Samsung's new Galaxy Note 7 unlocks with iris scanner

By Allen Cone  |  Aug. 2, 2016 at 3:49 PM
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RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J., Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note 7 -- a large-screen cellphone -- on Tuesday in an attempt to take business from rival Apple.

The Galaxy Note7, with a retail price of $849.99, will become available on Aug. 19 and all four carriers -- AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon -- and retailers in the United States -- will take preorders Wednesday.

The Galaxy Note 7 includes a 5.7-inch, quad-HD display with two curved edges, an updated S-Pen that is more sensitive and accurate, and an iris scanner that allows users to unlock their phone with their eyes. It includes a new color called Coral Blue besides Gold Platinum, Silver Titanium and Black Onyx.

Like the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge that were introduced earlier this year, it features a 12 megapixel camera, bigger battery, dust and water resistance, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and Android 6.0.1 operating system.

The last Note device, the Note 5, came out in 2015. Samsung skipped the Note 6 to bring the handset in line with its flagship S7 models. The Note "phablet," which it launched in 2011, accounts for around 6 percent of the company's total smartphone shipments.

"What we're finding...is the premium end of the smartphone market is the part that's growing. So we took a strategic decision to focus on the premium segment with the...S6 and S7 series...and they have done incredibly well for us and put real momentum into our smartphone business again," David Lowes, chief marketing officer for Europe, told CNBC in an interview ahead of the launch.

Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 debut comes as Apple is slated to release the iPhone 7 next month. Sales of the iPhone and iPad fell for a second year in the saturated market, the company announced last week.

"Before the S6, people who moved from Apple to Samsung, went back to the iPhone because they were not happy with the experience and value they were getting for the price they were paying," Francisco Jeronimo, research director for mobile devices in Europe at IDC, told CNBC. "That changed with the S6 and S7 and now with the Note 7 and that will bring a good result for Samsung in the long term because they need to be a premium brand."

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