Here’s the real reason the Note 10 Lite matters. And it isn’t the headphone jack

Angela Lang/CNET

This story is part of CES 2020, our complete coverage of the showroom floor and the hottest new tech gadgets around.

In a tightly packed, dimly lit resort room at CES, Samsung did one thing so extraordinary it is extraordinary. The world’s largest phone model confirmed off a downmarket model of its premiere phone for energy customers, the Galaxy Note 10 Lite. Creating a less expensive variant of a $1,000 system is not uncommon. Phone-makers do it on a regular basis to draw consumers with extra humble budgets. What’s distinctive is that it occurred to this phone specifically.

Ever since launching in 2011, the Galaxy Note has represented Samsung’s pinnacle in specs and efficiency, whereas the Galaxy S line is extra mainstream (and sure, there is a new Galaxy S10 Lite, too). The original Note stood out for its 5.3-inch display and its stylus, the S Pen, which you need to use to navigate, draw and write on the show. Considered laughably massive for its time, the primary Galaxy Note single-handedly¬†kicked off the trend of large-screen phones, or “phablets.”

Since then, Samsung has rigorously cultivated the Note household of telephones, utilizing the system to experiment with the curved screens that at the moment are typical of its high-end handsets. In truth, Samsung routinely saves its strongest specs — the most important display, most superior digital camera specs and largest battery and storage capacities — for the annual Galaxy Note reveal, which usually takes place in August.

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That’s why Samsung’s impulse to create a “Lite” Note utterly reverses every little thing the Note has come to face for because the model’s better of the most effective. In making a less expensive, extra primary Note, Samsung can also be democratizing the Note’s most distinct and enduring characteristic: the digital stylus.

Unlike the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus, the Note 10 Lite has such a special look and have set, it may nearly be a very new phone. It retains a big display (6.7 inches), however has a a lot much less good decision. It has straight sides as an alternative of curved, a headphone jack that the Note 10 lacked, and a special trio of digital camera sensors in a brand new sq. mount. The one factor it does have in frequent with its cousin is the stylus, which appeared simply as responsive and succesful because the one on the Note 10 Plus.

Samsung hasn’t introduced the value or launch date but, but it surely’s a good guess this gentle model will price lower than half of the Note 10’s $950 retail price.¬†

Whatever the ultimate value, an affordable Note creates a possibility for Samsung to convey the S Pen stylus to a very totally different tier of consumers, one which’s price-conscious and within the flexibility of writing on the display. Introducing the Note to a brand new viewers has two essential advantages.¬†

The first is that it may assist solidify Samsung’s lead because the world’s top smartphone model by flooding the market with telephones at each value. For instance, there at the moment are three Galaxy Notes and 5 Galaxy S10s (5G, Plus, customary S10, S10E, S10 Lite).

The second benefit of a finances Note 10 is extra strategic. Samsung has usually stated that Note customers are probably the most loyal, and extra probably to purchase future generations of Note telephones than some other mannequin from any model. If Samsung is ready to seize a brand new viewers of Note consumers, it will possibly assist safe future gross sales, and maybe upsell Note 10 Lite house owners to pricier variations of future Note telephones.

With the Note 10 Lite, Samsung might have created a gateway phone to long-lasting Note possession. Only time — and future gross sales — will inform.

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