I Have A Theory About The Samsung Galaxy Note 7, Android Nougat & Google’s ChromeOS

Rumours 14:57, 11 Jul 2016

OK — this is pretty “out there” but bear with me…I have a theory about the Samsung Galaxy Note 6, Android N and ChromeOS

The Galaxy Note 6 will apparently feature 6GB of RAM. This comes via sources in China, who claim to be familiar with the handset, which is expected to land later on this year — likely late-Q2, early-Q3. 

And unless you’ve been living under a rock for past couple of weeks, you’ll be fully aware that Samsung has been shifting Galaxy S7 units in record numbers. And this is very good news for the Korean phone giant, as it hasn’t been having the best of luck with its Galaxy S line of phones these last few years.

But it is also good news for those eager to pick up the Galaxy Note 6 as well because Samsung is apparently fast tracking the release of the handset in order to strike while the iron is hot. And this isn’t just hearsay, it comes from a very reliable analyst, Mr. Neil Mawston: “We expect Samsung to release the Note 6 a month or two before the Apple iPhone 7, to try and grab that window of opportunity.”

Marston also said the Galaxy S7 is likely to be the biggest selling Android handset of 2016.

But it's not just RAM where Samsung is looking to make a splash. According to additional reports, the company is also looking at larger storage options for its Galaxy Note 6. Potentially as high has 256GB.

“We are determined to push the competitive edge in premium storage line-ups – OEM NVMe SSDs, external SSDs, and UFS – by moving aggressively to enhance performance and capacity in all three markets.” said Joo Sun Choi, executive vice president, Memory Sales and Marketing, Samsung told, according to International Business Times.

So… lots of memory and lots of storage. And 6GB really is an INSANE amount of memory for a smartphone, even by Samsung’s and Android’s usual standards. And this got me thinking - perhaps Samsung is cooking up something a little bit different for this year’s Galaxy Note release. 

This is very much speculation, however, so please do not take this is fact; it’s merely a set of musings on my part about something that could, potentially, be very cool if (BIG if) two separate rumours turn out to be true. 

The first rumour is related to Samsung’s patent, covered a few months back, that showed plans for a dummy-style laptop that is powered by an upcoming, but previously unannounced Galaxy Note phone. Like what Motorola tried AGES ago, but obviously MUCH better. 

The second is this week’s rumour that the handset will feature 6GB of RAM, a frankly stupid amount of memory for a phone. How they come together is simple; 6GB of RAM, if true, implies Samsung has bigger ideas for the Galaxy Note 6 than just being a phablet with a stylus. 

Things have progressed A LOT since the days of Motorola’s phone-in-a-laptop experiment. So much so I can’t actually remember what the damn thing was called, although I know for a fact I have one collecting dust in a drawer at home.

Software like ChromeOS, which is lightweight and very useful, could easily piggyback off the back of a handset as powerful as the Note 6, bringing with it a ton of utility and promoting such a concept from niche, gimmick to actual useful-product territory. 

OEMs are desperate for a new, gold-rush-type product, something that’d do what phones did for them between 2008 and 2013, which is why they all jumped on the smartwatch bandwagon — they saw a possible cash-cow - the problem there is that so far the wearables market isn't paying off; consumers are not, on the whole, convinced yet that they need a smartwatch, and it's quite possible this is something that simply won't change.

A hybrid phone laptop, however, given current technology trends and capabilities, makes a lot of sense — just look at how popular Chromebooks have become in the past 18 months. 

That kind of memory, paired with the Snapdragon 812 or new Exynos setup, could easily power along a very competitive laptop experience — especially if it ran something lightweight like ChromeOS. Heck, KYM's reviews editor Paul does all his work on a Chromebook with only 2GB of RAM and a much lower-end processor than what the Galaxy Note 6 will pack, AND that was the higher-end RAM option!

Google claims it has ZERO plans in place to merge ChromeOS and Android. Just as Apple has no plans to merge iOS and OS X. I get Apple’s reasoning, but Google’s makes very little sense, which is why I'm calling BS on it. A platform consisting of the best elements of ChromeOS and Android would be immense. It'd also power an entirely new range of hybrid machines, machines that would give Microsoft some serious pause for thought. 

Google denies it is doing stuff like this and then, in the source code of Android N, we find things like this — freeform mode, essentially a mode for allowing applications to be ordered in resizable windows, just like in, well, Windows. Obviously, this type of ability would be kind of limited on a smartphone, even one with a massive 6in display, although it is believed the feature will be available to manufacturers once Android N drops later this year. 

“Freeform mode” on a tablet or, even better, a hybrid machine like the Pixel C or Surface Pro with a keyboard and mouse, or, in the context of this article, a dummy laptop, it starts to make a lot more sense. 

“It’s also worth noting that Android already supports floating apps to some degree – Facebook Messenger’s ‘Chat Heads’ are the most popular example – but these are few and far between and don’t allow for resizing,” reports TNW. “With devices like the iPad Pro and the Surface duking it out to define the future of productivity, it seems Google is ready to join the fray. Though we haven’t seen what it looks like in practice, Android N appears to be implementing much more robust windowed-app support than we’ve ever seen from a mobile OS.”

Over the past 18 months, there has been plenty of talk about Google merging ChromeOS with Android. Microsoft has a unified platform now with Windows 10 and Apple has begun implementing elements of iOS into OS X, though Cook and Boys’ have flat out denied the two platforms would ever become unified. 

Google will apparently give us our first glance at Android/ChromeOS at this year’s Google I/O conference. The Wall Street Journal reckons the OS will be ready for release in 2017, but given the clout Google has at its disposal the idea of it launching sooner isn’t entirely out of the question. 

“Chrome is essentially being folded into Android,” notes The Verge, citing The Wall Street Journal, “because Android has emerged as the dominant operating system by quite a long stretch. Combining the two operating systems means setting up Android to run on laptops and desktop computers, which would require big changes, as well as supporting the Google Play Store. Chromebooks will reportedly receive a new name to reflect the new OS.”

Another possibility for such a patent could be as a means of championing the benefits of Tizen without ditching Android on the phone. If the Galaxy Note 7 could side-load Tizen onto a connected peripheral like a dummy laptop, users could use Android on the move and then Tizen when they want to get some work done on a machine with a keyboard.

Tizen is available for download on PCs, although it is still rather clunky, and a complete ditching of Android does not make sense for Samsung. This way, whereby, Tizen is used as a productivity OS for supported peripheral devices makes more sense, as it allows Samsung to show off Tizen’s capabilities before committing full scale to the OS on its phones.

Again, this is pure speculation. But it is something worth considering, as Samsung has made no bones about its desire to break away from the grip of Google’s Android.

Things like a 4K display and a decent keyboard and trackpad would make the idea even more compelling to end users, particularly if it was bundled in with the handset itself, as it would negate the need for a proper laptop and/or tablet for a lot of people. I know I can function perfectly well with just a Chromebook, providing I have a decent desktop at home for heavier lifting. Perhaps it'd be the same with Tizen?

As I said, this is all speculation on my part. But given what’s happened in the past 12 months — Surface Pro 4, the iPad Pro, the prospect of further developments to Android Nougat — I feel something like this would not only inject a bit of life into the mobile space, but also give Android partners like Samsung the ability to make true post-PC machines. 

Love to hear your thoughts on the matter, guys. Hit me up in the comments below! 

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