This isn’t a rumor or a supply chain leak. It comes directly from Samsung’s mobile business chief DJ Koh. He told ZDNet during a press conference at the CES that Samsung was planning to launch the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) next month. Earlier, there were speculations that the S9 flagship could be unveiled at the CES in Las Vegas. Koh’s statement has put all the speculations about Galaxy S9 release date to rest.
Galaxy S9 is a little over a month away
DJ Koh did not mention a specific date for the Galaxy S9 Unpacked event. But we know that the MWC would be held in Barcelona from February 26 through March 1st this year. Samsung tends to unveil its flagship phones on the opening day of a trade show or a day before the show kicks off. Sources told Bloomberg recently that the Galaxy S9 would go on sale in early March.
South Korean publication The Bell has reported earlier that the Galaxy S9 would be unveiled on February 27 Korea Time. Since Korea Time is 14 hours ahead of the Eastern Time, it could well be February 26 in the US depending on the time of Samsung’s event. Samsung might be in a rush to bring the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus early to the market to compete against LG’s upcoming G7, which would also be unveiled in March.
Last year, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus were announced on March 29 and went on sale in mid-April. The devices were received well by consumers and critics, who praised its beautiful Infinity display. Samsung had to delay the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus launch by about a month as it investigated the causes of the Galaxy Note 7 battery debacle.
Galaxy X likely to launch next year
DJ Koh added that the company could launch its foldable phone sometime next year. He had told media earlier that the foldable phone would arrive in 2018. Koh told ZDNet at the CES that UX was a major obstacle in the commercialization of the foldable phone. There are also durability issues that the Korean company needs to address. It means we are unlikely to see the device this year.
Industry sources told ETNews that Samsung was on track to develop foldable screens by March this year. It would start manufacturing panels in September and the phone – likely to be called Galaxy X – would enter mass production in November or December. Over the last few months, the Korean company has been granted a wide variety of patents related to the foldable phone technology. The rumor mill claims the Galaxy X would have a flexible 7.3-inch OLED display that folds inward like a book.
DJ Koh also revealed that Samsung was working to launch Bixby 2.0 by the end of this year. He claims all Samsung devices will have the company’s proprietary virtual assistant by 2020. Koh said there are many companies that have AI competence, but most of them don’t have hardware competence. Even if Samsung is late to the AI race, it is capable of “offering the best experience for consumers.”
Galaxy S9 features and specs
The rumor mill has revealed tons of details about the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus in the last few months. According to leaked renders, the S9 and S9 Plus would look similar to last year’s S8 and S8 Plus. There will only be a few minor tweaks in terms of design. For instance, the fingerprint sensor will be placed below the rear camera module in an attempt to address one of the biggest user complaints.
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The larger Galaxy S9 Plus would feature a vertically aligned dual camera system on the back. The standard S9 would keep the single camera lens. Samsung is looking to differentiate the larger and more expensive S9 Plus from its smaller sibling, just like Apple has been doing for years. As part of the same approach, the S9 Plus would offer 6GB RAM while the Galaxy S9 would sell with 4GB RAM. The S9 is rumored to come with 64GB and 128GB storage options while the S9 Plus would be available in 128GB and 256GB storage variants.
We can expect the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus to deliver impressive performance. They would run Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 or Samsung’s Exynos 9810 chips depending on the region. The US, China and a few other markets would get the Snapdragon variant. The Exynos version will be sold in the rest of the world. Both the new processors are more powerful and energy efficient than their predecessors.
Leaks from China indicate that the S9 and S9 Plus would pack 3200mAh and 3500mAh batteries, respectively. Other features include a USB Type-C port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, wireless charging, and water-resistance. The upcoming flagship phones would boast of an advanced iris scanner that would be faster, better, and more secure than before. The new iris scanner would work even when you are wearing sunglasses, moving your eyeballs, or are in poorly-lit conditions.