Last year was an incredible one for Samsung. Though the Korean company continued to face competition from Chinese Android vendors in low- and mid-range segments, its premium Galaxy S8 and Note 8 devices were received very well by consumers. Samsung aims to maintain the momentum in 2018 with the upcoming Galaxy S9, Galaxy Note 8, and likely Galaxy X. Let’s check out the rumored release dates of Samsung’s 2018 flagship phones.
Will Samsung release Galaxy X this year?
There has been a lot of talk about the Korean company’s foldable phone, likely to be called Galaxy X. Last year, Samsung’s mobile business head DJ Koh told media that the company was planning to launch the foldable phone in 2018. Now it seems difficult. Even if Samsung races against time, the Galaxy X launch would take place in December 2018 or later. The device is most likely to hit the store shelves in early 2019.
Speaking to ZDNet at the ongoing CES, DJ Koh said the foldable phone is likely to launch sometime next year. He said user experience was “the biggest obstacle” in the commercialization of the device. There are many other things such as durability issues that need to be fixed, said Koh. The user experience problem may have something to do with Android, which would need to be customized to offer the best experience on a foldable phone.
Industry sources privy to Samsung’s plans told ETNews that Samsung would start production of foldable screens in September. The Galaxy X assembly would start a couple of months later in November. It means the phone will likely be unveiled in December 2018 or early 2019. The rumor mill claims the Galaxy X would initially be sold only in South Korea. Depending on the consumer response in its home country, Samsung could bring the device to other markets later in 2019.
The Galaxy X is rumored to have a flexible 7.3-inch OLED screen that would fold inward like a book. You will be able to use it as a smartphone or as a tablet.
Galaxy S9 set to launch at MWC
Galaxy S9 will be Samsung’s first flagship smartphone of this year. DJ Koh has confirmed to ZDNet that the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus would be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona next month. The MWC is set to start on February 26 and would run through March 1st. Korean site The Bell claims that the S9 Unpacked event would take place on February 27 Korea Time. Depending on the time of Samsung’s unveiling event, it could be February 26 in the US as Korea Time is 14 hours ahead of the ET.
The flagship phone would go on sale within weeks of launch. According to Bloomberg, the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus would hit the store shelves in early March. With the Galaxy S9, Samsung is going back to its normal release time for the Galaxy S line. Last year, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus were unveiled on March 29 and released on April 21. The Galaxy S8 launch was delayed due to the Galaxy Note 7 debacle.
The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus would run Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810 depending on the region. Select countries such as the US and China would get the Snapdragon version while Exynos variant will be sold in other parts of the world. In terms of design, the two phones would look similar to their predecessors, except that they would have the fingerprint sensor placed below the camera module. The Galaxy S9 Plus would also get a vertical dual camera setup on the back, but the regular Galaxy S9 would retain the single camera.
Samsung is said to include 6GB RAM in the S9 Plus and 4GB RAM in the Galaxy S9. The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus would feature an advanced iris scanner, a microSD card slot, a USB Type-C port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an IP68-rating for water-resistance. These phones will be competing against Apple’s iPhone X.
Galaxy Note 9 release date and specs
The Galaxy Note 9 is still several months away. Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 8 on August 23 last year and brought it to market on September 15. Over the last few years, Samsung has tried to beat Apple’s flagship iPhones to the market with its Galaxy Note line. We expect the Galaxy Note 9 to arrive just days or weeks before the next-generation iPhones go on sale in September.
Recently, a leaked image posted on Chinese microblogging site Weibo showed a list of 2018 smartphones that would run Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 845 SoC. The image also mentioned the possible release timelines of all the handsets. Per the picture, the Galaxy Note 9 would hit the store shelves in September.
Samsung executive BJ Kang has suggested that the Galaxy Note 9 would come with an improved S Pen stylus. Though there is limited scope to improve the S Pen’s design, Samsung could add more functionality to the stylus. The Note 9 would be Samsung’s first smartphone to sport an in-display fingerprint scanner, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The Note 9 users will be able to unlock the phablet and authenticate financial transactions simply by putting their finger on the screen.
The Note 9 would be powered by the same Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810 chips that you’d find inside the upcoming Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. The phablet would retain the USB Type-C port and the 3.5mm audio jack.