Looking ahead to 2018
Update: Samsung has said that it’s unlikely that we’ll see the Galaxy S9 at CES 2018 in January, despite rumors to the contrary.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 hit stores in early 2017, so it makes sense that we’re hearing about the Samsung Galaxy S9, as it might only be months away.
The rumors are coming thick and fast for what the new phone will look like and feature, so we’ve rounded up the best of them here – as well as answering some key questions.
And below all that you’ll find our wish list of the various things we most want from Samsung’s next flagship.
What’s the new Samsung Galaxy S9 news?
What will the Samsung Galaxy S9 price be?
What’s the Samsung Galaxy S9 release date?
Samsung Galaxy S9 price and release date
We so far know little about when the Samsung Galaxy S9 will be announced, so we’ll just have to go off what Samsung has done in the past.
Samsung announced the Galaxy S8 in late March, so we’d expect it will follow up with the Galaxy S9 roughly a year later, at the end of March 2018.
But it was late in announcing the Galaxy S8 in 2017 – the company waited about a month longer than normal, so it’s possible that the S9 will land around the end of February, in which case it might be launched at Mobile World Congress 2018, as that’s likely to take place at that sort of time.
Recent rumors state that – due to the fact the OLED screens that are likely to be used in the phones are being created earlier than usual – the Galaxy S9 will launch in January, but that would seem far too early for many reasons, not least because people who bought the S8 wouldn’t be eligible to upgrade to it right away.
What we can safely predict is that the Samsung Galaxy S9 is sure to be expensive, as the Galaxy S8 launched at $720, £689, AU$1,199.
Samsung Galaxy S9 news and rumors
Not much is known about the Samsung Galaxy S9, but some sources claim the company has been working on the phone for a while.
The Bell reports unnamed industry sources saying that Samsung has been hard at work on the display panels for the Galaxy S9 since late March 2017. If true, that’s apparently about 6 months earlier than usual.
Samsung and Qualcomm have also started working on a new mobile chip according to The Investor. The chip is apparently likely to be called the Snapdragon 845 – up from the Snapdragon 835 found in some versions of the Galaxy S8 – and is supposedly going to be used in the Samsung Galaxy S9.
The Snapdragon 845’s use has again been rumored, this time by a reasonably reliable source, so it’s looking likely.
So far we don’t know anything about the power or performance of the Snapdragon 845 chipset, but we’d wager it won’t be the only one Samsung uses, with a new Exynos chip likely headed to S9 handsets in some parts of the world.
And speaking of a new Exynos chip, Samsung has now unveiled the Exynos 9810, which is likely to be used in the S9 outside of the US.
It includes an LTE modem which supports theoretical download speeds of 1.2Gbps – faster than any other phone, meaning you could potentially download an HD movie within just 10 seconds.
However, it seems unlikely that we’ll get 6GB of RAM inside, which is what many smartphone brands (especially Asian ones) are doing – with Samsung apparently set to stick with the much-more-sensible 4GB spec instead.
That’s a claim that’s been echoed by a recent benchmark for the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, but it’s slightly surprising given that the Galaxy Note 8 has 6GB of RAM.
The benchmark is questionable though, as while it lists the Exynos 9810 chipset, which is likely to be used, along with Android Oreo, the actual scores achieved by the phone in the benchmark are far lower than we’d expect from a Samsung flagship, so the listing could be fake.
Elsewhere, it seems one of the big chipset developments may allow the company to include a much bigger battery. A new report suggests Samsung will now use Substrate-like PCB tech that will allow the Exynos chipset manufacturer to include a bigger battery without increasing the size of the processor.
That may mean the extra battery won’t be on the Qualcomm Snapdragon-toting Galaxy S9, but it could mean big improvements for those who get the Exynos version.
One of the big issues with the Samsung Galaxy S8 was the fact the fingerprint sensor was shoved to the back of the phone, after rumors abounded that the reader was supposed to go under the display’s glass but it just didn’t work.
However, the new Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensor can sit below quite thick displays, and OLED technology (used in Samsung flagship phones) was specifically mentioned.
All of that points to the Samsung Galaxy S9 having fingerprint-sensing technology below the glass.
A possible alternative could come in the form of a fingerprint scanner built into a notch at the bottom of the screen, a bit like the one on the Essential Phone but at the bottom rather than the top.
That theory is based on a patent which shows exactly that, but patents often don’t get used in products, so it may well not happen.
Either way, Samsung might offer a new way for you to unlock your phone, with leaker @UniverseIce claiming that the Galaxy S9 will have a ‘3D sensor front camera’.
They don’t explain what they mean by that, but it sounds a lot like the iPhone X‘s Face ID system which allows you to use facial recognition to unlock the phone. And the 3D part suggests that like Apple’s solution it won’t be fooled by a picture. We wouldn’t count on this feature, but we wouldn’t rule it out either.
Samsung will likely improve the iris scanner in any case, with the latest rumorssuggesting it will be boosted to 3MP (from 2MP on the S8) and better able to recognize your eyes, even if you wear glasses or the lighting is poor. It will also apparently be faster than on the S8.
When it comes to the camera, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is rumored to be able to shoot some incredible slow motion video.
Industry sources claim Samsung is working on a rear camera that can shoot at 1,000 frames per second, which would be better than anything on the market in a phone right now.
It’s possible there could be differences between the cameras on the S9 and S9 Plus though, with one source saying that while the S9 Plus will have a dual-lens snapper, the S9 will just have a single-lens one.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 might have good sound whichever model you opt for though, as there are rumors of it both having AKG stereo speakers and a free set of Bluetooth AKG headphones.
As for the design of the phone, we don’t know much about that yet, but it will probably be similar to the Galaxy S8, albeit with some tweaks. And one of those tweaks could be smaller bezels, as a source claims the S9 will have around a 90% screen-to-body ratio, up from roughly 84% on the Galaxy S8.
The Galaxy S9 is sure to get some other new features too, one of which could be a modular design, with magnets on the back letting you attach hardware accessories (which could take the form of battery packs, zoom lenses or any number of other things), a bit like Motorola’s Moto Mods.
Only one source has mentioned this possibility so far, so we’d take it with a huge pinch of salt, but it could be a key selling point of the S9 if true. A minor design tweak is a new color for the Galaxy S9 that is expected to see the flagship line debut in purple for the very first time.
We’ve also seen a Samsung patent for a sensor which would analyze atmospheric conditions and alert you to how much pollution there was in the air.
Aside from that, in late 2016 Samsung licensed a new glass coating technology that makes water bounce off your smartphone screen. Samsung plans to include this tech in an upcoming phone, so it may mean the Galaxy S9 is much easier to use in the rain. Watch the video below to see how the technology works.
Plus one source has also claimed the Dex docking station we saw debut alongside the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus will get an update that will make it work more like a charging pad and allow you to type on the screen too. It means you won’t need to use a keyboard and mouse when connecting your phone up to a monitor.
Samsung Galaxy S9: what we want to see
The Samsung Galaxy S8 is still the new shiny, but we’ve had a brainstorm about the improvements we’d like to see on the Galaxy S9.
1. A foldable screen
Rumors of the Samsung Galaxy X – a phone with a foldable display – have been building for the past few years.
A Samsung executive has told the media that the company doesn’t plan to launch a fully foldable phone until at least 2019, but plans may change in the coming months.
For Samsung to build the first truly foldable phone and sell it in 2018 would be a major boost to the South Korean company, and may change the way we use our phones forever.
2. A smaller version
Samsung doesn’t offer an Android alternative to the iPhone SE. Instead the company has the Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus for the mid-sized and larger phone lovers out there.
We’d like to see Samsung embrace a smaller display on the Galaxy S9, or offer up a third version that includes a smaller screen instead.
3. A fingerprint sensor under the screen
It’s clear Samsung wanted to move the fingerprint sensor under the screen for the Galaxy S8, but didn’t have enough time to make it work.
Instead Samsung included a touch-sensitive home button under the display, which is useful, but we’d like to see the company go the full way and include a fingerprint sensor below the screen.
4. A lower price
Samsung has had to increase the price for the Galaxy S8, making it one of the most expensive flagship phones on the market.
If you’re buying it as part of a two-year deal it’s not as expensive as you’d expect, but we’d like to see Samsung reduce the price for next year’s phone if at all possible.
5. Dual-lens camera
Considering the camera improvements on the Galaxy S8 seem to be rather limited it would be great for Samsung to push the camera tech in the phone to a dual-lens setup on the Galaxy S9.
Given that the Galaxy Note 8 has now launched with just such a snapper, this is looking likely.
- Everything we know so far about the Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Related product: Samsung Galaxy S8
This is a strong phone from Samsung indeed, although a lack of upgrades to the camera and battery do slightly irk. However, the rebooted screen is very attractive, and really makes a big difference to this phone – Samsung has ticked most of the boxes we were hoping it would here.
- Great screen
- Slick new UI
- No camera upgrade
- Battery same size
By Gareth Beavis at techradar