The Galaxy Note 8 is battling it out with the iPhone X. But that’s not stopping people from thinking about Samsung’s next phone.
How will Samsung top the Galaxy S8 with next year’s phone? (Credit: Tom’s Guide)That would be the Galaxy S9. Expect the bar to be raised once again when Samsung releases its flagship, as it will reportedly add key missing features to what already is the best Android phone in the Galaxy S8.
What should you expect? Here’s everything you need to know right now about what’s planned for the Galaxy S9.
When Will the Galaxy S9 Be Released?
If history has taught us anything, it’s that Samsung announces a smartphone in its Galaxy S lineup every spring — sometime between February and April. We don’t have an exact date at this point, but Samsung hasn’t strayed from that timeline since the first Galaxy S smartphone was unveiled back in 2010.
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Right now, it seems likely that Samsung will take the wraps off the Galaxy S9 on or around Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The 2018 version of that event kicks off Feb. 26.
That was bolstered by a report in BGR on Sept. 20 that suggested Samsung will announce and release the Galaxy S9 sooner than it did the Galaxy S8. In fact, the report suggests Samsung’s smartphone could become official in just five months time.
What Features Should We Expect from the Galaxy S9?
Here are the features that sound the most likely to ship in Samsung’s flagship next year.
- Modular Design: According to a leak by Mobile-Review editor in chief Eldar Murtazin, Samsung may make the Galaxy S9’s design modular, similar to the Moto Z series and Essential phone. In other words, you would be able to snap on various modules that would add functionality to the handset.
- Insanely Powerful Processor: Samsung worked with Qualcomm to produce the most powerful mobile processor on the market, the Snapdragon 835. For a while, that CPU was exclusive to the Galaxy S8, though it’s since arrived in other phones like the OnePlus 5 and HTC U11.
After the Snapdragon 820 (left) and 835, look for a more powerful mobile processor in the Galaxy S9. (Credit: Qualcomm)Look for Samsung to up the ante on the S9 with a next-gen CPU that’s more efficient and features better performance than even the impressive 835. A report from SamMobile seemingly confirms that the Galaxy S9 will be the first Android phone with a Snapdragon 845 chip inside.
While the processor might be powerful, there’s also talk that Samsung might skimp a little on the RAM side and only offer 4GB of onboard memory. It would be nice to see a little more from the company, and that could change, but with memory prices sky high right now, Samsung might be trying to preserve its margins by only offering 4GB.
• Embedded Fingerprint Sensor: Don’t expect the Galaxy S9 to look a whole lot different from its predecessor, except when you flip it over. Samsung will reportedly ditch its physical fingerprint sensor, which moved to the back of the Galaxy S8 to make room for the edge-to-edge Infinity Display.
A Qualcomm innovation has enabled Samsung to bake that sensor directly into the OLED screen. Samsung was reportedly developing its own embedded fingerprint sensor for the S8, but couldn’t get it to work properly.
Now that Qualcomm has solved the technical problems and is making its fingerprint sensor tech available early next year, it seems likely that the S9 will be one of the first devices out of the gate offering that feature. However, a recent report suggests that the Galaxy Note 9, and not the Galaxy S9, will be the first to have a fingerprint sensor integrated into the display.The Galaxy Note 8 is expected to add dual rear cameras, and the S9 should follow suit next year. (Credit: Tung Ha/Facebook)
• Dual Lens Camera: After the iPhone 7 Plus debuted with a dual lens camera last fall and LG followed up with its own dual lens system with the G6, you’d figure that Samsung would do likewise. That didn’t happen with the S8, though the Note 8 added dual rear lenses. Analysts expect that feature to make its way to the Galaxy S9, too.
• A Face ID Competitor: Samsung could come out swinging against the iPhone X’s flagship security feature. That is, if you believe some thinly-sourced Twitter accounts suggesting it. Apple’s been having trouble getting it manufactured at scale, but perhaps factories will figure out how to pump out those advanced sensors by time the Galaxy S9 is ready for production.
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• Super Slow-Mo: There’s also talk of the possibility of Samsung’s Galaxy S9 delivering images in super slow-motion, thanks to a rear-facing camera sensor that would support 1,000 frames per second. That would put the Galaxy S9 on par with Sony’s Xperia XZ1 and allow for the possibility of incredible photo and video captures.
• Faster Modem: Samsung says it’s working on a next-generation version of its Exynos processor with an LTE modem that supports six-carrier aggregation. What does that mean? Theoretically, it means the Galaxy S9 could achieve download speeds of up to 1.2 Gbps, or 20 percent higher than the Galaxy S8’s modem.
Imagine downloading an HD movie in 10 seconds, livestreaming from your smartphone and making video calls with no buffer time. What a world!
In reality, though, that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon — not because of Samsung’s chipset, but because smartphone carriers have to support six-carrier aggregation, too. That almost definitely won’t happen this year or next. But Samsung is future-proofing its phone when 5G is ready to roll out (whenever that may be).
• The Return of the Infinity Display: Why mess with a good thing? The bezel-free screen Samsung introduced with the Galaxy S8 is one of that phone’s best features, so it’s no surprise Samsung apparently won’t tinker too much with the S9’s appearance. The S9 should be the same size as this Galaxy S8. (Credit: Tom’s Guide)The Bell, a South Korean site, reports that Samsung has already ordered 5.8- and 6.2-inch displays for the S9. Those are the same sizes that the S8 and S8+ offer. To which we say: good.
Could This Be the Galaxy S9?
Samsung, of course, isn’t tipping what its Galaxy S9 might look like, but that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill and designers from churning out renderings and concept art based on all the rumors.
The latest comes from DBS Designing, which has floated a possible design concept that features a flat front and back and metal edges. It’s unknown whether Samsung would even deliver a design like that, but given how cool it is — matte black back and all — it might be one that would help Samsung’s smartphone stand out against the iPhone X.
Credit: DBS Designing/BGR
Samsung has a lot on its plate right now. The Galaxy Note 8 is off to a strong start, but that product is targeted at early adopters, and isn’t as key to the company’s fortunes as the more mainstream Galaxy S line. The good news is that every early rumor indicates the Galaxy S9 will improve upon many of the features that make the Galaxy S8 so great.
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