There’s no doubt the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge have been big hits for Samsung and we certainly loved them – so what does the South Korean company do for a follow-up? Work will already have started on the Galaxy S8 phones and here’s what we know so far.
Some clues can be found in the recently launched Samsung Galaxy Note 7 – traditionally a halfway house between the annual Galaxy phone launches – but it’s not our only source of info on the S8 and S8 Edge. The 2017 phones wont come cheap though, so start saving.
The Galaxy S8’s predecessors
Back in February Samsung took the wrappers off the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge at Mobile World Congress and tech fans have been in love with them ever since. Thanks to strong sales of both handsets, Samsung has since recorded its biggest profits for a couple of years, so there’s a lot of pressure for the company to keep up its winning streak.
The success of the S7 and S7 Edge would suggest Samsung won’t want to mess with the magic formula too much – and because the phones were quite a leap forward from the S6 and S6 Edge of 2015, the tech firm may settle for a very similar design and feature set in its phones next year. It might be 2018 before we see some truly new features for the Galaxies.
Don’t forget the explodey Galaxy Note 7 though, which again has been well received. While it’s unlikely that we’ll see a stylus included with the Galaxy S8, there’s a very good chance the iris scanning feature might be transferred – it’s a new gimmick in a market that’s very short of them, and of course would help the S8 differentiate itself against the next iPhone.
Galaxy S8 rumours and speculation
It’s been suggested that the Samsung Galaxy S8 will appear on 25th February 2017. That makes complete sense, the Galaxy phones usually appear at the end of February or the start of March – basically, whenever the Mobile World Congress trade show happens. With MWC 2017 starting on 27 February, that should be around the date we hear about whatever Samsung has in store – though as with everything else we’ve written here, nothing’s quite set in stone yet.
It’s still early days as far as rumours and speculation are concerned, but we’ve heard a few whispered bits of gossip. Such has been the success of the S6 Edge and the S7 Edge, the word is that Samsung will drop the flat model in 2017 and just bring out an S8 Edge. That would be a bold move, but those curved displays are one of Samsung’s iconic creations.
There’s talk of a 4K display for the larger model, and 2K for the smaller S8 (for better VR support, something which Samsung has focused on in recent years) and a dual-lens camera, following in the footsteps of the Huawei P9, the LG G5 and the iPhone 7. Again, camera quality is something Samsung has prioritised in the past, and so that’s an upgrade that would definitely make sense.
Samsung’s new AI assistant could make an appearance in the S8. The company recently bought AI company Viv Labs, and both Google and Apple have stepped up their Virtual Assistant games of late. Viv could replace S Voice.
Galaxy S8 potential features
It’s difficult to come up with many notable features that Samsung has yet to cram into its phones. We’ve mentioned VR already, one of Samsung’s pet projects, and with a new USB-C Gear VR on the scene it’s obvious that the S8 is going to be equipped with USB-C and very probably packed with virtual reality features (including Daydream support).
You don’t need a crystal ball to predict that the S8 will feature a better camera and faster processor, and we can dream of better battery life and an internal storage space bump too. Price-wise, Samsung will again be positioning this at the premium end of the market, so you’re not going to see the cost of a new Galaxy phone go down by this time next year.
As well as a RAM bump to 6GB, we might also see the Snapdragon 830 processor, tipped to debut next year in a variety of phones. What we won’t see this time around, however, are foldable screens – one of the executives at Samsung has said the innovative tech is on the way but won’t be ready in time for 2017… something for the Galaxy S9, perhaps?
What to watch out for
There’s still a long stretch of time between now and February and while some of the Galaxy S8 features will be set in stone, others might not be. We’re expecting a couple of major phone announcements in the next six months and the direction taken by Apple and Google may well give us some more clues about what Samsung is planning for 2017.
The iPhone 7 popped out in September, which gives Samsung just enough time to react to whatever Apple pulls out of the hat. If one of these iPhones has a dual-camera then that might make Samsung executives more inclined to give the green light to their own competing tech.
Then there’s the matter of Google’s Pixel phones, which is a new, major competitor to Samsung. By the time the new year rolls around we’re probably going to be hearing a lot more speculation about what Samsung has got in store for us.