After the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco last year, Samsung has reportedly decided to take its own sweet time in launching the Galaxy S8 this year. And rightfully so. The company wants to ensure that in its hurry to release the Galaxy S8, it ends up shipping with the same problem as the Galaxy Note 7.
But despite this cautious approach, Samsung has set itself a target of shipping 60 million Galaxy S8 units by the end of this year — an increase of 12 million from the Galaxy S7 target it had set itself in 2016.
There are two reasons behind this target from Samsung. Firstly, the company is confident about its marketing prowess, and it knows that if it flexes its marketing muscle enough, it can reach the target of shipping 60 million Galaxy S8 units by the end of this year. Secondly, just like the Galaxy S7, the Galaxy S8 is going to be a complete package that will excel not just on the hardware front with its unique features, but on the software front as well.
These features are what is going to set the Galaxy S8 apart from LG’s G6 and HTC’s next flagship smartphone. What exactly are these features? While Samsung has not officially announced any of them, leaks have given us a good idea as to what they are.
Galaxy S8 Features
Galaxy S8 AI – Viv’s Bixby
Taking advantage of its Viv Labs acquisition from last year, Samsung plans on heavily integrating the AI-powered digital assistant service on the Galaxy S8. Samsung has already confirmed that it would be debuting Viv on the Galaxy S8 under the Bixby moniker, with the handset even featuring a dedicated button to quickly trigger the assistant.
How exactly Samsung manages to make Viv smarter than Google Assistant and Siri remains to be seen, though. However, the last time Samsung acquired a startup and integrated its technology into its smartphone, we got Samsung Pay which thanks to its MST technology has a unique advantage over every other mobile payment service in the market.
Galaxy S8 Display – Bezel-less
Thanks to the use of curved screens, Samsung has always managed to ship its devices with a decent screen-to-body ratio. Unlike some devices from HTC or Google, Samsung’s flagship devices have always featured minimal bezels making the device more compact smartphones featuring a similar screen size.
With the Galaxy S8, though, Samsung is planning to take things to the next level. Taking cues from Xiaomi’s Mi Mix, Samsung is aiming to reduce bezels to the very minimum on its upcoming flagship. It plans on doing this by using its curved AMOLED plan and removing the capacitive buttons from the bottom bezels. Instead, the company is reportedly planning on using on-screen navigation keys and move the fingerprint scanner to the rear of the device. With minimal bezels, Samsung would be able to fit in a larger screen on the Galaxy S8 in a device that is not physically larger than the Galaxy S7 edge or its competitors.
An allegedly leaked photo of the Galaxy S8 adds further credence to this rumor.
Galaxy S8 Display – Resolution and Size
Initial rumors surrounding the Galaxy S8 suggested that Samsung would launch the phone with a 4K screen. Apart from offering no benefits in daily use, a 4K AMOLED screen would also be extremely demanding on the GPU and battery life. So, unsurprisingly, rumors about the Galaxy S8 coming with a 4K display have now almost died down.
Instead, latest rumors point to Samsung using an AMOLED panel with RGB pixel layout on the S8. Currently, all AMOLED panels manufactured by Samsung and used on its devices, including the Galaxy S7/edge and Note 7, feature a Pentile RGB layout which features two green sub-pixels for every single blue and red pixel. This is not a difference that is easily noticeable in daily use, but something that does lead to phones like the Galaxy S7 edge offering a VR experience that is not as immersive at it should be. If Samsung does end up switching to an RGB pixel layout with the Galaxy S8’s AMOLED, the additional sub-pixels will allow the handset to offer a more immersive VR experience.
As for the display size, Samsung is expected to launch the Galaxy S8 in two different sizes again this year. Unlike previous years though, the company is planning on ditching the flat variant of the handset completely. Instead, it reportedly plans on using its curved AMOLED screen on both variants of the phone. In addition with the minimal bezels, both variants of the Galaxy S8 will come with larger displays compared to their predecessor. Their exact size remains unconfirmed for now though.
Galaxy S8 Design
If you are expecting Samsung to debut a new design language with the Galaxy S8, prepare to be disappointed. The handset will continue to feature an all-glass design sandwiching an aluminium chassis. We may see Samsung move to a stronger aluminium series but the overall design is going to remain largely unchanged. This is not particularly a bad thing since the bezel-less design is going to be a big highlight of the S8, and the glass design ensures that Samsung is able to offer wireless charging on the handset. Plus, there’s also the IP68 certification that will make the phone dust and water-resistant.
However, rumors do point to Samsung moving the fingerprint sensor at the rear of the Galaxy S8. If true, do expect some slight design tweaks to accommodate the sensor at the rear. Additionally, expect Samsung to offer the S8 in a variety of new colors and finishes including the strikingly beautiful Blue Coral which the company first debuted with the Galaxy Note 7 last year.
In the last couple of years, Samsung has started focusing on the software experience that its devices offer. Its skin no longer looks like it was designed by a child, with the amount of bloatware being reduced greatly as well. And if the Nougat update for the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are anything to go by, Samsung is going to offer an even superior software experience on the Galaxy S8. Samsung is now calling its skin Samsung Experience which goes along with the refined and polished experience that it offers.
Exactly what features Samsung will be offering with its new UI on the Galaxy S8 remain unknown for now, but be rest assured that despite its kitchen sink approach, the UI will be polished than before and won’t be confusing to use. As for the Android version, its a given that it would be based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat until and unless Google drops a newer build of Nougat before the release of the handset.
Galaxy S8 Connectivity – USB-C, Faster LTE
The ill-fated Galaxy Note 7 was the first handset from Samsung to make use the new USB-C connector. Since then, Samsung has gone ahead and unveiled its 2017 lineup of Galaxy A handsets which also make use of USB-C. The Galaxy S8 is also going to feature a USB-C port, making it the first handset in Samsung’s Galaxy S lineup to do so. At this point, this is more of a necessity than an option for the company. By using USB-C, Samsung would be able to offer faster charging on the Galaxy S8 that would allow it to better compete with OnePlus’ Dash Charge and Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4.0 technology. USB-C would also allow for faster data transfer speeds, which is always a welcome addition.
At this point, there is no denying the point that — despite all its issues — USB-C is the future and will be used across laptops, smartphones, and other devices. And given the Galaxy S8 is going to be Samsung’s flagship smartphone for 2017, the handset coming with a USB-C port instead of microUSB port is more of a necessity than an option.
While Apple ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack with the iPhone 7 last year, Samsung is unlikely to follow suit despite some rumors suggesting otherwise. Samsung took its own sweet time in switching over to USB-C port, so expect the 3.5mm audio jack to also find a place on the S8.
The use of Snapdragon 835 chipset on the U.S. variants of the Galaxy S8 also translates into the phone coming with a gigabit LTE modem. While none of the major US operators will be able to take advantage of the LTE prowess of the S8, be rest assured that you will always be able to latch on to a mobile network in any part of the world with the handset.
Galaxy S8 Specs – Exynos 8895/Snapdragon 835, 6GB RAM
Samsung has almost always launched two variants of its flagship Galaxy S handsets. The one meant for the U.S. market makes use of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip thanks to its superior modem, while the international variants make use of the company’s in-house Exynos chipset. Samsung is going to follow a similar strategy this year, with the U.S. variants of the Galaxy S8 being powered by Snapdragon 835 while the international variant using the Exynos 8895 chipset.
Qualcomm has already officially unveiled its Snapdragon 835 chipset thereby revealing its complete feature set. The Exynos 8895 chipset, on the other hand, is yet to be officially unveiled by Samsung. However, leaks point to the chipset being fabricated on the 10nm fabrication process in Samsung’s foundry. While the CPU performance of Exynos chips has always been their highlight, their GPU performance has always been less than stellar. Samsung is aiming to fix that this year by using ARM’s powerful Mali-G71 GPU. As per ARM, this GPU is up to 40 percent faster than its Mali-T880 GPU while also consuming less power. A beefy GPU will allow the Galaxy S8 to offer an even better VR performance and experience, something which Samsung pushes very aggressively with its flagship Galaxy S and Note handsets.
As for the amount of RAM and storage, I’d expect Samsung to ship the S8 with 6GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage. With even premium mid-range devices from Samsung now featuring 6GB of RAM and the Note 7 debuting with 64GB storage last year itself, these changes should not be surprising. The microSD card slot will also continue to be present on the device, and it will act as a secondary hybrid SIM card slot for the dual-SIM variant of the phone.
Galaxy S8 Camera
In recent years, Samsung has managed to one-up Apple in the camera department. The 12MP shooter on the Galaxy S7 is also regarded to be slightly superior to the primary 12MP f/1.8 shooter of the iPhone 7 Plus, though the secondary telephoto lens does give the latter an advantage over it. So, it is surprising that despite Apple going with a dual-camera setup on the iPhone 7 Plus in 2016, Samsung does not intend to use a similar setup on the Galaxy S8 this year. And if it does, there have been no leaks on this front detailing the camera setup on the handset.
Irrespective of whether Samsung uses a dual-camera setup on the Galaxy S8 or not, expect the primary 12MP shooter on the handset to receive minor updates to further improve its image quality, especially in low-light.
The front camera is bound to be updated to 8MP as a 5MP selfie shooter just does not cut it anymore. The sensor will also likely feature autofocus that will help in taking clear selfies.
Galaxy S8 Release Date and Availability
Thanks to the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, Samsung is going to take its own time in releasing the Galaxy S8 this year. The company usually announces its flagship handset at MWC every year, but it has reportedly decided to delay the unveiling of the handset to April this year. The delay will allow Samsung to better test the Galaxy S8 for any issues and ensure that a fiasco similar to the Note 7 does not occur.
As of now, multiple reports point to Samsung unveiling the Galaxy S8 on April 10th at a special event that will be held in New York. Considering its late launch, the Galaxy S8 is expected to be available immediately in key markets after its announcement or within a week from its official unveiling.
Are you looking forward to Samsung’s Galaxy S8? What are your expectations from the handset? Do you think Samsung should go ahead with a dual-camera setup on the S8 similar to how Apple has implemented it on the iPhone 7 Plus?Like this post? Share it!