I can’t speak for others, but the way I see things, one dark side to daily covering Android news is that you often feel somewhat disappointed when new devices are officially announced, especially if the device in question has generated a decent amount of hype before it is actually revealed – and that happens quite a lot. Personally, I always feel like manufacturers could take it one step further but they don’t, mainly because they still want to be able to bring a minor improvement to a line in about six months or so. But just in case you take me for too much of a romantic, let me explain!
I have a few friends that find the average retail price for top end smartphones, which is roughly $600, to be as obscene as they come, seeing as these handsets definitely do not cost more than $300 to manufacture.
Teardown reports have shown that the 8GB version of recently released Google Nexus 7 has a bill of materials of around $150, and costs around $160 to manufacture, while the Lumia 900 costs Nokia roughly $200 a piece. The new iPad costs around $320 to manufacture, and a big part of that money goes to the 9.7-inch Retina display, so a device with a sub 6-inch display cannot possibly cost more than $300 to manufacture.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Wishlist
Now, the next big smartphone to be unveiled is going to be the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, right? We all know the rumors, as well as the reasons why you should pass on the Galaxy S3 and get the Galaxy Note 2 once it is released. So let me ask you one question: what would be the specs of a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 that costs $400-$450 to make? Surely that would give Samsung a profit of roughly $200 for each Note 2 it sells, so Samsung wouldn’t go bankrupt, not by far. On the other hand, though, I must admit that this is more like a wishlist for the Smartphone Santa!
Starting with the display, there have been plenty of rumors predicting that Samsung will use a 5.5-inch UBP (unbreakable panel) Super AMOLED Plus display on the next iteration of the Samsung Galaxy Note phablet. Recent reports also claim that Samsung is now able to manufacture Super AMOLED displays that use an RGB matrix, and feature a PPI ratio of 360.
Some believe that these new panels will skip the Note 2 and come with Samsung’s next flagship device, but here goes hoping that these rumors are wrong and that we’re bound to see a 5.5-inch UBP Super AMOLED display with a 1680 x 1050 WSXGA resolution on the Note 2! Samsung might want to be prepared in case the rumors depicting a 5-inch Verizon-bound HTC phablet expected to hit shelves at some point in early Q4 eventually turn out to come true as well.
Corning Gorilla Glass 2 on top of the display is a must, and I would be very surprised is Samsung doesn’t comply!
Design and Battery
Note (pun intended): The picture below is obviously Photoshopped!
Now, since the Note 2 shouldn’t be harder to pocket than the original Note, Samsung is rumored to make the bezel even smaller that it is on the Galaxy S3, which is obviously something everyone would want, especially on a phablet. Thinness is also very important so the Note 2 shouldn’t be thicker than 9mm with a 3500mAh battery, but I’m willing to let 10mm pass by in case the Note 2 turns out to feature a battery capacity of at least 4500 mAh. Anything under 3000 mAh would really be a bit of a disappointment. In terms of design, the Note 2 was often referred to as a “derivative model of the Galaxy S3”.
On to the internal hardware, Samsung said on its official website that its new Exynos 5250 chip (also known as the Exynos 5 Dual) will become available for mass production starting Q2 2012, so technically, the Galaxy Note 2 could be based on this new chipset, one that puts together a dual-core Cortex A15 processor clocked at 1.7GHz and an ARM Mali-T604 GPU – this new GPU supports resolutions up to 2560 x 1600 (WQXGA).
Another thing to take into consideration is the fact that one official Samsung press release even goes as far as to claim that the bill of materials will actually be smaller for devices built on the Exynos 5 Dual, thanks to the integration of USB Host/Dev3.0, HSIC with PHY transceivers, and eight channels of I2C supporting a variety of sensors directly on the SoC.
2GB of RAM is another must, and I’m willing to bet the Note 2 will have exactly 2GB of RAM.
Since diversity is always a good thing, I hope that the Galaxy Note 2 will come in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB versions. And why not throw in the new 400Mbps NAND chips that Samsung has just started mass producing? MicroSD card support up to 64GB is a must, no doubt about it!
OS and Software Tweaks
As far as the OS goes, I really hope that the Android PDK project will soon start showing its first results, and that we are going to see the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean right out of the box. Smartphone Santa, please make it so that rumors of a Galaxy Note 2 launch with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on board to turn out to be false.
Since this is a Note (duh!), it will obviously come with an S Pen. But what I would really like to see is Samsung continue to bring improvements to its S Memo and S Note apps, and not settle with the minor improvements brought by the Galaxy Note 10.1. All the ‘Smart’ functions that have been introduced with the Samsung Galaxy S3 should be present as well.
As you can see, I’ve only talked about technology that Samsung already owns and has already begun mass producing. Almost all of the specs in my Galaxy Note 2 wishlist are possible! It is my sincere opinion that Samsung should really try to bring most of them into the Note 2 if the South Korean company really wants to manufacture a device that would not only break sale records, but also be a device that the Android community would praise.
Unfortunately, there is but a small chance that my Galaxy Note 2 wishlist will be completely fulfilled, as corporations don’t usually think much of a geek’s wishes.