Rumour zone: what to expect from the Samsung Galaxy S8

“Rounding up all the rumours about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S8”

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2016 has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride for Samsung. While the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge were highly successful in capitalising on the flagship smartphone market, the Note7 marked one of the biggest smartphone recalls in recent history, marring Samsung’s image as a trustworthy brand and also incurring massive losses to its customer base and wallet alike. 

However, we do understand that mistakes happen. And that the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S8 could be the company’s chance at redemption. While the official launch is slated for early next year, there’s already a heavy flow of rumours for the Android flagship. 
Have a look at (and don’t forget to bookmark) this post containing all the leaks and rumours regarding the Galaxy S8, as we would be constantly updating this article to accommodate newer leaks as they arrive. 

Design and Display

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Samsung was the first manufacturer to bring a curved display with the Galaxy Note edge (review) and it evolved that to dual-curved edges with Galaxy S flagships. With the upcoming Galaxy S8 however, the edges should be available in the normal variant itself, and the brand might just do away with the flat screen variant. The curved edges would allow users to access contacts, apps and more, along with a news ticker. Similar to the Galaxy S7 edge (review), the Galaxy S8 is expected to be built around a 5.5-inch and/or a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display. These two models are codenamed Dream and Dream2 inside Samsung, sources have revealed.

A new report from South Korea suggests that the Samsung Galaxy S8 flagship will be launched in two variants – one featuring a 5-inch screen and the other offering a bigger 6-inch display, with the latter being called the Galaxy S8 Plus. The bigger display will potentially lure in former Galaxy Note7 (first impressions) users. The company is also expected to offer the S Pen stylus as an external accessory, possibly to be used with the Galaxy S8 Plus.

The word on the street is that the company will be implementing a wraparound, pressure-sensitive, bezel-less OLED display and removing the physical home button, much like the recently-announced Xiaomi Mi MIX. The phone will house a virtual home button, which will be placed below the glass in the lower section. Just like the iPhone 7 Plus (review), the S8 is also expected to drop the 3.5mm headphone jack in favour of USB-C audio connectivity but will retain the iris scanner and waterproofing functionality seen on the Note7. 

Lee Kyeong-tae, Samsung’s Vice President of Mobile Communications revealed to Wall Street Journal that the upcoming Galaxy flagship will flaunt a “slick design” along with “an improved camera”. In addition, the Samsung executive has revealed that the phone will come with “an enhanced artificial intelligence service”. Another report from China suggests that Samsung is working to put an optical fingerprint sensor for biometric security on the Galaxy S8. This will reportedly help Samsung achieve a truly full-screen device as the fingerprint sensor will be placed inside the display itself. It will eliminate the need to place the fingerprint sensor inside the home button. Samsung’s long-time fingerprint scanner supplier Synaptics recently announced its Natural ID optical-based sensors for smartphones and tablets. Speculations indicate that the Samsung may end up using this optical fingerprint sensor. The Natural ID optical-based fingerprint sensor by Synaptics, dubbed FS9100, can be embedded underneath the screen itself, thus eliminating the need to integrate it into the home button. This sensor can be placed even under 2.5D curved glass and can work even with wet fingers. Some reports suggest that in addition to the sides, the Galaxy S8 will be curved on the top and bottom edges as well.  

With Google’s DayDream VR becoming a benchmark for new flagships in the market for VR content, the Galaxy S8 is expected to carry enough firepower to support the platform. Interestingly, rumours point towards the inclusion of a 4K resolution panel on the device, which would make it an excellent choice for media consumption, if not for battery life. While a bit far-fetched, it has also been reported that the company might squeeze in a projector inside the smartphone. 

Related read: Meet the futuristic Samsung Galaxy S8 Concept

Processor and Memory

galaxy-note7_bigger_phone2_thumb.pngSamsung flagships generally pack the latest in terms of hardware and the Galaxy S8 may feature the fastest processors in the market at the time of launch. It is expected to come in two variants, one being powered by the 3.25GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core SoC with Adreno 540 GPU and the other by the home-brewed 10nm Exynos 8895 chip. The new Snapdragon chip is expected to support download speeds of up to 1Gbps. The Exynos 8895 is reported to have a 3GHz maximum clock speed and a 70 percent improvement in image processing efficiency compared to its predecessor, paired with the Mali-G71 GPU.

According to ARM, the Mali-G71 GPU is scalable from one to 32 cores and delivers up to 20 percent better energy efficiency, 40 percent better performance density and 20 percent external memory bandwidth saving compared to Mali-T880 under similar conditions. Supporting these fiery processors would be 6GB LPDDR4 RAM and 64GB, 128GB and 256GB storage variants with microSD card slots for expansion.

Sources also claim that Samsung recently filed a trademark for the term ‘beast mode’ in the EU. While there is no word yet as to what the feature would bring to the table, several reports claim that it will have to do something with increasing the smartphone’s raw power. 

Cameras

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Samsung is said to be working on a new camera, which will have a 16MP sensor and have a wide f/1.4 aperture, where the Samsung Galaxy S7 (review) has a narrower f/1.7 one. That extra width could allow more light in and the jump in megapixel count could allow for more detailed images. Another rumour originating from WCCF Tech, points to a dual-lens camera. While the purpose of a dual-lens setup is not clear as yet, the sources claim it’s being built by Samsung Motors (Semco).

A fresh report by Korean news site Etnews seems to have spilled the beans regarding the Galaxy S8’s selfie camera. As per the source, the Samsung Galaxy S8 will sport a front camera with autofocus, which is a rarity on smartphones. Autofocus  is mainly available only on the primary camera of a smartphone. The report also states that Samsung will integrate an encoder-type actuator on the Galaxy S8 for autofocusing tasks, as it allows for slimmer camera modules.

Battery

Following the Note7 fiasco, Samsung sure is going to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of its users. The battery on the Samsung Galaxy S8 is expected to be a 4,200mAh unit as per some reports. 

Software

The Galaxy S8 is expected to run Android 7.1 Nougat with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI adding more arsenal to its list of features. Although it will take some time before the exact specifications of the software surface, the recent acquisition of Viv, the AI assistant from the creators of Siri, suggests  significant integration of such a technology in its future projects including S Voice. Based on a recent trademark filing, SamMobile theorises that “Bixby” could be the name for Samsung’s upcoming AI assistant, which is supposed to debut with the Galaxy S8. 

Exchange program

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According to SamMobile, “the new compensation program is designed to make it easier for those who exchange their Galaxy Note 7 with existing Samsung smartphones, to shift into [the company’s] next model coming next year.”  Users who had to send their Galaxy Note7 phones back to Samsung in a fireproof box could be first in line for a complimentary Galaxy S8, according to Samsung insiders. 

Launch

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Samsung generally launches its Galaxy S flagship around the Mobile World Congress (MWC) at its Unpacked event and according to twitter user @Ricciolo1, February 26th (2+6=8) appears to be the official date for the announcement. However, a more recent news is now suggesting that Samsung could actually postpone the unveiling and launch the S8 at a separate event in April 2017.

Do take these details with a pinch of salt as the Galaxy S8 is expected to still be in development and no official confirmations have been provided by Samsung for the same yet.

Source 1, Source 2

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