Mar 2, 2018 Update – Samsung has released the first major flagship of 2018. With the release of the Galaxy S9, Samsung led the charge into the new year with a significant power upgrade and a number of camera tweaks that are shaping up to make the Galaxy S9 the phone with the best camera on the market. However, once the specifications and features (or lack thereof) were revealed, many were disappointed to learn that the Galaxy S9 wouldn’t be a significant departure from what we saw with the S8. In truth, the Galaxy S9 is an upgrade in power, but is overall a safe step forward that doesn’t take any risks
December 28, 2017 Update: With the Galaxy S9 set to launch at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung is putting the finishing touches to a device intended to compete with the iPhone X.
Reports indicate that Samsung is increasingly emboldened by its position, confident that it has overcome the massive difficulties that it experienced with the Galaxy Note 7.
This could lead to an exciting release under the hood, although it is strongly believed that the design of the S9 will be extremely similar to previous iterations of the series.
Perhaps the Galaxy S9 will explore new ground in delivering 4K resolution or some other major innovation; the proof will be in the pudding at the end of February next year.
October 27, 2017 The Galaxy S9 is the next major smartphone release due, and the latest reports suggest that it may not feature an embedded fingerprint sensor. One of the most important tech tweeters in the world, UniverseIce, suggested on Thursday that the flagship from Samsung would not feature such technology.
Although there have been some reports that integrated tech could be part of the makeup of the Galaxy S9, this latest report would also make sense. Samsung typically reserves its major innovations for the Galaxy Note range, with the Galaxy S series then nenefiting from the technology at a later date.
But previous rumors have centered around a leak which noted a patent that featured an apparent notch for a front-facing fingerprint sensor towards the bottom of the display of the device. This was deemed to be rather similar to the existing dent in the iPhone X, with the sensor expected to be a dedicated authentication feature not dissimilar to the Face ID system.
However, although the patent from Samsung for such technology is now part of the public domain, there is no guarantee that it will emerge as part of the Galaxy S9. The latest suggestion is that Samsung will instead delay the implementation of this technology for the Galaxy Note 9, focusing on other qualities of its flagship instead.
If the claims of UniverseIce are correct then it is likely that the Galaxy S9 will continue with the rear fingerprint sensor trend that has already been tangible in the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8. The moving of the fingerprint sensor was instigated in order to introduce the wraparound Infinity display that received such plaudits in 2017.
But while the virtual Home button was well received, the shifting of the fingerprint sensor has been roundly criticized, with many users finding its location to be awkward. It had been hoped with this in mind that Samsung would remedy the situation sooner rather than later, and either shift the fingerprint sensor when the Galaxy S9 is released, or else integrate it within the display of the device.
Several other manufacturers have also been linked with integrated fingerprint technology, with the Apple iPhone and iPhone X both presumed to include a fingerprint sensor only weeks before the final devices emerge. Indeed, credible sources have indicated that Apple was strongly considering an integrated sensor for its 2017 mobile releases, but was ultimately forced to ditch this plan due to logistical reasons.
Nonetheless, embedded fingerprint sensors will migrate to the Samsung product range in 2018, with the Korean Corporation currently seeking suppliers for the technology. Synaptics and BeyondEyes have reportedly been contacted according to the Korean press, and this could result in the technology appearing when the Galaxy Note 9 is released.
With Samsung seemingly delaying its embedded fingerprint technology, it seems likely that 4K resolution will also be delayed until the Galaxy Note 9 emerges.
Update 10-24-2017: The latest leaks on the Galaxy S9 suggest that Samsung will iron out features from the last generation. The placement of the fingerprint scanner in the Galaxy S8 generation was criticized by many users, due to the fact that it is often awkward to reach. Samsung had apparently addressed this by intending to integrate the scanner within the display of the device, but this was shelved due to technical reasons.
New patent filed
Put a patent recently filed by Samsung with the South Korean trademarking company Kipris makes reference to a small dent or indentation within the display of a potential mobile device. This has brought obvious comparisons with the iPhone X, with the suggestion that this is notch could be utilized for a fingerprint scanner. It is also notable that this is a tiny hole, enabling the design to remain virtually bezel-free.
There’s still some debate over whether Samsung will be able to develop the technology required in order to integrate this fingerprint sensor before the Galaxy S9 is launched. It is instead possible that the technology will debut with the Galaxy Note 9, which would be consistent with Samsung policy in the past. Nonetheless, the new patent is inevitably being linked with the Samsung flagship as well.
Big Samsung investment
Another potentially interesting aspect of the Galaxy S9 comes from the news the Samsung has invested significantly in neural engine co-processors and deep learning algorithms. The Korean Corporation is considering some interesting artificial intelligence functionality in the near future. It seems that Samsung will also equip future smartphone releases with a proprietary neural engine coprocessor, enhancing the AI functionality of devices.
There’s no doubt that this is a growing field, and that the technology is essential to deliver the sort of useful personal assistant that is becoming commonplace in smartphones. Samsung has now established Bixby, and it will be looking to build on this in the coming years. Symptomatic of this is its decision to heavily invest in the Chinese AI firm DeePhi Tech, with the company already producing processor architectures for Amazon and MediaTek alongside Samsung.
The Korea Herald believes that Samsung has invested in DeePhi Tech with the intention of producing a complementary co-processor for the Exynos 9810. Meanwhile, algorithms will also be developed in order to facilitate the deep learning of the device. 3D face scanning is expected for the Galaxy S9, so this will necessitate an advanced processor setup.
Increased processing power could also assist with camera functionality, particularly as the Galaxy S9 will probably feature improved photographic capabilities. Samsung will once again have to engage in a balancing act, with the Galaxy S9 generation intended to impress as much as possible, while also not treading on the toes of the Galaxy Note phablet too much. Meanwhile, Samsung is also reportedly preparing a foldable Galaxy X release as well.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has only just been recently made available for sale but many people, including us tech writers, are already looking ahead to the Samsung Galaxy S9. It sounds crazy, I know. The Galaxy S8 isn’t even a year old, the Galaxy Note 8 was officially revealed at the end of the summer. Why are we so eager to look ahead to the Galaxy S9? Well, first, it’s just in our nature to always be looking ahead to the next best thing. Second, it seems like we are at a tipping point for some real developments in smartphone technology. The last few years have felt full of incremental updates. When the iPhone X was revealed it felt like the smartphone world had turned a corner. I mean, Apple changing their basic design?! The same design they have used since the original iPhone?! Apple isn’t the type of company to make a big change without believing in it and when Apple does something then the rest of the major manufacturers take note. This is why a lot of people saw the iPhone X and immediately started wondering, “What is the Galaxy S9 going to do?”
Let’s take a look at some of the big rumors right now surrounding the Samsung Galaxy S9.
New Snapdragon 845 Chipset
Samsung has reportedly bought up the first batch of Snapdragon 845 chips from Qualcomm. This isn’t a huge surprise. Samsung is usually one of the first manufacturers to release a device featuring the newest Snapdragon chipset. We saw this with the Galaxy S8 when manufacturers like LG reportedly had trouble obtaining the new Snapdragon 835 after Samsung had purchased the initial run of chips. Obviously we don’t know a lot about the Snapdragon 845. However, Samsung took a beating when compared with the iPhone’s new A11 chip which is found in the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus. Apple clearly has the edge when it comes to benchmarking. Samsung needs a chipset that can at least hold its own against the A11 chip. We will have to wait and see if the Snapdragon 845 is that chipset.
Impressive Galaxy S9 Camera Specs
In a world of smartphones that can all do pretty much anything you want them to do at blazing fast speeds; the camera seems to be the ultimate selling point for a lot of smartphone manufacturers. This is where companies have the chance to set themselves apart from the competition. This is especially true in Android devices where all of the flagship devices are running the latest chipset with 4 or 6GB of RAM. Internally, the devices share more similarities than differences. The camera module is where we start the see some separation from the pack. The Galaxy S9 will no doubt sport an impressive camera. One rumor that we have seen is regarding the video shooting capability of the Galaxy S9. Samsung is reportedly working on a camera sensor that can shoot video up to 1000 frames per second. To put this in perspective, the Sony Xperia XZ1 is the current king of fps with a whopping 960fps video shooting capability. If true, this would make the Samsung Galaxy S9 the hands down best smartphone for shooting video – especially slow motion shots.
We haven’t heard much more about the Galaxy S9 camera but it’s safe to assume the device will launch with a dual sensor setup, similar to what we have seen in the Galaxy Note 8. If Samsung is able to pack in a few more surprises then they could claim the crown for the best smartphone camera of 2018 easily.
Release Date Up In The Air?
The Samsung Galaxy S9 release date may be one of the most interesting aspects of this upcoming device. Samsung has always released their new S series device in the Spring. However, with rumors of a Galaxy X joining the Galaxy family of devices; Samsung may have to change up their release calendar. Some reports are suggesting that Samsung will push their Galaxy S9 reveal up to January with a release date slated for shortly afterward. This would certainly force the company to speed up development and production. Part of me believes that, if the January reveal date was accurate, we would already be seeing way more leaks about the Galaxy S9. It may sound crazy but January isn’t that far away. In comparison, we got iPhone X leaks all throughout the spring and summer. One thing is for sure, if Samsung is in fact introducing a Galaxy X device then they will have to take a long look at their release calendar to ensure each device gets it’s own time in the spotlight. Otherwise, sales may suffer.
Big Design Changes Or Small Updates?
What will the Galaxy S9 will look like is a major question everyone seems to be asking. Samsung took a major step forward with the design of the Galaxy S8 this past year. They dropped their home button in favor of a beautiful bezel-less design. Since then, a lot of manufacturers have followed suit including Apple with the iPhone X. My personal belief is that Samsung will stick with a similar design to the Galaxy S8. There will be some noticeable changes. For example, the dual camera sensor on the back instead of a single camera sensor. There is also the possibility of a fingerprint sensor embedded underneath the display which would allow Samsung to remove the horribly placed sensor on the back of the device.
With that said, there are some rumors that suggest the Galaxy S9 could have a “notch” in the display; similar to the iPhone X. The iPhone X isn’t even available for sale right now but people already seem to have strong opinions about the design. Some people love how Apple has incorporated the notch into the design while others feel that the notch is ugly and takes away from an otherwise beautiful design. With the Galaxy S8 being loved for it’s simple but elegant design, I don’t see Samsung changing things up too much. After all, the Galaxy X will be the device they use to show off their new design direction. Let the Galaxy S9 stick to the design we have come to know and love.
Galaxy S9 Price
With flagship devices, price is always a consideration. The iPhone X starts at $999 and devices seem to be creeping closer to that $1000 mark every release cycle. The trouble for Samsung is that they have already set an upper price limit for the Galaxy S9 with the Galaxy Note 8. The Note 8 is $949 and includes a larger display as well as the S Pen. It would be hard for Samsung to price the Galaxy S9 higher than the Note 8 based on how they have priced devices in the past. I would expect to see a similar price to what we saw with the Galaxy S8. There could be room for a small bump in price but it’s pretty clear Samsung wants their pricing to go Galaxy S Series > Galaxy Note Series > Galaxy X series (if the device is, in fact, real).
With the Galaxy Note 8 having been unveiled, attention has turned to the Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone. This handset can still be considered very much the flagship of the Korean corporation, and will take on greater significance in 2018 with it following the tenth generation iPhone 8.
Apple is expected to up the ante with its next iPhone release, producing a significantly rebooted device with the intention of marking the tenth anniversary of the iPhone range. This will put the ball firmly in Samsung’s court with the Galaxy S9, making the device even more significant than the average Galaxy S range release.
Kuo wades in on Samsung Galaxy S9 release
And KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, probably the number one authority on mobile technology in the world, has already spoken out on the next-generation handset. Kuo believes that the Samsung Galaxy S9 will take its lead from the Galaxy Note 8 and feature a dual-camera, which will be excellent news for those who consider the Note 8 to be physically unwieldy.
The existing Galaxy Note 8 camera includes both standard and telephoto lenses, arguably improving on the photographic standards set by the iPhone 7 Plus. It is likely that these features will then migrate to the Galaxy S9 next year. It could be argued that this would provide Samsung with something of a competitive advantage, as Apple is still likely to produce two smaller iPhone 7S upgrades with single-lens units.
New Concept Image
With anticipation already building for the Samsung Galaxy S9 reveal, a new concept render gives us an intriguing impression of the smartphone. In particular, it is believed that the design of the handset will be updated further still, with an absolutely bezel-less Totality display dominating the front panel of the device.
The concept emerged on the increasingly influential Chinese microblogging site Weibo, and features the curved edges that have effectively become a trademark for Samsung in recent releases. The designer also predicts that Samsung will retain the 3.5mm headphone jack in the Galaxy S9 generation, placing the port on the bottom of the device.
USB Type-C will also be retained according to the render, while bottom mounted speakers are also present in the image. A fingerprint scanner integrated within the display of the device is also featured, building on technology recently introduced by Qualcomm.
The renders also indicate the Samsung may consider a particularly glossy finish for his next-generation smartphone. The rear of the device almost looks like a mirror, with a brushed metal finish that is particularly appealing.
Memory and storage
RAM is likely to be bumped up to 8GB when the Samsung Galaxy S9 emerges, while the Galaxy Note 8 has already informed us that Samsung is taking native storage more seriously. We can expect the storage quantities from the Note 8 to migrate to the Galaxy S9, meaning that there will be a premium version featuring 256GB of internal storage. Samsung is almost certain to retain micro SD support, meaning that this figure can be doubled to 512GB via the flexible technology.
Galaxy S9 Battery
Samsung will also be emboldened to take more risks with the battery to be included in the Galaxy S9. The Galaxy S range has not experienced the serious difficulties that made major headlines with the Galaxy Note 7. So the battery size of the Galaxy S9 can certainly be improved over the previous generation, meaning that a 3,800 mAh cell is highly possible.
The Korean manufacturer will also improve the fast wireless charging system, while it is possible that dust and waterproofing will also be upgraded.
Meanwhile, a blogger in Russia has suggested that the Galaxy S9 will take a leaf out of the book of the Moto Z series, by embracing a modular design. This would be a brave move by the consumer electronics giant, as the concept of modular phones has yet to really establish itself as a success.
According to Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin, Samsung is tinkering with this feature behind the scenes, potentially enabling users to update some of the core aspects of the smartphone. This would appeal to the Korean manufacturer, which has always taken a more flexible approach to its technology than the likes of Apple, for example.
Another big problem with this suggestion is that it would surely push the overall cost of the phone upwards, which Samsung can barely afford in the already squeezed smartphone niche. The Galaxy S9 will certainly need to come in at a price of under $999, and it is doubtful whether this can be achieved while also altering the design of the smartphone into a modular unit.
The Galaxy S9 could also be the first mobile from Samsung to incorporate 4K technology. This has frequently been linked with products from the Korean corporation, but Samsung has thus far resisted the temptation to bow to consumer desire. But with 4K becoming more mainstream, we may finally see it introduced by Samsung in 2017.
There is little doubt that the Samsung Galaxy S9 will be an outstanding smartphone, and we can expect it to appear in Q1 next year.