Thanks to all the leaks, rumors, renders we’ve seen, plus the fact that we can count to nine, it’s obvious that the release date for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 is coming. But the device just got far more official thanks to a filing with the Federal Communications Commission, a vital regulatory step that normally only happens a month before the unveiling.
The Galaxy Note 8 hit the FCC on July 31st last year, and Samsung’s Unpacked event to show off the device occurred on August 23rd. Assuming a similar release schedule, we could be seeing an Unpacked event in mid-July, with a release to follow within a week or two. A previous report penciled the Unpacked event for August 2nd or August 9th, and if it’s the former, the FCC filing would be right on schedule for making that a reality.
Other than giving us a hint at a release date, the FCC filing doesn’t actually say much — it just shows that there’s a new Samsung device in the pipeline, and it has a bunch of LTE bands. The FCC LTE tests tell us that the model number is SM-N960F, with two additional models, SM-N960F/DS and SM-N960X also listed. Last year’s Galaxy Note 8 had the model number SM-N950, so SM-960 lines up exactly with what we’d expect for a Galaxy Note 9. An educated guess suggests that the two additional models will be a dual-SIM version, and a factory-unlocked version sold directly by Samsung rather than through carriers.
Previous rumors have suggested that we’re not going to get any game-changing hardware features from the Galaxy Note 9 this year. Just as the Galaxy S9 and S9+ were incremental updates on the Galaxy S8, we’re expecting the Galaxy Note 9 to share roughly the same design as the Galaxy Note 8. In some regards, that’s a good thing — you won’t have to spend money upgrading your phone! — but for anyone who was looking for a completely refreshed design a la iPhone X, you’ll be waiting at least until the Galaxy S10 next spring.
Beyond the physical design, we’re expecting the same processor and camera as the Galaxy S9+ that came earlier this year. The biggest changes might be found in a particularly fast kind of fast charging, and perhaps some new features for the S Pen, which is supposed to be the Note series’ standout selling point, after all.