The Note series may disappear, but handwriting is still Samsung’s future

If nothing else, Samsung will still not release a new Galaxy Note series this year.

The Galaxy Note series was born in 2011. In the following ten years, the Note set the benchmark for business mobile phones and also experienced battery accidents. Finally, this series started the first series of large-screen mobile phones and stopped in the summer of 2020.

Samsung didn’t explain much, but comparing the S series with the Note series over the years, it is not difficult to find the reason: the Note series screen is close to the limit of one-handed holding, the S series with a stable growth screen comes later, and the folding screen Fold series He took over the important task of broadening the value of the palm, and the positioning of the Note was very embarrassing under the two breads.

Samsung needs to find a new definition or form for the former high-end series to continue its life, but what is the 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 was 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. From the outside, the S Pen is far from the Note’s S Pen – not only is it larger, but also has a bloated phone case, but it also previews the possibility of combining the S series with the Note series.

Different from the Note, the S Pen of the S21 Ultra is not a random gift. Users need to purchase and store a mobile phone case for the pen to use it. The extra hardware cost to a certain extent discourages many users who do not need handwriting. Fortunately, the handwriting experience of the S21 Ultra is still similar to that of the Note series. The S Pen, which supports 4096-level pressure sensitivity, also brings a delicate and realistic writing experience on the S21 Ultra. The well-received functions of the Note series, such as suspension preview, have also been moved to the S21 Ultra.

The only regret is that the S Pen does not have a built-in power supply, and it cannot achieve the “wand control” of the Note through a Bluetooth connection.

In the second half of 2021, Galaxy Z Fold3, the new flagship of the folding screen Fold series, also announced that it supports S Pen. Users can finally write with a pen on this large screen with a 7.6-inch unfolded screen, giving full play to the value of the large folding screen, which is not small for Samsung. technological breakthrough. Unlike the Note and S series S Pen writing, the Fold3 uses a flexible screen to be folded, which is much softer and more fragile. The hard silicone tip of the S Pen can easily scratch the screen, and the writing pressure may also damage the inner screen.

In order to solve the problem, Samsung has worked hard on both “paper” and “pen”. The first is to add a layer of PET film to the screen to increase the durability of the screen by 80%; in order to locate the S Pen and adapt to the screen with folding needs, two cut digitizers are added under the Samsung screen to determine the position of the pen through electromagnetic resonance.

The S Pen designed for the Fold series is also different from other styluses. The tip is made of round rubber, and there is a spring at the end to allow the tip to stretch, reducing the pressure of the tip on the screen.

The latest Galaxy S22 Ultra, the S Pen is also a dazzling protagonist. In the past, Samsung used a clearer screen and a stronger lens to divide the “big cup” and “super cup” functions of the S series, and now the S Pen also joins the “super cup” luxury package.

Perhaps Samsung heard users’ voices about the built-in S Pen, or was dissatisfied with the bloated phone case. The S Pen was finally re-plugged into the S22 Ultra. If the name is hidden, the square S22 Ultra is just like Note models.

The S Pen of the S22 Ultra, like the Note 20 series, has a built-in battery and supports Bluetooth Low Energy, which means that the Note software experience is readily available in 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 almost insensitive, to 2.8ms, which is almost close to real pen and paper writing.

It can be said that although the Note series has been stopped, the S Pen has been released. The excellent writing experience is no longer a unique feature of the Note series, but has become the DNA of the Note. Samsung has refined it and injected it into other models to become one of Samsung’s high-end experiences.

S Pen for the big screen
Who wants a stylus (Stylus)? Pick it up when you use it, and find a place to put it when you don’t need it, and you’ll 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 “pen”. When controlling the phone, users should tap and slide directly with their fingers instead of using the help of plastic rods. . The popularity of the iPhone proved that Jobs was right. Apple redefined the human-computer interaction of mobile phones. The stylus that was popular in mobile phones suddenly became ugly and redundant until the Galaxy Note appeared in early 2011.

The Galaxy Note was probably one of the most deviant products of its time: it expanded to a 5.3-inch “giant screen” despite the one-handed comfort that was so important at the time, and added the most unpopular stylus. It was a gamble to challenge the authority, but the combined sales of the Note1 and Note2 over 38 million units proves that Samsung got it right.

Can the successful S Pen prove Jobs wrong?

Of course not, finger touch is still the main way people interact with mobile phones. The S Pen is not meant to replace finger taps on the screen to open apps or make calls, but as a selective and precise input to complement the large-screen experience. When the mobile phone has gradually become the most commonly used or even the only content consumption entrance for people from a communication and entertainment tool, it is a matter of course that the mobile phone screen grows up.

From this point of view, it is not so much that the Note pioneered the large-screen mobile phone, it is better to say that Samsung first stepped on the next trend of smart phones, and the S Pen, which was born for the large screen, has become Samsung’s best when creating an excellent large-screen experience. tools used. In terms of functions, the S Pen can be roughly divided into three periods.

Perfect writing
The S Pen was designed in cooperation with Japanese tablet manufacturer Wacom and uses Wacom’s EMR electromagnetic induction technology. This is different from the pressure recognition stylus in the past resistance screen era. The first-generation S Pen experience is not perfect. It only supports 256-level pressure sensing, and the sensitivity is not natural.

The enthusiastic response received by the first generation led Samsung Note2 to greatly improve the S Pen. The most obvious is that the pressure sensitivity has been increased to 1024 levels, allowing users to feel the mobile phone has a smooth writing experience for the first time.

Improve the function
As the most important accessory of Note phones, the S Pen should go beyond the “handwriting” attribute itself and bring more convenience to users. From the Note3 to Note8 period, the S Pen has undergone a transformation from a Pen to a Smart Pen. The button S Pen can complete functions such as application jumping, screenshots, graffiti, and smart picking. For example, when the Note5 takes out the S Pen, users can write notes immediately, and the speed is close to that of traditional pen and paper.

Beyond the “pen”
Starting from Note9, S Pen has built-in battery and supports low-power Bluetooth connection. In addition to being a note-taking tool, S Pen can also be used as a remote shutter controller when taking pictures, and a page-turning pen for explaining PPT.

Note10 adds accelerometers, gyroscopes and other components, and can turn pages, adjust the camera, etc. by turning and swiping the S Pen. The S Pen of the latest S22 Ultra has more improvements in the accuracy of handwriting conversion text, and supports handwriting input in a total of 88 languages, so that the S Pen is no longer just a pen, but an extension of creation.

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 manufacturer that could offer an excellent stylus service in phones like Samsung. If you want to use your phone to annotate documents, sign, take notes or draw at will, the only option seems to be the Note series with S Pen.

Motorola will launch a mid-range moto g stylus with a stylus in 2020, but it has not done a good job of software matching. Some users complain that their hands must be completely suspended when writing, otherwise they will touch the screen by mistake, and the handwriting experience is quite different from the S Pen. gap.

However, providing the best mobile handwriting experience is not Samsung’s ultimate goal. From the just-concluded spring 2022 conference, Samsung’s ambitions are much bigger: Samsung wants to make the S Pen a bridge through the Samsung ecosystem. Starting with the Galaxy Tab S6, Samsung has introduced S Pen support in tablets to meet users’ recording and creative needs.

With the latest Galaxy Tab S8 series, the S Pen allows you to synchronize changes on your phone and tablet, and seamlessly switch from small screen to large screen through Samsung Notes. When drawing, the phone can also be used as a palette for the Tab S8, using an S Pen to pick colors across the screen to improve creative efficiency.

Although the ecological linkage between mobile phones and tablets is currently limited, Samsung’s ideal of realizing multi-screen linkage creation through the S Pen has begun to take shape. According to Samsung’s plan, Samsung notebooks will also introduce S Pen 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 greater role, 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, creating Samsung for users who focus on productivity and creativity. Defined Smart Experience.

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