Samsung is turning its focus to its next Unpacked event in August after the Galaxy S20 Ultra disappointed with its spec-heavy-but-not-practical camera. Normally, the second Unpacked event in a year is devoted entirely to a new Galaxy Note. But not this year.
Leaker Jon Prosser is now corroborating an earlier leak by Ice Universe that claims Samsung will announce a Galaxy Fold 2 and a 5G version of the Galaxy Flip in addition to the Note 20. That's two new foldables, possibly the new bean-shaped Galaxy BudsX, and likely a Galaxy Watch 3.
New shores — According to Prosser, the Unpacked event will be virtual (naturally) and take place on August 5, which is *checks calendar* two months away. The three devices will reportedly launch on August 20. In a normal year, it's possible Samsung could get away with announcing a new Galaxy Note with minimal new additions and call it a day.
But 2020 is proving to be different. Despite a wave of cities in the U.S. re-opening this week, it remains to be seen if people are willing to throw money at new gadgets. More value-minded devices... maybe. But phones that will surely cost between $1,000 to $2,000? It's gonna be a hard sell.
Reducing reliance on the Galaxy Note is the right move. Like the Galaxy S series, the Note has enjoyed a decade of steady improvements and sales growth. But it's getting stale. At a certain point, a marginally larger screen doesn't move the needle.
A tame Note — All credible rumors and leaks suggest the Galaxy Note 20 will play it safe. Samsung's dropping the S20 Ultra's gimmicky 100x zoom, likely in favor of one that's more modest like 30x. Makes sense — in our camera comparison, I concluded that photos shot at 30x hybrid zoom still had usable image quality. 100x not so much.
Instead of more zoom, I'd much rather see the Galaxy Note 20 improve the autofocus on its high-resolution image sensors. In May, Samsung announced a 50-megapixel image sensor with "faster auto-focusing and brighter images." It's possible this sensor could make its way into the Note 20's camera system instead of the lackluster 108-megapixel sensor that's inside of the S20 Ultra.
Samsung's also expected to flatten the screen even more, walking back on years of phone designs that pushed curved screen edges. What was once a signature on Samsung phones is now overdone on many Chinese phones. It's time for a reboot.
Fold 2 is the Note 20 Ultra? — There's speculation that there will be no "ultra" version of the Note 20 like there is with the S20 series. Instead, the Fold 2 could fill that role. Does this mean the Fold 2 is getting a stylus? Perhaps. What better way to give the Fold 2 functionality besides "it folds in half" than an instrument to make good use of the larger tablet-sized foldable display?
And if Samsung replaces the comically bad exterior screen with a larger one, ditches the asymmetric interior camera notch for a hole punch selfie camera, and improves durability with a next-gen foldable glass instead of plastic, the Fold 2 might, maybe, be worth the novelty.