Samsung’s flagship smartphones have always paved the way for the next generation of high-end Android devices. Samsung is one of only a few companies in the world with enough resources to innovate the mobile market and push the boundaries of mobile technologies. Their current flagship devices, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, were announced in February this year, receiving rave reviews from just about anyone who was lucky enough to thoroughly test them, including us.
What unifies the entire S series is the unstoppable rate of innovation, with each generation improving upon the previous one. Needless to say, customers’ expectations are higher than ever for the S8 and S8 Edge to be something very special. We have gathered all the latest rumors about the two highly anticipated devices, to give you a throughout overview of what exactly Samsung has in store for us. Keep in mind that nothing is set in stone, and a lot can still change before the official introduction of the smartphones.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Release Date
If your current smartphone is ready for a replacement, the first thing you probably want to know is when the S8 and S8 Edge will be released, right? Looking back at the history of the Galaxy S series smartphones, most of them were released in April or May. Which means we should expect Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Edge to be released in Q1 of the year 2017.
Samsung would most likely release the upcoming premium devices in early 2017 to compete with their rivals, but they can’t take any chances after the Note 7 fiasco, which cost the company a small fortune. If everything goes according to plan, the company is rumored to order the first batches of parts in January.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Specifications
One thing is certain: The Galaxy S8 and S8 Edge will be noticeable better compared to their predecessors.
Samsung has already demonstrated a 5.5” 2160 x 3840 screen with stunning 806 pixels per inch. There are, of course, no guarantees that Samsung will use the same screen in the production, but rumors suggest that the larger one of the two smartphones could have a 4K screen. More specifically, rumors from Weibo point at a 5.2“ 2160 x 4096 screen, while TechRadar thinks that massive 5.7” and 6.2” screens with no home button and QHD and 4K resolutions respectively are more likely.
In either case, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Edge will sport sAMOLED capacitive touchscreens protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 with a 90% screen-to-body ratio, according to a Samsung Display employee. Park Won-sang, a Principal Engineer for Samsung Display, said that the company hopes to create a handset with a 99% screen-to-body ratio in the next few years. Given that most current smartphone have an average ratio of around 80%, it becomes obvious just how high Samsung is aiming.
This time, however, the race to achieve a higher pixel density and smaller bezels has a clear purpose: better virtual reality. Samsung’s push into VR with its Gear VR headset has been successful, but even the Samsung Galaxy S7 with its QHD display leaves something to be desired for VR. Mobile virtual reality makes a lot of sense to customers who don’t see the point in investing hundreds of dollars into a dedicated VR system when they could enjoy a comparable experience using a high-end smartphone they already carry in the pocket.
State-of-the-art rear cameras have been synonymous with the S line of devices since it was first released. Alongside iPhones and the new Google Pixel, smartphones from Samsung are known and loved for their ability to produce stunning pictures under all lighting conditions.
Since the release of the Apple iPhone 7 Plus, which features a dual-camera setup on the back, rumors were suggesting that Samsung might follow the same route. More likely, the new camera will be only a generational upgrade from the Samsung Galaxy S7. Some sources talk about 12MP and 13MP sensors, others are more optimistic, suggesting a 24MP sensor with a wide f/1.4 aperture for excellent low-light performance.
It’s practically guaranteed that the front-facing camera will be accompanied by an iris scanner for a high level of security, just like we see on the Samsung Galaxy S7.
Like the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge weren’t already fast enough, Samsung will make the S8 and S8 Edge even faster with a 3.2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 830 chipset and 6 GB RAM. Some sources claim that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 830 will be manufactured on the 10nm, further refining its home grown Kryo cores on the processor for improved performance and power consumption.
The new processor will also support internet download speeds of 1Gbps, which is more than most people get from their home fiber connection. That being said, performance was never an issue with any Galaxy S device, and it likely never will even in the future.
Water and dustproofing is now a standard feature among flagship smartphones, and the S7 and S7 Edge won’t be exceptions. After all, even the current generation is IP68 certified, which means it can resist water to 1.5 meters and 30 mins. The highest IP rating a device can theoretically have is IP79. Such rating guarantees total protection against prolonged effects of immersion under pressure and dust. But for practical reasons, it’s not feasible to implement it outside special scientific and military applications.
Headphone Jack and USB-C
The latest rumors from PCAdvisor suggest that, just like Apple, Samsung too may ditch headphone jack in favor of thinner design and more reliable water-resistance. According to a new specification from USB Implementers Forum, the removal of the 3.5mm jack could shave up to a millimeter of thickness. The specification adds, “Fewer connectors will open the door for innovation in countless ways and make it easier to design waterproof or water-resistant devices.”
It really seems that USB-C could take over not only as a replacement of the Micro USB port but also as a thinner alternative to the traditional audio jack. This would inevitably lead to the same mess that infuriates so many iPhone owners, forcing them to use an absurd number of adapters just to accomplish the most basic tasks. With enough time, headphone and accessory manufacturers will likely switch to USB-C or Bluetooth 4.1, but the transitionary period could be painful.
Still, USB-C has several main advantages that make the hassle worth it. The connector is reversible, so you can stick it in however you want and it will work just fine, it supports several different protocols, such as HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, and others, and can supply much more power compared to a conventional USB 2.0 connection.
With each new generation of the Galaxy S series, the battery capacity increases. The S6 Edge had a – 2,600 mAh battery, the Galaxy S7 Edge has a 3,600 mAh battery, and the Galaxy S8 Edge will almost certainly cross the 4,000 mAh threshold.
What’s more, Google’s Android N, the version of the Android operating system that is expected to feature on the Galaxy S8, offers additional battery life improvements and so does the 10nm processor. Only time will tell whether it will be enough to offset the expected 4K display.
Samsung has acquired Viv Labs, a startup founded by the original creators of Apple’s Siri, and used their expertise to create Viv, a next-gen AI assistant and an artificial intelligence platform that enables developers to create an intelligent, conversational interface to anything.
“The latest internal prototypes of the premium Galaxy S8 handset include a button on the side edge of the smartphone that would be used to launch a beefed-up virtual assistant,” reports The Wall Street Journal. Features like this is exactly what Samsung needs to convince customers to go with their products, and Android’s open ecosystem is the perfect place where it could flourish.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Price
Amid all the speculations surrounding the upcoming release of the S8 and S8 Edge, one thing is almost certain: the price. Based on market analysis, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Edge will retail for around $850, which is roughly £655 and AU$1120.
This corresponds to the price of the previous generation and other flagship devices on the market. Samsung has little incentive to shave off dollars of the price, as customers who purchase high-end devices are willing to pay extra for a premium experience.
All the rumors suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Edge will be great smartphones with plenty new, exciting features to convince undecided buyers to go with the South Korean giant. If everything goes right, the first quarter of 2017 could give us two best Android smartphones ever made.