Samsung’s Unpacked event revealed the next generation of Note phablet to the world, and it wasn’t not just the Galaxy Note 9 that’s made an appearance today.
We reported live from Samsung’s Unpacked event in Brooklyn, New York to bring you all the latest from the press conference, including the surprise launches of the new Galaxy Watch – and we’ve also seen the new Galaxy Home smart speaker too.
Read our hands on: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 review
You can keep up with everything that happens on stage with our live blog as we follow along with the event, and we’ll also offer you expert analysis on the news as it breaks, helping you understand what it all means and why you should be excited, shocked, surprised or disgusted.
The event has now finished, but you can see how it unfolded below.
Watch our hands on video below to see the Galaxy Note 9 in action
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 launch live blog
All times in Eastern Daily Time (EDT)
12.05 – DJ Koh is back on stage to wrap things up (with an awkward exchange with Daniel Ek when he was saying goodbye).
Who knows what will happen next? Well, the Note 9 release date has been set for 24 August. That’s a start. It’s also the ‘future of connected living too’.
Everything we’ve seen is a ‘step forward into an open and connected world, powerful enough to keep up with you’.
It’s a lot more marketing speak… basically Samsung has made the battery life longer on its biggest smartphone and watch, and added a smart speaker that seems very similar to the Apple HomePod. There’s certainly no paradigm shift here, but we need to get to work previewing the Galaxy Watch and Home for you to find out if there’s anything special.
12.02 – You’ll need to use Samsung’s SmartThings framework to get this to work, so basically Samsung things. You’ll soon be able to control the music through Bixby as well… and somehow that will bring ‘new music experiences’. Who knew?
12.01 – Drew is back to help out. We’re seeing an empty desk where Mr Doodle was so confusing.
Ah, when you come close to a device that is Spotify-enabled, you’ll get a notification asking you to change it over.
Press play on a Galaxy Home with the music playing on you and it’ll transfer there. Samsung is making Spotify its own Apple Music. That’s smart.
12.00 – Ek is talking about how Spotify has disrupted the industry with streaming. Now we’re going to hear some analysis about how users listen differently on different devices.
All about how seamless it is to switch from one device to another – that’s already quite easy on Spotify, so it’ll be interesting to see how that changes.
11.59 – They needed the perfect partner, committed to the long-term of the service and music. Guess who it is? Yeah, it’s Spotify.
Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify on stage. This is pretty big.
11.57 – It’s Drew Blackard on the stage again now (totally always knew his name)… it sounds like we’re wrapping up now.
Everything looks like it’s going to be Bixby-enabled… but now we’re hearing more about music. The importance of it. How we listen on up to three different devices that don’t work so well together.
How will Samsung solve that? Apparently the brand is dedicated to it. Oh, it’s partnered with Spotify.
11.55 – There’s eight microphones in the mix, so it can hear from anywhere in the room. Sounds like this is only a first look for now, as Samsung will ‘share more details soon’.
There are more expansions coming soon, with Bixby in the mix. It’s hard to see what Samsung is doing here really… we’ll hear more at the Samsung Developer Conference with what
11.54 – It’s tuned with AKG in the mix as well. It’s a circular device that sends sound in every direction, and sub-woofer to provide deep bass – and there’s Harmon natural sound processing, and it’ll detect its position and change the output.
Say ‘SoundSteer’ and it’ll point the music right at you. But how much is this?
11.52 – Say ‘Hi Bixby’ and it’ll listen up. Say ‘play music’ and it’ll do just that. We’ve not seen it do anything else yet – but this is a strong play from Samsung. The brand keeps saying that the AI race is a marathon and it’s not that far behind… but in our eyes, it needs to speed up dramatically to catch up.
This had better be a cheap and powerful device… and it’s called the Galaxy Home.
11.50 – Ji Soo Yi just ordered an Uber with six words – again, nothing new, but does look cool.
Ooooh, there’s a new product in the mix – it’s a smart speaker from Samsung that takes in Bixby.
11.49 – The Note 9 ‘it just worked’, says Ji Soo Yi. You don’t need Yelp or Ticketmaster installed on the app, it’ll just work easily. Spotify is one of the partners on show as well – are we going to see a Bixby Smart Speaker yet?
11.48 – Ji Soo Yi has found a restaurant he likes, and he can book that place instantly with a tap – the time he wants and people automatically filled in. He can then navigate right there with another tap. Bixby does look contextual, but it’s hard to tell what’s been refined here.
11.46 – Live demo of Bixby – it accidentally fired up, showing this is a live demo indeed. Now we’re hearing about concert finding – the Note 9 and Bixby can remember the question before to remain contextual.
Being conversational… we’ve heard this before. And we’ve still not heard what’s new about the Galaxy Watch, really.
11.45 – Is Bixby in the Galaxy Watch? Is that it about the watch? Why is it called Galaxy Watch and not Gear Watch? It used to be that Galaxy meant Android for Samsung… but with that battery life it has to be Tizen powering it, right?
11.42 – Right, Galaxy Health. Wellbeing in mental strength is bigger – there’s a breathing app to help you calm down when it spots you’re stressed. That’s a step up from Apple’s meditation app.
There’s a personal trainer in there, with six exercises auto-detected. The Gear Sport was pretty poor at this, so let’s see how this does better.
The Galaxy Watch does sleep tracking too – the Health app and the watch together will help you monitor and manage your sleep. Again, not new… it’s hard to see what’s better here beyond the new battery-saving architecture.
There’s an all-day watch face, so you can see what’s coming up on the calendar.
We’re talking about Bixby now… the ‘groundbreaking AI platform’. Nah…
11.40 – It’s got Gorilla Glass-shod, and has 5 ATM water resistance for swimming. It’ll connect to your Android phone (with Samsung having the most features) and it’ll also live as a standalone device with LTE. Several days on a single charge? That’s down to some new architecture.
It’ll charge on the new wireless charger duo pad, alongside the Galaxy Note 9. If Samsung launches that in the next decade, it’ll probably beat Apple to market.
11.39 – Some massive music – and Elena Beavis is on stage! That’s like my nam… wait, it’s Vives. Boo. Oh well.
The Galaxy Watch ‘looks like a real watch’ and people like that apparently. That’s a dig at a competitor, isn’t it?
11.38 – Oooh, there’s another device coming in. It’s the Galaxy Watch… and our Wearables Editor James Peckham was SO READY.
11.36 – You can use the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 with the S Pen too… Mr Doodle is now using the tablet instead. Wait, why? That kind of shows that the Note 9 isn’t that good for sketching.
11.34 – DeX doesn’t look super new – we’ve seen it multiple times before. You can click the phone into an HDMI adaptor and then it starts the desktop environment. For some reason, some weird music keeps starting each time a demo begins. It’s confusing.
The DeX experience does look pretty easy with a single connection. You can still use the Note 9 in your hand too, just like a phone while it’s being a computer too.
Is it charging while connected though? That’s hard to make out.
11.33 – We’re summing up now – the S Pen is ‘what makes a Note, a Note’. That makes sense. The clue is in the name, after all. Now, Samsung DeX.
11.32 – Now we’re seeing an S Pen artist… IT’S MR DOODLE! He’s wearing a doodled suit. It’s a pretty poor doodle to start… I think this is meant to be a joke to start. He’s going to give us something ‘a bit special’, we’ll be back with him soon.
11.31 – In fairness, a full charge happens inside the phone in under a minute, and even if dead, the S Pen will still function like before. That’s actually an impressive feature to upgrade – adding in a remote that charges inside the phone is a smart upgrade.
11.29 – The S Pen has now got Bluetooth inside. Now, you can use it to play and pause video, to take pics or use them in Snapchat.
You can also use it to control something ‘much bigger’. You can control a presentation with it, simply clicking the S Pen. Cool. That’s totally new, right?11.27 – Every shot you take will be ‘Instagram ready’ (urgh). That’s because the phone will intelligently work out the scene and improve the settings on purpose. Let’s see if that’s different to the rest of the world of phones.
Oh man, he’s taking a selfie of Unpacked. We don’t know what he’s up to here. He’s just taken some pictures without touching the phone… he used the S Pen. People have just gone bananas about that.
Jon Wong is on stage to talk about the S Pen. This should be good. He was fun before.
11.25 – Right, onto the camera. The dual aperture camera is going to be present again, with low-light capabilities and super slow motion video recording.
This is ‘one of the most powerful smartphone cameras in the world’, and now it’s been boosted in terms of intelligence. The Note 9 will spot when you’ve taken a bad photo, and let you know. Smudged lens? Blurry image? Blinking friends? It’ll tell you.
11.24 – Apparently the Note 9 will usher in ‘a new world of gaming’ or something. It was a lot of words about Fortnite but no actual news.
The Note 9 will have dual AKG speakers, the loudest ever. There’s also a water carbon cooling system, and a smart performance adjusting algorithm. What’s water carbon?
11.23 – We’re hearing about the popularity of Fortnite… and wondering when it will be coming to Android – and it’ll be launching on Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets now. It’ll be coming to the rest of the Android world later this week.
11.22 – There’s a 10nm CPU inside, and 1.2Gbps download capability. We’re now hearing from Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney… could this be anything to do about Fortnite? He looks totally relaxed. Totally.
11.19 – The Note 9 is designed to ‘keep up with you’. Now we’re hearing what happens when the phone gets below 5%… oh, no, there’s nothing different. It’s just an ‘all-day’ battery… it’s a big battery. Nothing fancy here.
The Note 9 has 128GB of storage as standard…there’s also a 512GB version if you’re into that. If you add in a 512GB microSD card, you’ll get 1TB of storage.
11.16 – Ah crap, we missed who this was on stage. Someone Blackheart? Blockard? This is terrible. Really sorry to the person on stage. He looks very slick.
The curves of the phone are ‘diamond cut’, the fingerprint scanner is centralised to make it easier to hit.
Ooh, and there are four new colors: black, copper, purple and blue… and there’s a yellow S Pen for the blue variant.
11.14 – The all-new Galaxy Note 9 is here! It looks very slick in the video… as you might expect.
11.13 – Wait, this is very smart-home-like… could we get more than just the phone and watch? No, there is a new smartphone. A ‘phone that raises the bar for speed, power and performance once again’.
The new Note 9 will be longer-lasting, bigger capacity and more power than ever before. A ‘smartphone that will never slow you down or let you down’.
11.11 – The vision is to ‘put the user first’… come on, please give us some actual facts, not just some marketing ideas of what Samsung is doing. It’s clear that the brand is all about giving you the power to do more with your devices, but do we need to talk about ‘Human Possibilities?’
11.09 – Whatever the vision was, only Samsung can apparently deliver it, as it’s the only brand that can deliver devices across all sections. TVs, car stuff, phones… at a scale ‘no other company can match’.
OK… but how big is the Galaxy Note? Let’s get down to the heart of this, DJ Koh. HOW BIG?
11.06 – DJ Koh is going for a Braveheart speech about how his time as president of the brand has changed everything – talking up the building blocks of an intelligent digital experience.
No limits, no barriers, no interruptions… this is turning into confusing marketing words. Disruptive services, limits of a brand or platform… we get the feeling the new Note 9 is supposed to be a ‘catch-all’ device.
That’s interesting… because the Note has always been a device for the power-user, one that the brand keeps trying to say is for the creatives because it has a stylus.
11.04 – DJ Koh is on stage! Welcome remarks to ‘celebrate the Note community’. Applauding the commitment to the Note brand – let’s be honest, it’s taken a beating a couple of years ago.
Now we’re seeing a visual history of how the phone has changed ‘music, arts and culture’ and ‘it forces us to break through barriers’.
Still a big phone at the heart though, mate.
11.03 – There’s loads of influencers now talking about how the Note is the best phone ever… bit of a stretch. It’s great, but the best ever? Let’s see what today brings.
(By the way – the original Note was a real punt and it took ages to get the brand’s idea into the mainstream).
11.02 – Now we’re getting a history lesson, talking about how insane it was when the new Note was launched, showing that the brand had ‘no idea what it was doing’ when it launched the phablet – our fellow journalists getting burned by their advice to miss it out.
Weird what you can do with millions of marketing dollars, isn’t it?
11.00 – It’s here! It’s begun! We’re seeing the same advert about how annoying phones are, with all their many foibles. We get the feeling Samsung is going to do something to help that.
10.52 – “Please take your seats. The show will begin shortly” booms out across the PA system. It’s nearly time.
10.40 – This place is filling up fast. As we enter into the final 20 minutes before launch why not read more about our Galaxy Watch spy shot and why we think it is indeed the new smartwatch we’re expecting to launch today.
10.18 – Well, what do we have here? Is that an announced Galaxy Watch on the wrist of a Samsung representative (or maybe a presenter), or simply one of the firm’s current wearables? It’s certainly got us thinking.
10.17 – Good news, we’ve been given two of wearables! Sadly though, neither are new Samsung products. One is simply our entry band, while the other we suspect will light up at key points during the presentation.
Not quite the wearables we were hoping for. Fingers crossed there’s more to come
10.15 – There’s a buzz around the Barclays Center, with hundreds of people milling around and heading inside to take their seats.
10.10 – This is Samsung’s second launch in just over a week, as it launched the new Galaxy Tab S4 just a mere eight days ago. That too boasts a S Pen stylus, although the main talking point is its desktop-like DeX interface.
While you wait: read our in-depth Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 review
10.00am – There’s just one hour to go until the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 launch in Brooklyn, New York and we’re already inside, connected to the WiFi and are raring to go.
It’s no surprise that we’ll see the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 take center stage today as the handset has been heavily leaked, rumored and teased. However, murmurings of a potential new Samsung Galaxy Watch also making an appearance have got us a little excited.
It’s a lovely day for a phone launch in New York