If nothing else, Samsung will not release a new phone under the name of the Galaxy Note series in 2022.
The Galaxy Note series was born in 2011. In the next 10 years, Note has set a benchmark for business mobile phones, and has also experienced battery safety scandals. Finally, this series pioneered large-screen mobile phones in the summer of 2020. Stopped the update.
▲ Left S21 Ultra, right Note 20 Ultra Image from: Gsmarena
Samsung did not give much explanation for this, but comparing the S series and Note series machines over the years, it is not difficult to find the reason: the screen size of the Note series is close to the limit of one-handed holding , and the S series, which has steadily increased in screen size, has come to the fore, and the Fold series of folding screens has taken over the task of broadening the value of the palm. Under the two breads, the Note has become a bit embarrassing.
Samsung needs to find a new definition or form for this once high-end series to continue it. What is Note? After nearly two years of exploration, Samsung seems to have found the answer.
The ubiquitous "Note"
The earliest realization that the Note series might be insecure came after the release of the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is the first model in the S series to support the S Pen. Although in appearance, this S Pen is far from the Note's built-in S Pen – it is not only larger, but also needs to be used with a bloated phone case, but it also foreshadows the S series swallowing the Note series. possibility.
Unlike the Note, the S Pen of the S21 Ultra is not a random gift. Users need to purchase an additional pen and a mobile phone case that can store the pen to use it. The extra hardware cost to a certain extent discourages many users who do not have the need for handwriting.
Fortunately, the S21 Ultra can still achieve the level of the Note series in terms of handwriting experience. The S Pen, which supports 4096-level pressure sensitivity, also brings a delicate and realistic writing experience in the S21 Ultra. Well-received features from the series have also been brought to the S21 Ultra.
The only regret is that this S Pen does not have a built-in power supply, and cannot achieve "wand control" on the Note through a Bluetooth connection.
In the second half of 2021, the new flagship Galaxy Z Fold3 of the folding screen Fold series also announced support for the S Pen, and users can finally write with a pen on this large 7.6-inch screen to further develop the production of large folding screens Value, this is not a small technological breakthrough for Samsung.
Unlike the S Pen writing on the Note and S series, the flexible screen used by the Fold3 to achieve folding is much softer and more fragile. The hard silicone tip of the S Pen can easily scratch the screen, and the pressure of writing may also affect the screen. Damage to the inner screen.
In order to solve these problems, Samsung has worked hard on both "paper" and "pen". The first is to add a layer of PET film to the screen, which increases the durability of the screen by 80%; in order to achieve better positioning of the S Pen and adapt to the screen with folding needs, Samsung added two slits under the screen. A digitizer to determine the position of the pen by electromagnetic resonance.
The S Pen designed for the Fold series is also different from other styluses. Its nib is designed with a round rubber, and there is a spring at the end that allows the nib to retract to reduce the pressure of the nib on the screen.
On the newly released Galaxy S22 Ultra, the S Pen is also a dazzling protagonist. In the past, Samsung used a clearer screen and a more powerful camera to divide the functional differences between the "big cup" and "super cup" of the S series, and now the S Pen has also joined the "super cup" luxury package.
Perhaps Samsung heard the user's voice for the built-in S Pen, or was dissatisfied with the bloated phone case. The S Pen was finally re-tucked into the fuselage on the S22 Ultra. If you hide the name and don't look at it, Fang Fangzheng The positive S22 Ultra is like a Note model.
Like the Note 20 series, the S22 Ultra's S Pen has a built-in battery and supports Bluetooth low energy connectivity, which means the Note's software experience is available on the S22 Ultra.
And through AI learning to predict the user's pen position, the S22 Ultra's writing delay can be reduced from 9ms, which is already close to insensitive, to 2.8ms, which is close to the real pen and paper writing feel.
It can be said that although the Note series has stopped, the S Pen built into it has been released.
The excellent writing experience is no longer a unique feature of the Note model, but as the DNA of the Note, extracted by Samsung and injected into other models, becoming a symbol of Samsung's high-end experience.
S Pen for the big screen
Who wants a stylus (Stylus)? Pick it up when you use it, and put it away when you don't need it, you might lose it if you're not careful. Too much trouble. Nobody wants to use a stylus.
When Jobs released the original iPhone in 2007, he severely criticized the stylus and believed that the finger is the best "stylus". Users should tap and swipe directly with their fingers when controlling the phone, rather than relying on a stylus. A plastic rod.
The popularity of the iPhone proved that Jobs was right. Apple redefined the human-computer interaction of mobile phones. The stylus that was popular on mobile phones suddenly became ugly and redundant until the emergence of the Galaxy Note in early 2011.
The Galaxy Note was probably one of the most deviant products of its time: it expanded the screen to a 5.3-inch "giant screen" despite the one-handed comfort that was so prized at the time, and it added the most unpopular stylus. This is a gamble to challenge the authority. In the end, the sales of Note1 and Note2 exceeding 38 million units proved that Samsung made the right bet.
Can the hugely successful S Pen prove that Jobs' judgment was wrong?
Of course not, finger touch is still the main way people interact with mobile phones. The emergence of S Pen is not to replace fingers to tap the screen to open applications or make calls, but as an optional precise input method to improve the large screen experience.
When mobile phones have gradually become the most commonly used or even the only content consumption portal for people from a tool for communication and entertainment, the growth of mobile phone screens has become a matter of course.
From this point of view, rather than saying that the Note pioneered the large-screen mobile phone, it is better to say that Samsung has stepped on the next trend of smart phones one step ahead of the industry. The most handy tool for big screen experience. In terms of functions, the S Pen can be roughly divided into three periods.
S Pen is designed by Samsung and Japanese tablet manufacturer Wacom, mainly using Wacom's EMR electromagnetic induction technology.
Although this is different from the stylus that relies on pressure recognition and touch in the past resistive screen era, the experience of the first-generation S Pen is not perfect. The first-generation S Pen only supports 256-level pressure sensitivity, and the writing sensitivity is not natural enough.
The enthusiastic response of the first generation in the market led Samsung to make more improvements to the S Pen on the Note 2. The most obvious thing is that the pressure sensitivity of the S Pen has been increased to 1024, allowing Note users to feel the smoothness of the mobile phone for the first time. writing experience.
Improve the function
As the most important accessory of Note mobile phones, S Pen should go beyond the "handwriting" attribute itself and bring more convenience to users.
In the period from Note 3 to Note 8, the S Pen has undergone a transition from Pen to Smart Pen. The S Pen can complete functions such as application jumping, screenshot graffiti, and smart picking through the button on the pen.
For example, when the Note 5 takes out the S Pen, the user can immediately write notes on the screen, which is close to the traditional pen and paper recording.
Beyond the "pen"
Starting from Note 9, S Pen has built-in battery and supports low-power Bluetooth connection. In addition to being a tool for recording notes, S Pen can also be a remote controller for pressing the shutter when taking pictures, and a page-turning pen for explaining PPT.
Note 10 adds accelerometers, gyroscopes and other components inside the S Pen. By turning and swiping the S Pen, you can turn pages and adjust the camera.
On the latest S22 Ultra, the accuracy of S Pen's handwriting conversion text has also been improved, and it supports handwriting input in a total of 88 languages, so that the S Pen is no longer just a pen, but an extension of creative production.
Only by doing the best can you be the only one
For a long time, the Note series had few direct competitors in the smartphone market for the simple reason that there was no second vendor that offered a stylus as good a service on a phone as Samsung.
If you want to annotate documents, sign, take handwritten notes or draw on your phone at will, then the only option seems to be the Note series with S Pen.
Motorola has launched a mid-range model moto g stylus with a stylus in 2020, but Motorola has not made more adaptations for handwriting. Some users complain that their hands must be completely suspended when writing, otherwise they will hit the screen. There will be false touches, and there is still a lot of distance between the handwriting experience and the S Pen.
However, providing the best mobile handwriting experience is not Samsung's ultimate goal. Judging from the just-concluded 2022 spring conference, Samsung's ambitions are much bigger than this: Samsung wants the S Pen to become a bridge through the Samsung ecosystem.
Since the Galaxy Tab S6, Samsung has introduced S Pen support on tablets to meet the recording and creative needs of different users.
On the latest Galaxy Tab S8 series, the S Pen allows simultaneous modification of mobile phones and tablets, and seamless switching from small screens to large screens through Samsung Notes.
When you are painting, the phone can also be used as the palette of the Tab S8, using an S Pen to achieve cross-screen color selection and painting, helping you to improve the efficiency of creation.
Although the ecological linkage function of mobile phones and tablets is still relatively limited, Samsung's ideal of realizing multi-screen linkage creation through S Pen has begun to take shape. According to Samsung's plan, Samsung notebooks will also introduce S Pen support in the future, and perhaps in the near future, Samsung will also launch a Universal Control function similar to Apple's ecology.
When the S Pen plays a role in more large screens, it itself becomes an important part of Samsung's ecological functions. At this time, the value of the stylus is no longer the pen itself, but the combination of software and hardware behind it. And creative users create Samsung-defined smart experiences.
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