation will be the first casualty.

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One of the most likely outcomes of this debacle, then, is that Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S8 will be one of the safest products the company has ever produced. Not simply in terms of construction – though this will most certainly be the case – but in terms of its overall design philosophy.

Samsung will be doing everything possible to cut costs and innovation will be the first casualty

Samsung is a huge company with many strings to its bow; its mobile division forms only a part of its overall success. But make no mistake, an estimated $17 billion deficit (ephemeral is that figure may be) to its 2016 earnings will cause significant problems. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the price of the S8 will skyrocket to recoup costs, nor dramatically decrease for that matter, but the Galaxy S8 will probably display an even smaller technological advancement than is commonly seen in the modern 12-month smartphone cycle. If you’ve been holding out for the smartphone revolution, don’t expect to see it coming from Samsung next year. 

Will there be a Galaxy Note 8?

Given the Galaxy Note 7’s demise, Samsung would be smart to avoid association with the Note branding in its future phablets. A Galaxy Note 8 would exist under the cloud of Note 7 memories and it could have people gunning for it from the outset.

The Note 7 won’t soon be forgotten, but a last quarter phablet from Samsung in 2017 would stand a better chance of eliding consumer preconceptions if it abandoned the Note name. Though this shouldn’t spell the end for the Note series’ best asset.

Why Samsung killing the Note 7 was absolutely the right move

Samsung is arguably the only smartphone manufacturer investing in, and succeeding with, styli. For many people, this is the whole reason to invest in a Galaxy Note device (despite that they regularly feature outstanding hardware in other areas). To abandon its progress in this sphere would be to throw away years of research and the potential to capture users who crave that experience.

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Earlier in the year, there was speculation that Samsung had been prototyping a case that allowed the S Pen to be used with any smartphone. If that was an idea Samsung was throwing around, such an accessory could now prove itself to be even more relevant. Samsung need not worry about creating another phablet under the Note banner if a ‘Galaxy S8 Edge’ could support an S Pen add-on anyway.

To abandon its progress with the S Pen would be to throw away years of research and its pre-existing fanbase

As for its current phablet lineup, if you’re interested in picking up the Galaxy S7 Edge or last year’s Note 5, wait for the imminent price drop.

Is this the end for Samsung?

The Galaxy Note 7 mess is a huge setback, unquestionably, but this won’t spell the end for Samsung. The Korean manufacturer still retains something that many Android OEM’s lack: a strong lineage. In smartphones and consumer electronics at large, Samsung is a household name; there are people out there who still don’t know the difference between a Samsung phone and an Android phone. OEM’s like OnePlus may produce excellent hardware but the brand can’t permeate the public consciousness like Samsung has in just three or so years.

Other manufacturers may well experience some temporary relief and a sales boost from the Note 7 catastrophe, but if Samsung recovers quickly, it will end as a temporary boost.

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Ultimately, this won’t stop people buying Samsung phones that don’t catch fire. Would this stop you buying a potential Galaxy Note 8 if it seemed like the best phone for you? News that the Galaxy Note 7 could burst into flames at any moment didn’t even stop people. Samsung’s history will go far in helping to keep the company’s head above water in the coming months. 

And there’s another silver lining here, hard as it is to see: Samsung was evidently onto something. The Note 7 received rave reviews, with many critics declaring it the best Samsung smartphone ever made. High praise won’t make up for billions of dollars in losses, but there seemed to be few complaints about the Note 7 outside of its one disastrous flaw (though this stands to make its cancellation even more disappointing for consumers) and Samsung could certainly build upon the handset’s positives.

Today is a dark day in the history of Samsung and the repercussions will no doubt affect all areas of its business. The hole left by what was an otherwise quality Android handset, and the potential of a lukewarm Galaxy S8, is saddening. But if it urges Samsung to make smarter decisions, and splashes some coins into the laps of its Android competitors, there will be some good coming from Samsung’s loss.

The Galaxy Note 7 may be dead, but Samsung will live to see another day.

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