Update: This article was created and updated in the lead up to the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S8. Feel free to read through it to see how much we got right and wrong. For up to date information on Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone, visit our new post.
Smartphone silly season has officially kicked off with HTC making some announcements. Traditionally, it’s Samsung and Apple that really grab your attention every year. Samsung made a hames of the Note7 last year, so now it’s make or break time. So, while nothing is official just yet, here’s everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy S8 so far.
When will we get the official Samsung Galaxy S8 news?
The Note7 debacle left some believing we would get an earlier Galaxy S8 launch this year. Thankfully, Samsung does not believe that rushing a smartphone launch is a good idea. After a worldwide recall of the Note7, the South Korean phone manufacturer will be sticking to the annual launch plan for their 2017 flagship. Samsung annually makes their big announcement at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. This year, MWC will take place between 27 February and 2 March. You should be able to buy the Samsung Galaxy S8 should soon after. However, some reports do suggest an April launch.
What are the big Galaxy S8 talking points?
Win back customer support
Well, the biggest talking point is Samsung itself. Despite launching the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, two fantastic phones, all everyone remembers is the Note7. The Note7 was a brand disaster. Airports still have warnings in place to remind customers they cannot fly with a Note7. This simply means the Samsung Galaxy S8 has to be both a cracking phone, but also non-explosive. It’s weird that you have to spell that out these days.
3.5mm headphone jack
Some early reports suggested Samsung would follow Apple and remove support for 3.5mm headphone jacks. If you are wondering what that is, it’s every (may be exaggerated) single headphone connection in the world, ever. HTC have even followed the madness, moving towards wireless and USB-C based headphones. Well, the dust is settling a little, and it would appear that Samsung will not ditch 3.5mm headphone jacks just yet. This is a decidedly good move considering how many people they pissed off last year.
With that said, Samsung is perhaps the best-positioned smartphone manufacturer to rid phones of the 3.5mm connection. Samsung is the most prominent smartphone on the market to utilise wireless charging. This means you can charge wirelessly while listening through the USB-C port. Though, that might sound a little dangerous actually.
Removing the home button
Yes, apparently Samsung are going for on-screen buttons. This feels like one of those rumours that we’ll look back at in a few months and laugh. Still, leaks have emerged on Twitter showing screen potential screen protectors for the next Samsung flagship. The tweeter initially said these were screens before correcting himself, leaving a few questions marks around the images.
Według mojego dostawcy szkieł S8 nie będzie miał wersji flat O.o Ma być S8 i S8 Plus. Do tej pory się nie mylił… pic.twitter.com/sExMoISPY4
— DforDesign (@dfordesign) January 16, 2017
Should these be actual manufacturer specifications emerging early, Samsung will be removing the home button. Judging by the sensor spaces at the top, they will also be most likely adding a retina scanner which was supposed to accompany the doomed Note7.
Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Edge
It’s hard to imagine Samsung opting for just one variant of their flagship this year. That means we’re likely to see the Samsung Galaxy S8 launch alongside an Edge version of the same. The Galaxy S7 Edge has been my own phone of choice for the past year and I love it. But only when you put it alongside the Galaxy S7 do you realise just how much bigger it is. It’s big enough to massively affect how much people like the phone.
Samsung Galaxy S8 leaks
As there is every year, we’ve seen several purported leaks of what the Galaxy S8 will look like. The most interesting one to emerge yet is from Samsung themselves. A detailed phone render appeared while promoting their latest AMOLED display.
Now, of course, you could argue this is a very unlikely source for a leak. Also, could you even call it a leak if it’s Samsung themselves? Either way, the detail of the mocked-up phone would point to this being a possible Galaxy S8 design. If you look closely at the phone in the video, you’ll see proximity sensors and antenna lines. That’s fierce detail for a simple mockup.
Should this be true, Samsung is removing physical navigation buttons. For this reason, we just hope it’s just a generic mockup.
Official Samsung Galaxy S8 news
Samsung bailed on announcing the Samsung Galaxy S8 at Mobile World Congress. They’ve opted for taking extra time for more safety tests, even running ads promoting the process. They did take their chance at MWC 2017 to drop a few hints about the Galaxy S8. We now know that 29 March is the annual Unpacked event where we’ll finally meet Samsung’s new flagship smartphone. There was little else hinted at, but Samsung did have a 30-second “This is a phone” teaser video.
What does the teaser tell us?
These teasers give away quite a bit sometimes. Big companies just can’t help themselves from giving something away. This teaser hints at the progression of Samsung flagship phones throughout the years. Predominant the whole way through is the home button.
Earlier rumours that Samsung would depart from the home button would appear accurate
Earlier rumours that Samsung would depart from the home button would appear accurate. The final screen of the video shows what we can only presume is the shape of the new Samsung Galaxy S8. Missing from the last screen is, of course, the home button.
Another subtle tip comes in the lack of a bezel. Last year, Samsung also had a bezel free phone in the shape of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Surely Samsung don’t plan to make the Edge their standard model, do they?
All will be revealed soon enough.