Exclusive: Samsung Galaxy Note 10's S Pen Controls Camera Zoom & Camera Swapping

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Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event will happen on August 7, where the company will officially unveil the Galaxy Note 10 and all of its improvements over the previous device in the series. Some of those improvements are coming to the S Pen, and we've now obtained some information from a source that's familiar with the device about the specifics of those improvements.

For months there have been rumors about the S Pen potentially coming with a camera, and Samsung's Unpacked press invites seemed to hint at this as well, showing off the tip of the pen drawing something in a circular motion and finally revealing a camera lens. Without any context it seems very possible that this would be hinting at a camera inside the pen, however that's not the case according to our source. Rather the S Pen will be able to control additional functions of the camera that weren't possible with the Galaxy Note 9.

Integrated Motion Gestures Will Control Galaxy Note 10 Camera Zoom & Camera Swapping Functions

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Motion gestures have been mentioned before. A post from the Verge highlights that motion gestures are the big rumor in regards to S Pen improvements with this year's phone, but there hasn't been any details about exactly what they would do other than controlling the phone in some way. Our source states that the S Pen will indeed come with motion gestures and that these will be used to control the camera's zoom functions, as well as swapping between cameras.

Much like last year's S Pen from the Galaxy Note 9, the button on the S Pen will play a role here. If you want to zoom in, you can hold the button down and use the motion gesture by air drawing with the pen in a clockwise arc motion. This will activate the zoom and continue to zoom in either until you let go of the button or until the camera zooms in all the way.

To zoom back out you use the motion gesture in much the same way except you air draw the arc counter-clockwise, and the camera will zoom back out until you let go of the button or it has zoomed out completely to its original position.

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In addition to the camera zoom functions, there will be a motion gesture for swapping between the front and rear cameras as well. To activate this, much like with the other two motion gestures you hold the button down, and then flick the S Pen upward to swap between the cameras on the device.

So, if you're in the back camera and want to take a selfie, you can pull out the S Pen if it's not already out and use this motion gesture to quickly flick up and swap to the front camera. You can then flick up again to swap back to the rear camera.

The S Pen Contains An Accelerometer & A Gyrometer

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With the addition of the motion gestures in this latest version of the S Pen Samsung is making the S Pen even more powerful and more useful of a tool, but there has to be a way for it all to work. According to our source the S Pen contains an accelerometer and a gyrometer to power the motion gestures.

So far these two pieces of hardware are entirely for the use of the motion gestures that tie into the camera, but there is a possibility for Samsung to utilize them in other ways. Though it hasn't been mentioned, Samsung could add more motion gestures through software updates to the S Pen that utilize the accelerometer and gyrometer. Whether or not it has plans to do so is unclear.

Samsung & Microsoft Are Partnering Up For Gaming

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Beyond the updates to the S Pen our source also mentioned that Samsung and Microsoft have a gaming partnership. The complete details on this are unknown and it's not clear if Samsung approached Microsoft or if Microsoft approached Samsung, but from what we were told the two companies are working together for gaming on a couple of different fronts.

To that end, Microsoft was said to have acquired demo units of the Galaxy Note 10 along with specs and software details, and is working on Xbox One games that can be played on the Galaxy Note 10. These are said to be games that can be downloaded onto the device.

It's not clear what games these are or if the partnership includes the launching of multiple games over time, or where the games will be obtainable, but since this is a partnership between Samsung and Microsoft it's likely that the games will be exclusively for download on Galaxy Note 10 devices with the games probably coming from the Galaxy Apps store.

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In addition to downloaded games, the partnership is also said to include some game titles that players will be able to stream, similar to the way you would access games with Stadia. Our source says that Stadia is a close comparison for the streaming games, so it sounds like Microsoft may be using the Galaxy Note 10 as a device to test out its recently-announced Project xCloud service.

With xCloud Microsoft is envisioning a way where you can access your Xbox One games from any device, including smartphones. If Microsoft has a partnership with Samsung, then it's possible that the Galaxy Note 10 could be one of the first devices that xCloud is compatible with, not too unlike the way Google is making its Pixel 3 devices the initial exclusive smartphones for use with Stadia.

Project xCloud is confirmed to be launching in October with Microsoft starting beta trials of the service around the same time, and it has already shown the early version of xCloud working on Android devices with an Xbox One controller connected to it.

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With the Galaxy Note 10 likely to be released near the end of August it'll be available well before xCloud is available via the beta, which means if the Galaxy Note 10 is being used to test streaming games similar to Stadia, many consumers could already have a phone in their hands that's capable of playing Xbox One games.

A Few Galaxy Note 10 Specs

While many of the specs have already been rumored, our source did confirm a few of the hardware specs that can be expected on the Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10 Plus. For starters, the Galaxy Note 10 will be launched alongside the Galaxy Note 10 Plus, with a 5G version of the phone launching later as the third and final variant.

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The Galaxy Note 10 will also be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and not the 855 Plus, as noted in a rumor back in the middle of July, and further noted in a more recent rumor from August 2. Both the Galaxy Note 10 and the Galaxy Note 10 Plus will have 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB storage options available, with 12GB of RAM for the memory.

Our source also states that the Galaxy Note 10 Plus will in fact come with a quad camera setup on the back (this matches up with the four camera sensors seen in the leaked press renders of the device), which consists of two 12-megapixel sensors, one 16-megapixel sensor, and the fourth will be an RGB sensor used for color image subject and Black and White background images. The RGB sensor will use Time of flight technology and facial recognition to "find a face" and then apply color to the subject while it washes everything in the background in Black and White. If no face is detected then it will put everything in Black and White and then tell the user to find a face so that the sensor can apply the color.

It was also stated that 95-percent of the Galaxy Note 10 Plus display would be usable screen space for interactivity compared to the 88-percent of usable screen space on the Galaxy S10 Plus, which would make sense given that the S10 Plus has a 6.4-inch display and the Galaxy Note 10 Plus is rumored to have a 6.8-inch display. With Galaxy Unpacked coming up in just a few days, these details and more should be officially confirmed by Samsung itself.