The Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10 Plus (Note 10+) will be announced today, August 7, at Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked 2019 event, but analysts are already predicting similar sales of the Galaxy Note 10 to its year-old predecessor.
Analyst firm Counterpoint Research says that the Galaxy Note 10 series could sell 9.7 million units this year, slightly up from the 9.6 million units sold of the Galaxy Note 9 last year. The Galaxy Note 8, in contrast, sold 10 million units when it went on sale in 2017, just one year after the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7 was recalled twice due to overheating, burning, and exploding batteries.
The Galaxy Note 10 series will be a testing point for Samsung, whose Galaxy S10 posted weaker than expected sales and saw Samsung's operating profit decline by as much as 41.6% on the year as a result. The Galaxy Note 10 has a challenger in the Galaxy Note 9, a smartphone that, now a year old, has discounts, "buy one, get one free" promos, and other financial incentives that make affording the upcoming $1000 Galaxy Note 10 a hard, though not impossible, bargain.
Analysts pointing to better Galaxy Note 8 sales do so while sometimes forgetting that the Galaxy Note 8 was a "play-it-safe" year for Samsung. The Galaxy Note 7's exploding batteries (with a 3,500mAh capacity) led Samsung to place a 3,300mAh battery in the Galaxy Note 8, just 300mAh above the Galaxy Note 5 released in 2015.
Samsung skipped the "Galaxy Note 6" moniker and the number 6 to bring its "Note" and "Galaxy S" series up to the same number. The Galaxy Note 7 was released, thus, in the same year as the Galaxy S7, and the trend now continues.
With the Galaxy Note 10, customers who've held onto their Galaxy Note 8 will find the new phones refreshing. There is a first time for everything, and Samsung is finally bringing a "Plus" model to the Galaxy Note line, a first, whereas the Galaxy S10 Plus offers a "Plus" model that is nothing new: the Galaxy S8 was the first Galaxy S phone to offer a "Plus" model for phone buyers back in 2017.
And yet, for a number of Galaxy Note 9 buyers, the new series doesn't offer much over its predecessor that would mandate spending the extra cash for. A triple rear camera or quad camera setup, even an Ultra Wide Angle Lens on the Galaxy Note 10, wouldn't move too many Galaxy Note 9 owners to spend another $1,000. As for the S Pen features, there's little in the way of rumor to suggest that the S Pen will see a major upgrade in new software additions, so Galaxy Note 9 customers have the largest S Pen upgrade for another year.
The slight increase in sales from the Galaxy Note 9 is likely due to the fact that the Galaxy Note series will offer a "Plus" model for the first time. The idea of a new phone moniker with a larger screen, 1TB internal storage, and other "Pro" features could move some Galaxy Note 9 owners to part ways with their veteran smartphone for the latest and greatest.
Many will likely hang onto their Galaxy Note 9, considering that smartphone replacement cycles are lasting longer these days and lack of enough new software and hardware features make the two-year wait more meaningful.
The Galaxy Fold's re-release could also provide problems for Galaxy Note 10 sales, as Samsung is all set to re-release its groundbreaking phone in September. Samsung released the Galaxy Fold to the market earlier this year, and the phone was quickly found to have a number of flaws and software glitches.
Galaxy Fold reviewers started reporting problems with their review units in less than 48 hours, and it wasn't long before Samsung called for an investigation of the Fold. Eventually, Samsung recalled it in order to fix the hinge and software flaws plaguing the device. Reviewers didn't realize the polyimide film was an important screen protector designed to remain on the device rather than be peeled off.
Samsung went on record stating that it rushed the Galaxy Fold to market to offset the ambitions of Shenzhen-based phone maker Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., who was preparing its own Huawei Mate X foldable smartphone to take on Samsung. Samsung didn't want to be the last in line to release a phone for which it has filed eight years of patents. Samsung was the first to even patent a hinge for a foldable smartphone, and it didn't want Huawei to get credit for its own groundbreaking undertaking.
The Galaxy Note 10 will come in two models this year, a regular Galaxy Note 10 and an all-new Galaxy Note 10 Plus (Galaxy Note 10+). The regular Galaxy Note 10 could see a curved, 6.3-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED display, either Samsung's octa-core Exynos 9820 SoC or Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 (depending on region), 6GB or 8GB of RAM, 128GB/512GB storage variants, and a 4,100mAh battery.
The Galaxy Note 10 Plus (Galaxy Note 10+) will feature a wider, curved 6.75-inch QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED display, 8GB/12GB RAM variants, store up to 1TB of local storage along with a microSD card slot for storage expansion, and a 4,500mAh battery. Samsung is apparently betting big on the more expensive Galaxy Note 10 Plus model, as it doesn't plan to offer microSD card slot expansion on the regular Galaxy Note 10 — a break with years past.
The Galaxy Note 10 Plus is expected to feature four vertically-aligned cameras, including a Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor on the back while the regular Galaxy Note 10 will only offer a triple-camera setup. Contra the Galaxy S10, Samsung is only offering a 12MP selfie camera on the front of the device. There will be a 5G model for the Galaxy Note 10 as there is a 5G model for the Galaxy S10.
Neither Galaxy Note 10 model is expected to come with the long-cherished 3.5mm headphone jack, and both phones will require a dongle for wired music listening. US prices start at somewhere around $1,100 for the regular Galaxy Note 10 and coast to somewhere around $1,200-$1,300 for the Galaxy Note 10 Plus. The Galaxy Fold, the Galaxy Note 10's one-of-a-kind rival, will cost around $1,980 when it arrives in September.
Feel free to check our Galaxy Note 10 Preview for more information before the Big Event.