Samsung Galaxy S8: Rumours and MWC 2017
Let me just start off by saying that nothing is set in stone from what I can gather.
However, the rumour-mill is spinning at a pace.
Could we be seeing Continuum for Android? Will it have a headphone jack?
In my round-up of Amazon Alexa at CES 2017 I mentioned Bixby.
Bixby is what the virtual assistant will be called, according to previous leaks that include trademark applications from Samsung.
Bixby is based on the technology developed by Viv, a company that Samsung acquired a few months ago.
Viv was founded by two of the people who created Siri for the iPhone a few years ago.
What else do we know?
The most likely things to expect on the S8 are 8GB RAM, screens measuring anywhere between 5- and 6-inches, fingerprint scanners embedded in or rear-fitted, and an optional S Pen.
Curved as standard
The dual-curved-edge screen previously used only for its edge models could well become part and parcel of the Galaxy errrr… universe.
As the key differences will now be the size, battery capacity and potentially the camera, Samsung might choose to go down the Apple route and call what would be the Galaxy S8 edge the Galaxy S8 Plus.
There have already been reports to back up this thinking but latest word is that there will be a flat-screened version.
Under the hood
The chipset has been rumoured to be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835/Exynos 8895 depending on region. That will be mated with an Adreno 540/ARM Mali-G71 graphics processor.
This Snapdragon 835 is manufactured using the 10nm process and integrates the Adreno 540 GPU. With its release date pinned for early 2017 this points to the S8 being the most likely candidate.
RAM will be 6GB or 8GB depending on model, most likely.
The Galaxy S8 will probably continue to utilise a Quad-HD SuperAMOLED display. However, the Galaxy S8 Plus could feature a 4K or Ultra-HD display.
This would help combat the problem of pixelation when the image resolution is halved for each eye in VR – instead of a full-HD picture you would see a Quad-HD image when viewed in a VR headset.
Samsung has already shown off a 5.5-inch screen with Ultra-HD resolution. This rocked a bonkers pixel density of 806ppi specifically for virtual reality devices.
No-one has said it will be used for the Galaxy S8, but equally no-one has said that it won’t. Well, apart from Sammobile who says that the Galaxy S8 will likely come with a 2K/Quad-HD screen, but that this will be a new screen of higher quality.
What did tickle my fancy was the rumour that Bloomberg reported. This suggests that the Galaxy S8 will follow in the footsteps of the gorgeous Xiaomi Mi Mix. This, as I am sure you will recall, has a bezel-less display on the bottom, left and right edges.
The report states:
The bezel-less displays will provide more viewing real estate while a virtual home button will be buried in the glass in the the lower section, the people [with direct knowledge of the matter] said, asking not to be identified because the details haven’t been released. The new phones will only come with wraparound displays using organic light-emitting diode technology, the people said,”
The fingerprint scanner will either be embedded in to the screen or be positioned on the rear due to the lack of a physical home key.
Everyone is dishing out dual-lens snappers and I am sure that Samsung will want in on this. A dual camera may only be a feature of the Plus model though.
CES 2017 saw the launch of the mid-range Galaxy A handsets all of which sport USB-C ports. I think it is safe to say that the Galaxy S range will follow suit.
The Galaxy S8 will most likely land with Android 7.1 Nougat skinned with TouchWiz and have that Bixby assistant baked-in.
If prices remain consistent with the 2016 S-series, the Galaxy S8 will start at £569 for the 32GB model and the Galaxy S8 Plus will start at £639 for the 32GB model.
Ideally, Samsung should keep its prices the same. However, it has lost a lot of money over the Note 7.
It wouldn’t be unreasonable for the company to raise its prices in line with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Plus at launch, which were £599 and £669.
Don’t rule out anything, but don’t believe all you hear either.
Those shadowy ‘Industry sources’ really do like messing us about. The latest word is that the Galaxy S8 “showcase [will be] a month or two ahead of the actual release date.”
Notice that this will be just a “showcase” and not commercial rollout. There will be a “small number of handsets” and these *might” be ready for Mobile World Congress demos.