Why Everyone Is So Excited About Samsung's Galaxy S8
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The Samsung Galaxy S8 is going to be one of the hottest phones of the year, and it's a critical one for Samsung. With the Galaxy Note 7 being pulled from the market (and many people confusing the Note 7 with the non-exploding Galaxy S7), Samsung needs the Galaxy S8 to bring back its sales and cement its position.
Rumors are flying, and sometimes they contradict each other. The Galaxy S8 will obviously be a large, slab-style Android 7.0 Nougat phone. But beyond that, everything's up for grabs. Here's what we've been hearing around the Web about the Galaxy S8 so far.
When is the Galaxy S8's release date?
Samsung exec DJ Koh confirmed to Reuters that the Galaxy S8 will not be announced at the Mobile World Congress trade show at the end of February. However, Korean press reports say that the official launch date may be teased at the end of Samsung's press conference on February 26.
Evan Blass at VentureBeat says the phone will be announced on March 29 and go on sale April 21.
What are its price and carriers?
We don't anticipate any surprises with pricing and carrier options for the Galaxy S8. It'll probably cost the same as the Galaxy S7 did, around $650-700 for the base model, and $750-800 if there is a larger model. It will initially be announced in locked versions for each U.S. carrier, with an unlocked version to follow.
A report from SamMobile says that the prices in Ukraine will be $950 and $1050. However, phones are somewhat more expensive in Ukraine than they are in the U.S. For instance, the 32GB iPhone 7 costs $869 there, while it costs $649 here. So that $950/$1050 in Ukraine could easily be $750/$850 in the U.S.
What are its specs and features?
Well, for one thing, it won't explode. Samsung posted a YouTube video (above) emphasizing how heavily they're testing this phone. The Wall Street Journal also reports that Samsung may be going to Sony batteries, although the battery manufacturer probably won't matter from a consumer perspective.
The most recent round of rumors comes from Evan Blass at VentureBeat:
- A "force touch" screen able to differentiate between keypress strengths
- A rear 12-megapixel camera and a front 8-megapixel camera
- 5.8- and 6.2-inch screens with a tall, narrow 18.5:9 aspect ratio
- 3000 and 3500mAh batteries
- 4GB of RAM
The Guardian had some rumors to contribute a few days ago:
- Almost bezel-less, edge-to-edge display
- Curved "edge" phones only, no non-edge model
- Fingerprint scanner on the back of the device
- Very similar main camera to last year's model
- New versions of the Gear VR and Gear 360 accessories
- The ability to turn the phone into an Android-powered desktop computer
Those rumors join these previous suggestions from Eldar Murtazin via BGR:
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 in the US, Samsung Exynos 8895 outside
- 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage plus MicroSD card
- 5.7- and 6.2-inch screens with new AMOLED display technology
- Both a 3.5mm audio jack and USB-C port
- Iris scanner
- Maybe no Home button?
What is Samsung Bixby?
Bixby is what the internet is calling Samsung's new voice assistant service. Samsung has had a little-used, poorly reviewed voice assistant called S Voice on its phones for a few years now, but Bixby will apparently be a major change. It may be based on technology from Viv Labs, an artificial intelligence company founded by some of the creators of Siri which Samsung bought last year.
SamMobile says Bixby will be able to manipulate local apps, process payments and conduct visual searches, a feature it calls "Bixby Vision."