NieuweMobiel Samsung Galaxy Note 9 S Pen features confirmed via Galaxy Tab S4 firmware

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 S Pen features confirmed via Galaxy Tab S4 firmware

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is launching in just under 3 weeks, which means it’s time for the leaks to start intensifying. The S Pen on the Samsung Galaxy Note series of smartphones is what makes the Note, well, the Note. This year’s upgrade of the Galaxy Note series is going to include an updated, Bluetooth-enabled S Pen with some new, smart features. The smart features on the new S Pen have been rumored, but now we are able to confirm many of these features thanks to leaked firmware from the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 running Android 8.1 Oreo (the only Samsung device with Android 8.1). Since the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will also run Android 8.1 Oreo, the files from the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4’s firmware can be examined to look for any references for the Bluetooth-enabled S Pen—and there were many references.


I performed a teardown of the AirCommand app (version 3.0) from the leaked Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 firmware and found many strings and images based around a wireless, “remote” S Pen. These strings confirm that the S Pen will indeed have a battery, but we were unable to find the size of the battery in the firmware.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Bluetooth S Pen features revealed in Samsung Galaxy Tab S4's firmware

[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_aircommand_guide_collapse">Collapse</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_aircommand_guide_expand">Expand</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_app_actions">App actions</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_app_actions_desc">Choose what happens when you press the Pen button in various apps.</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_battery">Battery</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_camera_controller">S Pen camera controls</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_connected">Connected.</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_connecting">Connecting…</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_disconnected">Disconnected</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_disconnected_description">Insert your S Pen into your phone to connect it.</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_disconnected_menu_get_help_from_samsung_members">Get help from Samsung Members</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_do_nothing">Do nothing</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_guide_primary_title">Single press</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_guide_secondary_title">Double press</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_guide_you_can_add_primary">"You haven't added a single press action yet. You can add one in the Air command settings."</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_guide_you_can_add_secondary">"You haven't added a double press action yet. You can add one in the Air command settings."</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_header_media">Media</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_header_shutter">Shutter</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_hold_spen_key_to">Hold down Pen button to</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_hold_spen_key_to_off_description">Hold down the Pen button to open an app or access an S Pen feature.</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_hold_spen_key_to_open">Open %s</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_hold_spen_key_to_subtext">Tap here to choose what happens when you hold down the Pen button.</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_hold_spen_key_to_suggested_apps">Suggested apps</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_low_battery">Low battery</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_media_controller">S Pen music controls</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_next">Next page</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_none">None</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_noti_channel_disconnect">S Pen disconnected</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_noti_channel_low_battery">S Pen battery low</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_noti_channel_miscellaneous">Miscellaneous</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_noti_desc_connection_failed">Tap here to connect to it again.</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_noti_desc_disconnected">Insert your S Pen to use it as a remote.</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_noti_desc_low_battery">Insert your S Pen into your phone to recharge it.</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_noti_new_update_available">New update available</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_noti_tap_here_to_update_your_spen">Tap here to update your S Pen.</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_noti_title_connection_failed">Reconnect S Pen</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_noti_title_disconnected">Connect your S Pen</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_noti_title_low_battery">S Pen battery low</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_off">Off</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_on">On</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_play_next_track">Play next track</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_play_pause">Play/Pause</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_play_pause_track">Play/pause track</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_previous">Previous page</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_reset">Reset S Pen</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_retry">Retry</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_s_pen_actions_for_ps">S Pen actions for %s</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_s_pen_remote">S Pen remote</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_sbody_available">Available</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_settings_firmware_upgrade_already_installed">The latest version is already installed.</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_settings_firmware_upgrade_error_popup_title">"Couldn't update S Pen"</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_settings_firmware_upgrade_error_try_again_later">Try again later.</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_settings_firmware_upgrade_status_text">Installing update…</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_settings_firmware_upgrade_success">Installed</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_settings_firmware_upgrade_warning_text">"Don't remove your S Pen from your phone."</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_settings_main_help_description">Remotely control apps with your S Pen.</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_settings_pairing_guide_connecting_spen_desc">This may take a while.</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_settings_pairing_guide_connecting_spen_main">Connecting to your %s…</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_settings_pairing_guide_disconnected_close">"Can't connect to your %s."</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_settings_pairing_guide_disconnected_retry">"Couldn't connect to your %s."</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_settings_pairing_guide_insert_spen">Insert your S Pen into your phone.</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_settings_pairing_guide_spen">S Pen</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_shutter">Take picture</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_skip">Skip</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_tile_label">S Pen remote</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_unlock_dont_use">"Don't use"</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_unlock_spen_unlock_guide_content">"If your phone locks while you're using your S Pen, just press the Pen button to unlock it.[[!!]][[!!]]This feature only works when your S Pen is connected to your phone."</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_unlock_spen_unlock_title">Unlock with S Pen remote</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_unlock_use_spen_unlock">Unlock with S Pen remote</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_welcome_more">More</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_welcome_start">Start</string>[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_welcome_text_main">S Pen remote</string>[[!!]]Press the Pen button to take pictures, control music, and more in a wide range of apps.[[!!]]<string name="remotespen_welcome_text_sub2">You can also press and hold the Pen button to open any app or S Pen feature you choose.</string>[[!!]]

There are a lot of strings telling us features about the remote S Pen. Here’s a summary of what you’ll be able to do:

  • Control music with the S Pen. This will probably allow you to control music like you can with earbuds by pressing the play/pause button. The S Pen button will probably let you play and pause music while also allowing you to skip music tracks.
  • Use the S Pen as a remote camera shutter. This could be useful in situations where you want to take a picture of yourself and prop up your phone.
  • You will be able to remotely unlock your phone if the S Pen was removed from the phone and then the phone locks.
  • You will be able to press the S Pen button to do more in a range of apps. We don’t know about what other integrations with apps the S Pen will have, though, as the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 hasn’t launched.
  • Press and hold the Pen button to open any app or S Pen feature.
  • Set up single and double press Pen actions.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Bluetooth S Pen confirmed via Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 firmware

There is a chance that since the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 firmware contained the S Pen AirCommand app that the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is going to launch with, that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 could also launch with this same Bluetooth S Pen. Keep in mind that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 didn’t come with a slot for the S Pen like the Galaxy Note series of phones so you won’t be able to insert it into the device to connect. Samsung could find a way to charge the pen in a way that’s hopefully better than the Apple Pencil charging method.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 launches soon so we will be able to confirm these details along with getting more details on the phone then. From what we’ve seen so far, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will be an excellent device. It’ll have a 4,000 mAh battery, Samsung Bixby 2.0, upgraded camera, faster wireless charging, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810 system-on-chip. All of these combined make for a great flagship phone. If we learn more details about the device from the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4’s firmware, we’ll be sure to let you all know.

About author

Max Weinbach
Max Weinbach

Former Contributor to the XDA-Developers Portal.

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