Starring Role: 10 Cool Features In Samsung's New Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge

Samsung Launches Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge

Samsung Wednesday made a splash with two new smartphones in its Galaxy Note line, the Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy Note Edge.

Both smartphones are widely considered a major step up from the Galaxy Note 3, which was released just last September.

Samsung included some unique features in the new releases, while also sticking with some of the technology and features that have propelled the company to the top spot in worldwide smartphone market share.

Here are 10 key features included in the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge.

Big Super-HD Display

Both smartphones of course have big screens. Samsung is the father of the phablet and has no reason to change the recipe that has ushered it into the top spot in worldwide market share.

The Galaxy Note 4 has a 5.7-inch quad HD Super AMOLED display, with 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, while the Galaxy Note Edge is just a hair slimmer with the same display and resolution, measuring 5.6 inches.

The display's vibrant colors and exceptional picture quality are major strengths of both smartphones, but the screen of the Galaxy Note Edge is a bit more eye-catching than the Galaxy Note 4. More on that in the next slide.

The Edge Of The Galaxy Note Edge

At first glance, it appears that the display of the Galaxy Note Edge curves around the side (or "edge") of the device, but it's actually a separate display on the side designed to look like a curved screen.

With the edge screen, users will get notifications and alerts on the side of the device so the messages don't take over the main display, possibly interrupting what they are reading or looking at. The side display also will be home to some of the most popular and frequently used apps, making for easy access.

The unique feature also includes a ticker supplied by Yahoo.

SDK For The Galaxy Note Edge

Samsung released the SDK for the "edge screen" of the Galaxy Note Edge to app developers at its launch event Wednesday, signaling that it intends to add this feature to future devices as well. In order for the feature to catch on, Samsung will need app developers to come up with software to take full advantage of it.

The problem, as one solution provider pointed out, is that if there is only one smartphone that has this edge screen, there is no reason for developers to create software for it.

On the flip side, if developers do come up with software to take full advantage of the edge screen feature, expect the edge display to show up on more Samsung devices and maybe even be copied by other vendors.

Camera Upgrade

Samsung gave its camera a boost with a 16-megapixel primary camera and a 3.7-megapixel secondary camera on both the Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy Note Edge.

Possibly inspired by the famous Ellen DeGeneres selfie at the Oscars, Samsung's secondary camera has a couple of different selfie-specific features, including a 90-degree shooting angle in addition to a panoramic option to take even wider selfies.

As for the picture quality, Samsung focused on the software more than raising the megapixel count, allowing for better-quality shots in poor lighting situations and better photo apps. The camera is said to capture 60 percent more light and features Optical Image Stabilization technology to prevent blurry shots. The camera also allows for improved image quality on zoomed shots.

S Pen

Samsung has even upgraded the pen for the Galaxy Note line.

With the S Pen, users can capture images on the screen and quickly take handwritten notes. Samsung has doubled the S Pen's sensitivity, making it easier to take notes or browse with the pen.

The S Pen is a unique feature that broadens the usefulness of the device. In addition, it is something Samsung's new high-end smartphones offer that its competitors don't, making it yet another unique advantage for the company.

User Interface Improvement

Both devices run on Android 4.4.4 KitKat, but there are a few noticeable tweaks to the Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy Note Edge user interface.

One is transparent widgets, making it easy to view what's going on in the background behind open windows.

There also is a new multitasking feature that takes advantage of the large screens on both devices.

Users can now open multiple apps at the same time and resize them on the screen. Some operating systems feature two-window multitasking but the user interfaces now allow for more than two apps to be viewed at the same time and share a screen together.

Battery Improvements

Despite improvements to the camera, advancements in the quality of the display and other energy-eating features, Samsung says the battery life on both smartphones is actually longer than previous Samsung models.

Both the Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy Note Edge have 7.5 percent longer battery life than their predecessors and can charge up to 50 percent of their battery life in 30 minutes or less. The energy-saving feature that premiered in the Galaxy S5 is also on both the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge.

Interior Specs

Behind their impressive displays, both the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge have a 2.7GHz quad-core processor.

The Galaxy Note 4 has 32 GB of storage while the Note Edge comes with 32 GB or 64 GB of storage. Both smartphones have microSD card slots, allowing for up to an additional 64 GB for each.

Both of the powerful devices include 3 GB of RAM and Bluetooth 4.1, LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity, while the Galaxy Note 4 has NFC technology as well.

Outer Specs

It may not sound like much, but for a long time Samsung devices have undergone criticism for having too much of a "plastic feel."

The company addressed that problem recently with August release of the Galaxy Alpha, which featured a metal frame.

The Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge also are made with metal frames and a plastic back panel to make them feel more solid and durable.

Pricing And Release Dates

Samsung did not reveal an official release date for either the Galaxy Note 4 or the Galaxy Note Edge, but did say that the smartphones are both expected to be released in October -- before the holiday shopping season. The time frame also means that both smartphones will compete with Apple's iPhone 6, which is expected to be unveiled next week before its release at the end of the month.

Samsung did not officially reveal the price points for either smartphone. The Galaxy Note 3, however, was $700 without a contract and $300 with one when it was released last year.