Despite Samsung’s efforts to keep its employees from breathing a word on the new Galaxy S8, a flood of new information has emerged about the company’s next flagship. From an upgraded OLED display material, a dedicated AI button, three-coil wireless charging, delayed launch and near bezel-less design, the Galaxy S8 sounds like it is shaping up to be a game-changer. Here’s the latest flood of leaks, condensed.
Dedicated AI button
The Wall Street Journal cites two unnamed sources that confirm Samsung is testing a new dedicated hardware button for the S8’s advanced AI assistant. The “AI button” is reportedly still in prototype phase and as such might not make it to the final design. But the idea of putting advanced AI capabilities front-and-center on the next Galaxy device would catapult the S8 into the same league as Google’s Pixel phones with the (apparently) exclusive Google Assistant.
Advanced AI capabilities would catapult the Galaxy S8 into the same AI league as Google's Pixel phones.
One of the WSJ‘s sources also noted that the Samsung Galaxy S8 launch would possibly be delayed until as late as April. This would mean the Galaxy S8 would be a no-show for MWC 2017, foregoing its usual unveiling time slot. While this news might be a little disappointing for some, I think we can all agree that if Samsung needs to take a little more time to deliver a rock solid device with no flaws, then it probably should.
“Significantly differentiated” AI
Last week, Samsung Mobile’s Injong Rhee said that AI on the Galaxy S8 would feature “significantly differentiated” capabilities from its competitors. Those competitors currently include the likes of Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana and Siri.
The Galaxy S8's AI assistant will be able to learn and adapt to your usage habits over time.
But where most of these are “just” virtual assistants, the Galaxy S8’s AI assistant will be able to learn and adapt to your usage habits, becoming more advanced over time. As the Viv Labs website notes: “Viv is taught by the world, knows more than it is taught, and learns every day.”
It’s important to note that Viv is not just a PA like Siri or Cortana either, but is also an AI platform. Samsung is reportedly going to use Viv not only as a smartphone PA but also as as a means to connect various IoT devices. This would put Viv at the center of a connected home in the same way as Google Home or Amazon Alexa.
Rhee went on to say that Samsung is “developing a key major interface which will bring about a totally new paradigm, an open AI platform”. This new paradigm will reportedly allow you to perform various actions – like ordering pizza or calling an Uber – by interacting with the AI assistant alone, without the need for accessing other apps.
Exactly how a Viv-powered AI assistant will jive with S Voice we’re not sure.
Upgraded OLED material
A new report from South Korea’s ET News also reveals a host of new Galaxy S8 features, including an upgrade to the OLED material used in the display. Where the Galaxy S6, S7 and Note 7 range of devices used an M7 OLED material, the Galaxy S8 is reported to be making the change to M8. M8 panels are said to deliver better energy efficiency and display life times.
M8 OLED panels are said to deliver better energy efficiency and display life times.
Near bezel-less design
According to the same report, the Galaxy S8 display will not only feature a new OLED material but will also make the shift to a near bezel-less design. The S8 display is reported to feature dual curves on either side and very minimal bezels above and below the screen. Previous reports have the display at 5.5 inches and 4K resolution. Which leads us to another rumored design change…
No physical home button
We’ve already heard that the Galaxy S8 will remove the physical home button and instead make the switch to an under-glass fingerprint scanner instead. Previous rumors indicated an optical fingerprint reader that could be incorporated into the display itself, rather than in the chin at the bottom of the screen.
Volume and power buttons will reportedly be touch-based rather than physical.
But the Korean report notes that the implementation of this scanner type is complicated and that a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner is also being considered. The report also claims that the volume and power buttons will be touch-based rather than physical to make the Galaxy S8 design “sleek and graceful”.
Dual camera setup
The Galaxy S8 camera is rumored to introduce a dual-lens setup like we’ve already seen on the LG G5 and V20, the iPhone 7 Plus and the Huawei P9 and Mate 9. An iris scanner will reportedly complement the front-facing camera while the primary camera on the back will feature two lenses with one dedicated to capturing depth information.
Three-coil wireless charging
Finally, the Korean report mentions the addition of an extra wireless charging coil in the Galaxy S8 for a total of three. This will reportedly allow for more efficient wireless charging over a wider area. It would also mean less importance need be placed on the exact positioning of the device on the wireless charging pad.
As always, it’s still relatively early days yet, and the rumor mill has a habit of churning out more reports than facts, so take all of this under advisement. There’s no guaranteeing any of the information in these reports will make it into the final design, but if even half of these rumors turn out to be true, Samsung is clearly shooting for the stars with the Galaxy S8. Let’s just hope that by trying to cram this much “new” into the Galaxy S8 that Samsung doesn’t bungle it.
Which of these rumors is your favorite? What would you like to see in the Galaxy S8?