Technology

Galaxy S9’s US Version To Be Less Powerful Than The International Model

The United States is one of the most important markets for Samsung. Over the last few years, the company has formed a pattern where the US version of its flagship Galaxy S comes equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor while the Asian and European markets get the Exynos-powered version. The upcoming Galaxy S9 would follow the same pattern.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Rumors
Image Source: Benjamin Geskin / Twitter (screenshot)

Exynos 9810 to be better than the Snapdragon 845 SoC

Earlier this week, Samsung announced that it had started mass production of the second-generation 10nm FinFET process technology. It means the Korean company is set to start producing the next-gen Exynos 9810 processors using the new technology. The Exynos 9810 would be produced using the new LPP (Low Power Plus) process. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 would also be built on the 10nm FinFET process, but it would still be stuck on the year-old LPE (Low Power Early) technology, reports Chinese publication ITHome.

Samsung claims chips built on LPP technology will offer 10% higher performance and 15% more energy efficiency compared to those built on the first-generation LPE process. The Exynos 9810-powered version of the Galaxy S9 would offer better performance and battery life than the Snapdragon variant, but the US consumers are unlikely to be able to see how fast the Exynos model would be.

Why doesn’t Samsung sell the Exynos-powered Galaxy S phones in the US? There could be multiple reasons including Qualcomm’s patents. Samsung and Qualcomm signed a deal way back in 1993 where Samsung could use some of Qualcomm’s CDMA patents to make its own modem chips. If Samsung wants to sell its Exynos processors to other Android vendors, it will have to pay Qualcomm a licensing fee. Qualcomm has complex patent deals with most smartphone vendors. But the most crucial reason is that the US market still needs the legacy CDMA networks, which are not supported by the Exynos modems.

Earlier this year, Samsung reached a deal with Qualcomm to secure the initial supply of the Snapdragon 845 SoC for the Galaxy S9 flagship. Other Android vendors will only get the new processor a few weeks after the Galaxy S9 launch. It means they have to change the release dates of their flagship models or opt for an older processor.

Egis to supply Galaxy S9’s rear fingerprint sensor

In a related report, VentureBeat contributor Evan Blass has learned from reliable sources that the Galaxy S9 would launch without an optical fingerprint reader. According to Blass, the handset will have the fingerprint sensor located on the back panel, but it will be in a more ergonomic location compared to the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8. It will sit vertically below the dual camera system and the heart rate sensor.

The Galaxy S9 fingerprint scanner would be supplied by Egis Technology, which has been making fingerprint readers for Samsung’s mid-range smartphones for a long time. Egis is ramping up its production capabilities to meet the demand. Given Egis’s expertise in fingerprint sensing technology, we shouldn’t worry about the speed or accuracy of the S9 fingerprint scanner.

Other rumored Galaxy S9 features

The Galaxy S9 is rumored to come with Android Oreo out of the box. GalaxyClub reports that Samsung had been testing Android 8.0 Oreo on the Galaxy S9 series. Google released Oreo in August this year. The Korean company is also said to be working on an innovative, AI-focused user interface called Galaxy AI UX. The new interface would give the Bixby AI assistant a more prominent role.

The rumor mill claims the Galaxy S9 could feature a new battery technology that uses graphene ball to make the lithium-ion batteries last longer and charge faster than ever before. Developed by Samsung, the technology increases the battery capacity by 45% and charging speed by five times. The phones that usually take two hours to charge could be recharged in just 24 minutes with the new technology.

Evan Blass reported that Samsung would include the dual camera system only on the larger Galaxy S9 Plus, which means the regular Galaxy S9 would continue to have a single camera on the back. That’s Samsung’s way to differentiate the Plus version from the standard model. The company will also include a higher 6GB RAM in the S9 Plus compared to just 4GB in the Galaxy S9.

The Galaxy S9 is said to look similar to its predecessor, though there will be a few changes including the location of the fingerprint reader. Samsung is pushing to reduce the thickness of bezels with each new model. According to SamMobile, the company would get rid of the bottom chin on the Galaxy S9 and reduce the thickness of the forehead. It would result in the phone’s screen-to-body ratio going up from 84% on the S8 to more than 90% on the Galaxy S9.

Evan Blass says Samsung would showcase the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus in January, most likely at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The device would retain the 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD card slot, and the 64GB of internal storage. The S9 is expected to hit the store shelves in March next year.