Mobility News

Samsung Unveils Galaxy Note7, A Productivity-Focused Device With Iris Scanning Authentication

Kyle Alspach

Following big sales of its Galaxy S7 smartphone and a general resurgence versus rival Apple, Samsung Tuesday unveiled a new version of its large-screened Note smartphone, with new security options among the features that could draw interest from mobile professionals.

The 5.7-inch Galaxy Note7 includes iris scanning as an option for user authentication and is water-resistant for up to a half-hour of submersion, according to Samsung, which debuted the device in conjunction with its Galaxy Unpacked event in New York. The smartphone goes on sale Aug. 19 in the U.S.

[Related: Tale Of Two Quarters: Apple And Samsung Reveal Diverging Fortunes]

Iris scanning authentication is available for the first time on a Note device as part of the Note7, Samsung said. At Troy Mobility, a solution provider based in Peabody, Mass., Chief Customer Officer Paul Troisi said he’s surprised Samsung is putting its biometric authentication efforts into iris scanning rather than facial or voice recognition -- although he agreed that new methods of securing devices are crucial.

’Other people can easily stare over your shoulder to pick up your PIN code, or see the pattern you’re drawing on screen. Getting that next layer of security is great,’ Troisi said.

But from what he’s seen of iris scanning technologies so far, ’it’s really not overly proven out. It still has a fairly sizable margin of error -- lots of false positives.’

The Note7's debut follows Samsung’s biggest quarterly profits in two years during the second quarter, driven by sales of the Galaxy S7 smartphone. At Apple, meanwhile, iPhone sales for the quarter were down significantly compared with a year earlier.

’It seems like Samsung has found its spot in the market, and that appears to be in the mid- to upper-level price bands in the market,’ said devices analyst Jack Narcotta of Hampton, N.H.-based Technology Business Research.

Meanwhile, ’Apple is not as strong of a competitor as it used to be, and I think Samsung is able to exploit that,’ Narcotta said. ’Samsung’s got a little bit of its mojo back.’

Still, even with a digital pen for writing on the device and rugged features such as water resistance and Corning Gorilla Glass 5, the Note7 could face challenges in terms of reaching businesses, one solution provider told CRN.

’Most recently, enterprise customers have slowed the rate of adoption of new device models and releases,’ said Jay Gordon, vice president of sales at Plano, Texas-based Samsung partner Enterprise Mobile. ’In the past, organizations were driven by consumers to test and certify new devices moments after they hit the market. Today, with new device versions only offering slight improvement of business functions on devices, the timeline to test, certify and implement a new device version is longer.’

Samsung said the Galaxy Note7 will have a quad-core processor, microSD support and 4 GB of memory, and will come with Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow). Samsung didn’t disclose pricing details.

Other security options on Note7 will include a feature called Secure Folder, which will let users protect sensitive information with an additional layer of authentication.

In terms of productivity, users will be able to jot down memos on the Note7 without first unlocking the screen, according to Samsung.

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