The Galaxy S9 didn't even hit shelves before fans were already musing about its followup. It's no secret Samsung's newest device, as impressive as it is, is little more than an upgrade to last year's S8. As a result, excitement has begun brewing for what Samsung has in store as it marks the Galaxy's 10th anniversary.
Samsung's 2019 flagship will undoubtedly make a huge splash when it finally makes its debut, and will all but certainly be a considerable upgrade over the stopgap that is the Galaxy S9. While details are still murky regarding this smartphone, the few tidbits we do have definitely warrant some excitement for what's to come. So, without further ado, here's what we know so far about the S9's successor.
First thing's first — because of it's 10th anniversary status, it's entirely possible for Samsung to skip the "S" moniker altogether for its upcoming flagship. That doesn't mean Samsung will hold back a release next year, rather, the company may decide to change up the way it names its flagships to mark this important milestone.
In a conversation with The Investor, DJ Koh, head of Samsung's mobile division, confirmed the company was considering a name change for the S9's followup. Koh doesn't believe they will alter the "Galaxy" label, however, there is talk of dropping the "S" for something else.
Whatever the final model name Samsung decides to settle on, its code name provides some insight into the potentially game-changing nature of the flagship. According to MySmartPrice, Samsung has codenamed its secret flagship Beyond, which points towards a significant shift in terms of what it plans to bring to consumers moving forwards with regard to new technology and overall experience.
While rumors are pretty thin about when Samsung plans to announce and release its next Galaxy S device, right now, our money's on Mobile World Congress 2019. The S9 was dropped at MWC 2018, and while the S8 missed it by a month, the S7 was announced just one day before the Barcelona event.
As a flagship that celebrates the Galaxy line's 10th anniversary, it's safe to assume that Samsung will hold an exclusive event like it did for the S8. And if we follow historical patterns, the device will most likely make its debut sometime in spring, most likely March or April.
If recent leaks are to be believed, Samsung may follow in Apple's footsteps and release three distinct S10 models of varying specs and price points. According to ETNews out of Korea, Samsung is busy developing three variants of its secret Beyond flagship — aptly named "Beyond 0," "Beyond 1," and "Beyond 2."
Taking a page from its S6 and S7 playbooks, Beyond 0 is slated to be the most affordable of the three variants, and will feature a flat 5.8" display panel as opposed to the curved 5.8" and 6.2" displays found on the Beyond 1 and 2. Given Samsung's history with flagship variants, it's safe to assume that unlike the upcoming entry-level iPhone XR, the S10/Beyond 0 variant will sport an OLED display.
And there's more, as Ice Universe reports that Samsung is planning on building another S10 variant with 5G connectivity, in anticipation of the newest cellular technology, and dubbed this model "Beyond X". This would place Samsung's next flagship in a new category for speed. SamMobile goes on further, and reports that Samsung and Verizon may be working together to finally introduce 5G to the masses starting with the S10.
As exciting as the potential of a 5G-capable S10 variant is, news has recently surfaced which casts doubt on whether it'll be released. The folks over at TechieRide have uncovered Russian documents which appear to certify Samsung's upcoming flagships. There's bad news, however, as it lists only three devices — SM-G970F, SM-G973F, and SM-G975F — for formal certification. Interestingly, SamMobile reported the same three models receiving certification in China back in October
Therefore, it's safe to assume that the missing S10 variant is likely to be the 5G-capable Beyond X, due to it's highly advanced features that just aren't quite ready for the mass market. After all, 5G has yet to be formally implemented in any significant capacity, so it doesn't make sense to release a 5G device when the service itself is still in its infancy stage.
Huawei's P20 Pro has turned the arms race for more advanced cameras up a notch with the introduction of a third rear camera sensor, and Samsung will likely follow suit when it rolls out its Galaxy flagships next year. According to The Investor, KB Securities analyst Kim Dong-won predicts that the Galaxy S10 will sport three rear-facing cameras.
If this rumor proves to be true, however, only the priciest S10 variant will employ the advanced triple-camera system. According to Korean site The Bell, the triple-camera setup will only be available to the Galaxy S10+, and will consist of a super wide-angle 16 MP camera, a 13 MP telephoto lens, and a primary 12 MP camera. The entry-level S10 and standard S10 will both be equipped with dual-cameras.
Interestingly, The Bell — along with the Wall Street Journal — goes on further and claims that the 5G-capable model of the S10 will sport a rear shooter made up of four camera modules to set it completely apart from the rest of the lineup. Unfortunately, this variant will only be available in limited quantities according to the site, largely due to lack of widespread 5G adoption at the outset.
Samsung's move makes sense as the industry is clearly trending in that direction. As a reference, we can take a look at the P20 Pro's rear camera setup, which is comprised of a 40 MP main and 8 MP supporting sensor, along with a 20 MP monochrome sensor for enhanced sharpness and contrast. Tap on the link below for a more detailed breakdown.
According to Korean news source The Bell, an Israeli startup is building 3D camera technology for the S10. Mantis Vision is reportedly working with a company called Namuga to develop the camera, which is expected to be utilized for both face recognition and augmented reality.
This would make sense — one of Apple's biggest advantages right now is in its TrueDepth 3D camera technology, which uses 30,000 IR beams to read and analyze your face. Its Animoji is objectively superior to the S9's AR Emoji, which critics seem to find stuttery and, on occasion, creepy.
- Don't Miss: How to Make an AR Emoji With the Galaxy S9
The Galaxy S10 may finally bring the much sought after screen-embedded fingerprint sensor to the mainstream. According to ETNews from Korea, Samsung has more or less confirmed the feature's presence in its 2019 flagships. The reports goes on to claim that Qualcomm may be tasked with supplying the sensors for use on the S10.
In addition, the leak also suggests that Samsung will utilize ultrasonic fingerprint sensors, which are able to accurately read fingerprints by transmitting ultrasonic pulses against the finger to map out all the nooks and crannies unique to each fingerprint. This method is significantly more accurate than optical sensors that rely on visual mapping which limit its ability to reproduce fingerprints in full 3D.
And while earlier rumors suggested that the feature will only be available on the higher-end S10 variants with curved displays, a recent report by SamMobile reveals that all three S10 models will come standard with in-display fingerprint sensors.
While this earlier leak suggested that the upper-tier S10 variants with curved OLED displays will utilize the more advanced (and expensive) ultrasonic sensors, with the flat-screened entry model S10 featuring the less accurate optical fingerprint sensor to keep production costs down, ETNews suggests otherwise. The Korean site claims that all three S10 models will in fact feature the more accurate ultrasonic sensors.
To add further meat to this rumor, Ice Universe has recently reported that Samsung just showed off a crop of new technologies in a private event — chief among them being Fingerprint on Display, or FoD, for short. Forbes follows up and speculates that the S10 will most likely have ultrasonic sensors.
With the high likelihood of both an advanced in-display ultrasonic fingerprint scanner and facial recognition technology arriving with the Galaxy S10, it only makes sense for Samsung to abandon the iris scanner first introduced on the Note 7, and this may very well be the case. According to Korean site The Bell, Samsung will stop implementing iris scanning technology on future flagships, starting with the S10.
The site reports that Samsung has conspicuously not made any attempts to order hardware modules related to iris scanning from any vendors it has relied on in the past. Interestingly, famed Samsung Leaker Ice Universe has recently backed up this claim, tweeting that the new fingerprint sensors "will replace" the iris scanner.
The notch has come to dominate smartphone design beginning with the iPhone X, and has since been copied by numerous phones like the OnePlus 6. Samsung may aim to buck this trend, however, as they're busy perfecting a tech that may do away with the need for a notch. As BGR reports, Samsung has unveiled a new OLED panel that uses "Sound on display" technology to turn the screen into a speaker.
Samsung may implement this novel feature into the upcoming Galaxy S10 to avoid the notched display entirely for a more streamlined, aesthetically pleasing design. To further support this claim. ETNews from Korea reports that Samsung and LG both plan to launch devices featuring displays that double as speakers in the first half of 2019 — lining up perfectly with S-series release dates.
A new report goes on to further solidify this claim. According to Ice Universe, Samsung recently showcased tech they call "Sound on Display" to do away with the unsightly notch that's come to plague the smartphone industry. Dubbed SoD for short, if it's included in the S10, the new flagship will completely do away with traditional speakers and use the display itself to transmit sound.
Tantalizingly, new leaks have emerged that cements Samsung's notch-less approach for its upcoming flagships, this time centering around how it handles the front camera. Among the latest and most notable of these rumors comes by way of Evan Blass, who tweeted an image which he claims to have sourced from a reputable case maker. As seen below, the image pretty much speaks for itself.
Thanks to a screen-embedded fingerprint sensor and ear speaker, along with small ports for the front camera sensors, Samsung may be the closest yet in achieving an almost all-screen design. Surprisingly, we don't need to look very far if we want to get a glimpse of how the S10 will look, as Samsung has recently unveiled a smartphone with similar characteristics.
The Samsung Galaxy A8s features the new Infinity-O display, which uses a small circular cutout for the front camera. Not only does this provide and excellent workaround to steer clear from having to implement a notch, it also paves the way for even thinner bezels, as seen below.
To further add teeth to this claim, Ice Universe has uncovered a benchmark for Samsung Browser 9.0, which was performed on a device listed as SM-405F. In the past, Samsung has used similarly coded labels to conceal upcoming Galaxy devices during their testing phase. As such, SM-405F could very well be the upcoming S10 being put through its paces.
If that weren't interesting enough, Ice Universe points us towards the device's "Screen size," which is 412 x 869 pixels, or an aspect ratio of 19:9. So, if the device in question is indeed the Galaxy S10, this means the upcoming flagships will utilize even more screen space as compared to the standard 18.5:9 aspect ratio currently found on the S9 and S9+, which equates to even thinner bezels than before.
Ice Universe has recently doused gasoline on this fiery rumor, and has confirmed that Samsung has been working on UPS — or Under Panel Sensors — within its display assemblies to completely do away with unsightly notches for a truly bezel-less design. To add another piece to the puzzle, AllAboutSamsung reports that the up coming flagships will have a screen-to-body ratio of 93.4%.
And Ice Universe's speculations regarding the S10's bezel-less design doesn't end there, as he's uncovered a major clue within Android Pie (Samsung Experience 10) itself. In it he's discovered a demo image for the new Night Theme feature showing a device with completely uniform borders along the display, which hints at a device that won't utilize any notches for a symmetrical, almost bezel-less screen.
The implications are truly enormous, as the S10 could be the first handset to feature "invisible" sensors that will "sense through" the superimposed display, and leave an ample amount of room for designers and engineers to bring a notch-less smartphone to fruition.
Samsung's Galaxy devices have always represented the cutting edge in screen technology, and their tenth anniversary flagship may set this bar at an all time high if a rumor proves to be true. According to famed leaker Ice Universe, the S10 will feature an OLED display with an astounding resolution of more than 600 pixels per inch (ppi) — 13% more dense than the S9's 529 ppi.
If a recent leak turns out to be true, Android will finally have an answer to the iPhone's venerable 3D Touch technology that replicated physical button interaction by way of haptic feedback. Unlike 3D Touch, however, Ice Universe will employ the novel HoD — short for Haptics on Display — technology which use the S10's display itself to transmit haptic feedback, doing away with the traditional haptic motor.
If recent leaks turn out to be true, the highest-tier S10 variant may utilize dual cameras for its front-facing shooter, similar to what's found on the Samsung Galaxy A8. According to The Bell, the 6.2" S10+ will feature a front-facing camera setup consisting of a primary camera sensor that's complimented by a secondary telephoto sensor to give it the ability to take selfies in unprecedented detail and clarity.
The dual-camera setup will also enable the S10+ to take portrait shots featuring a blurred background, giving selfies that highly sought-after "Bokeh" effect that's growing in popularity. Currently, there are no specifics regarding the front-facing cameras' resolution, but we can expect it to be more advanced than the dual 16 MP and 8 MP setup found on the Galaxy A8.
As is evident on the Galaxy A8s, Samsung has added some nifty features into the device's front camera to enhance user-friendliness. There's an animated ring that glows when changing camera modes, and the front camera can be quickly accessed from the lock screen simply by swiping down on the sensor itself.
According to GSMArena, the upcoming S10 flagships will likely utilize the same features for their front shooters, and may even come with extra functionality such as custom animations for facial recognition.
WinFuture's Roland Quandt claims Qualcomm is working on the Snapdragon 855, which he believes will be 7nm, 3nm smaller than the current 845 SoC. If that proves to be the case, it's safe to assume this SoC will come standard with the US Variant, as more powerful Exynos-based Galaxy flagships have traditionally been reserved for markets outside of the United States.
While we're on the topic, rumor has it Samsung is developing an AI-powered chip similar to the Huawei Mate 10 Pro's NPU (neural network processing unit). The hope here would be to see a more intelligent chipset that uses machine learning to allow the S10 to perform much faster and smarter than the S9.
If a new leak is to be believed, the S10 will mark a significant upgrade over the S9's RAM and flash storage capabilities. According to noted leaker Ice Universe, Samsung's upcoming flagship will come equipped with beefed up LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.0 storage, giving it a boost in performance to further compete with whatever Apple has to offer.
To put it into perspective, the Galaxy S9's LPDDR4 and UFS 2.1 flash storage and are among the fastest memory chips currently out, giving the iPhone X a run for its money in terms of speed tests. The S10's upgraded memory will make it a whole lot snappier, thanks to more powerful memory modules that effectively double its bandwidth.
Along with the increase in speed, the flagship's upgraded memory is set to consume less power and run more efficiently even at higher temperatures, which will result in noticeable improvements in terms of streaming media and gaming experience, to name a few.
Without a doubt, the Galaxy S10 is set to make its mark on the mobile industry when it finally touches down in 2019. But before it does, we're left to speculate about it using what little information we have. Fortunately, more details will inevitably bubble to the surface as its arrival draws near, so check back regularly.
As incredible as it sounds, there is a chance that Samsung may break new ground with the release of the Galaxy S10 by offering a variant that'll significantly raise the bar in terms of RAM and internal storage. And if this rumor comes to pass, it'll undoubtedly leave major OEMs like Google and Apple scrambling to catch up in the never ending race to ever higher RAM and internal storage capacity.
GizChina reports that, according to Chinese market analysis and research firm GF Securities, one of the Galaxy S10 variants will come with a whopping 12GB of RAM and 1TB of internal storage, though it doesn't get into specifics as to which model will have this impressive configuration. Based on current trends, however, if this rumor turns out to be true, either the S10+ or the 5G-capable S10 will off this option due to their top-tier status.
If SamMobile's hunch turns out to be true, the S10 will be the first Galaxy flagship to utilize ceramic rear panels, or at least one of its variants will be. The site reports that the 5G-capable model of the S10 will come equipped with this highly durable material and be finished in either black or white.
Of course, employing a ceramic rear panel on a premium handset is nothing new, as evidenced by flagships like the Essential PH-1. If a world-famous brand like Samsung formally adopts the feature, however, this design element will make its way to mainstream and become a more viable alternative to glass-based rear panels.
Starting with Apple, companies like HTC have left out the traditional headphone jack from their flagships, much to the chagrin of audiophiles. Only LG and Samsung have so far resisted the trend, but if a new rumor turns out to be true, it seems that the latter may also finally cave in. According to SamMobile, Samsung has produced a prototype for the upcoming S10 with no headphone jack.
While the existence of a jack-less prototype indicates the company is thoroughly looking into this matter to see what the best course of action is, we shouldn't immediately jump to conclusions, as there is no firm evidence that Samsung will in fact ditch the feature. What's clear, however, is that the option is on the table, so we'll be sure to update you with any news regarding this topic if anything more concrete emerges.
If a new leak comes into fruition, the largest Galaxy S10 variant will push the boundaries of battery capacity which will surely have the competition playing catch-up. According to AllAboutSamsung, Samsung's upcoming plus-size flagship will come standard with an impressive 4,000 mAh battery, beating out the iPhone XS Max's 3174 mAh battery by a fair margin.
Of course, Samsung is by no means the first to employ such a large battery for its flagship phones, as other handsets like the Huawei Mate 20 which features an incredible 4,200 mAh battery are coming out well in advance of the S10. Unfortunately, AllAboutSamsung makes no mention of battery size with regards to the other two, smaller S10 variants due out, so we'll have to wait as more information surfaces.
As Samsung's flagship, you can expect the upcoming S10 line to put a sizable dent in your wallet. While we don't have anything concrete with regards to pricing, we now have a ballpark estimate thanks to recent leaks. As to be expected, prices for the flagship will vary between variants, with the entry level S10 being the cheapest and the S10+ being the most expensive.
Gizmodo reports that the pricing for the Galaxy S10 will start out at around £670 ($840) for the S10 Lite, £800 ($1,007) and £1,000 ($1,260) for the 128 and 512 GB variant, respectively, for the mid-level S10. The S10+ will be the priciest model of all, and will cost you about £900 ($1,133) for the 128 GB model, £1,100 ($1,385) for 512 GB, and a whopping £1,400 ($1,762) for the 1 TB variant of the S10+. The dollar numbers we listed here are direct conversions and don't account for higher European import tariffs, so they may be a good 10% lower in the US.