A report from The Bell in Korea suggests Samsung may be planning to launch its next S-Pen equipped phablet as early as July this year, less than 12 months after it launched the Galaxy Note 5. According to the site’s sources-in-the-know, Samsung will launch the device in mid-July, almost keeping with a tradition started last year of bringing the smartphone launch forwards and stepping away from a 12-month cycle.
With the Galaxy Note 5 (and Galaxy S6 Edge+) last year, Samsung surprised us by unveiling the devices at an event a few weeks before IFA kicked off in Berlin. Samsung had traditionally used the major tech event in Germany to preview its flagship phablets before 2015, at least for a couple of years.
While this year’s rumored launch date is earlier than last year, we don’t find it completely unbelievable. After all, the Note 5 only launched in select markets and — despite being a great phone — will undoubtedly struggle for relevance alongside the S7 Edge. What we do find hard to take seriously is the rumor that it will launch with Android ‘N’ onboard.
Google’s next operating system only got its first dev preview version a couple of weeks ago, and is likely to stay in its beta stages for a few more months yet. While OEMs will get access to it from later this summer, it’s very improbable that any of them will be able to bring it to the public until the holiday quarter. It’s especially unlikely we’ll see it launched on a non-Nexus phone.
Even if Google does break with tradition and let an OEM launch an Android ‘N’ phone before 2016’s Nexuses, it seems almost impossible that Samsung will be the first to do so. Traditionally, Samsung’s heavily-skinned TouchWiz phones are among the last to get the latest software. In fact, Android Marshmallow only just started its rollout for the Galaxy Note 5 and last year’s Galaxy S-series phones, 5 months after it became available to the public.