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New Samsung smartphone

NEW YORK (AP) — Samsung’s new smartphone illustrates the limits of innovation at a time when hardware advances have slowed.

The new phone, the Galaxy Note 9, will be faster and will last longer without a recharge. But while earth-shattering new features are in short supply, it will carry an earth-shattering price tag: $1,000 (R53,142.50). The minor improvements reflect a smartphone industry that has largely pushed the limits on hardware. Major changes tend to come every few years rather than annually, and this isn’t the year for anything revolutionary in the Note.

The new phone will get some automatic photo editing and a stylus that can serve as a remote control. But the highlights will be a bigger battery, a faster processor and improved cellular speeds. “You don’t see massive breakthroughs anymore from a hardware perspective,” said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Creative Strategies. “Everything is a little bit better, but nothing’s revolutionary.” A 21 percent boost in battery capacity from last year’s Note 8 should translate to more than a day of normal use without a recharge.

The new phones will come out Aug. 24. Borrowing from the iPhone’s playbook, the Note 9 will have the same US price regardless of carrier. The starting price of $1,000 is an increase from the Note 8, but on par with Apple’s top-of-the-line iPhone X. The Note 9 will get double the storage, at 128 gigabytes, compared with typical high-end phones, including the iPhone X. Samsung will also sell a 512-gigabyte version for power users for $1,250.

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