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.
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.
Specifics about the triple camera setup are starting to emerge. A recent leak by way of Korean news site The Bell suggests the triple cameras will consist of 12 MP telephoto and 12 MP wide-angle lenses, topped off with a 16 MP ultra-wide-angle lens. The site goes on to report that both curved S10 variants will feature this setup, while the entry-level "Beyond 0" will only have dual cameras.
Samsung's move makes sense as the industry is clearly trending in that direction. As a reference, we can take a look an 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.
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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.
According to the leak, the upper-tier S10 variants with curved OLED displays will utilize the more advanced (and expensive) ultrasonic sensors, while the flat-screened entry model S10 will feature the less accurate optical fingerprint sensor to keep production costs down.
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.
With the ear speaker now embedded on the display itself, Samsung will be free to create even smaller bezels on the S10, and will only have to get around strategically placing the front camera and various sensors somewhere less intrusive.
Thanks to a screen-embedded fingerprint sensor and ear speaker, Samsung may be among the first to finally achieve the holy grail of an all-screen design with the introduction of the S10. To give us a tantalizing glimpse of what the flagship may look like, Ice Universe has tweeted out a conceptualized teaser of the smartphone currently dubbed "Beyond."
To further add teeth to this rumor, Ice Universe has uncovered a recent 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.
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 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.
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.
According to insider Ice Universe, Samsung is planning on building the S10 with 5G connectivity, in anticipation of the newest cellular technology. This would place Samsung's next flagship in a new category for speed.
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.