SEOUL, March 30 (Korea Bizwire) – Samsung Electronics Co. showcased its new Galaxy S8 series Thursday with a new, sleek design and cutting-edge features not seen in its predecessors such as the Bixby voice assistant.
The company’s new flagship, powered by Google Android 7.0 Nougat, will be released in two versions that make use of the premium glass and metal form factor with one sporting a 5.8-inch screen and the other a bigger 6.2-inch panel.
Both boast double-edged Super AMOLED screens that give the illusion of having no bezels. This is a departure from the Galaxy S7 smartphones that came in flat screen or curved edge versions.
Samsung sought to make the Galaxy S8 series “bezel-less,” allowing the “Infinity Display” to take up 80 percent of the front of the device, providing users with a very immersive experience.
“The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus usher in a new era of smartphone design and fantastic new services, opening up new ways to experience the world,” said Koh Dong-jin, president of Samsung’s mobile communications business.
Compared to the Galaxy S7, the Galaxy S8 series is slightly taller yet actually slimmer.
Samsung also made the screen much bigger by removing the home button from the front that in the past acted as a fingerprint scanner. Instead, the fingerprint sensor has been relocated to the back.
The home button will still exist in the front, but it will be invisible, being activated by sensing a user’s finger pressure.
Industry watchers said the update came as a rising number of users enjoy gaming and video content on their smartphones.
Apparently for safety reasons, Samsung refrained from expanding battery capacity, with the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus shipping with non-removable 3,000 mAh and 3,500 mAh batteries, respectively. Samsung had to halt production and recall the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7 phablet due to some units catching fire while being recharged. The company admitted that faulty batteries were behind the problem. The Note 7 had a 3,500 mAh battery.
In regards to the camera, which is a key selling point for many manufacturers, the S8 is not different from its immediate predecessor by boasting 12-megapixel and 8-megapixel lenses on the back and front. Samsung, however, said that the image quality of the picture the camera can take has been improved, with the main camera sensor having a very fast f1.7 aperture.
The tech giant said its cameras guarantee brighter and clearer photos by improving the image-processing algorithm.
Samsung also placed an iris scanner on the new flagship, a unique and popular feature on the Galaxy Note 7, and even opted for a face recognition system for an added measure of security and convenience.
Through the iris scanner, users can log on to websites or make financial transactions.
Among the cutting-edge features incorporated into the new flagship, the artificial intelligence (AI) system called Bixby is a new addition that could give the phones a similar or better user experience compared with rivals like Apple Inc.’s Siri voice recognition system.
Last week, Samsung said it plans to use its Bixby AI in all of its future high-end products, including TVs and other home appliances.
The company said Bixby is a new intelligent interface which will be “fundamentally different from other voice agents and assistants on the market.” The company said its AI system will be ahead of rivals in terms of “completeness,” “context awareness” and “cognitive tolerance.”
As for the application processor, the Galaxy S8 series will boast Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 for units sold in the United States. The models that will be sold in South Korea and some other global markets will come with Samsung’s own Exynos 8895 chipset that has similar performance.
Industry sources, however, said Samsung could face hurdles in securing sufficient chips for its latest Galaxy smartphones, as the production of the Snapdragon 835 and Exynos 8895 are falling behind market expectations.
Samsung plans to kick off official sales in South Korea and the United States, as well as other major countries, on April 21.
The devices will come in black, gray, silver, blue, and gold color variants.
The Galaxy S8 comes with a regular earphone jack made by AKG, a premium brand of Harman International Industries Inc. Samsung completed acquisition of the U.S. firm earlier this month.
The earphone jack is expected to permit the S8 to dodge the flak directed against Apple for opting for wireless earbuds in its latest smartphones.