Samsung has the largest marketshare of all the cell phone manufacturers. Even so, while others are not expected to announce new flagship phones at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung is expected to show off both the new Galaxy S9 and S9+.
These expectations are based on the fact that Samsung has announced a new flagship phone at every MWC with the exception of last year. Last year, as everyone knows, saw some major adjustments to Samsung’s release schedule as it dealt with the fallout from the Note 7 recall for exploding batteries.
This year should see the mobile phone giant regain its stride with the launch of the S9 models. So what can we expect to see in a couple of weeks when Samsung takes the stage?
The focus of their pre-launch buzz has been the camera. Samsung’s invitations for the S9 announcement contains the line “The camera reimagined.” With all of the attention on cameras in recent phone models, what can be left for the company to “reimagine?”
According to the Trusted Reviews (trustedreviews.com) website, leaked images of the new phones don’t indicate any new sensors like Apple’s iPhone X which added depth sensors to help with augmented reality and biometric sensors for facial recognition. But Samsung has released information about the new chipset they are using which specifically stated that it could handle depth sensing and facial recognition, so things are a little muddy in that area.
Some rumors state that Samsung has engineered a method to combine multiple existing biometric sensors to achieve their own version of Apple’s FaceID.
Since Samsung and Apple tend to follow each other’s leads with advancements in phone design, it is worth noting that Apple used the iPhone X’s new sensors to make changes to the UI and allow more gesture-based interaction. It will be interesting to see if Samsung follows suit and makes changes to their own UI.
One place that Samsung is rumored to be following Apple’s lead is in the animated avatar front. The iPhone X allows for this and rumor sources are indicating that Samsung is following suit.
Leaked images show that the new Galaxy phones without the notch in the screen that Apple needed to fit all of its sensors for the FaceID technology. It’s possible that, even though Samsung is touting the capabilities of its chipset, the actual sensors won’t be available in time for the S9 models.
The company has added a new color for the new phones. Users will have the option of a purple/violet shade.
One of the main complaints about the S8 was that its fingerprint sensor was in an awkward location making it difficult to unlock your phone with your finger. The new phones appear to have moved the sensor below the camera so it will be easier to reach.
Eldar Murtazin, the respected mobile leak tipster, has said that Samsung may be looking to use a magnetic modular design on the S9 phones. This would allow users to add camera lenses, battery packs or other sensors just by magnetically attaching them to the phone.
While the S9 is expected to ship with a single camera, the S9+ is expected to have dual cameras. Evan Blass is predicting a vertically oriented pair of cameras, similar to the iPhone X. The S9’s camera is said to be capable of 1,000 frames per second. There’s no word on whether the S9+ will have that same capability.
Samsung is said to have purchased Qualcomm’s entire initial run of Snapdragon 845 processors for the S9 phones in the US. The Asian, European and Middle Eastern versions of the phones will be loaded with Samsung’s own Exynos 9810 chipset. The Samsung chipset has the first Cat. 18 LTE modem which transmits at speeds up to 1.2Gbps. It also has a dedicated imaging processing unit which can shoot 4K Ultra HD video at 120fps. The chipset also has deep learning-based artificial intelligence software.
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The S9 is expected to sell for over $1000 and the S9+ is expected to cost more than $1200. But those are rumored prices that TechTastic is reporting. They’re known to get the pricing correct, but they don’t have a perfect track record.
In the end, we’ll all have to wait two weeks to find out about the new phones straight from the source.