It might be hard to look forward to any of Samsung’s upcoming smartphones thanks to the Unfortunate Adventures of the Galaxy Note 7™. However, as a Samsung Galaxy S7 owner who has slowly but surely grown fond of this device over the past 5 months or so, I find that I’m still hoping for the best from Samsung when it comes to next year’s Galaxy S8. With new smartphone releases slowing down as the year comes to an end, it isn’t surprising to see that rumors of next year’s flagships are beginning to ramping up. Since Samsung’s Galaxy S line is typically among the first to be showcased each year, Galaxy S8 leaks and rumors have been popping up more frequently as of late.
One of the biggest rumors to surface about the S8 is its alleged 90% screen-to-body ratio, leaving the device to feature a nearly bezel-less display. Samsung has been dabbling with “edged” displays that give off a bezel-less appearance on the sides of the device for the past couple of years, but this rumor suggests that Samsung is ready to take that design to the next level. This seems like a good move considering the positive reaction to Xiaomi’s recently announced Mi Mix device, which touts a bezel-less display on three sides of the device.
Another rumor surrounding the Galaxy S8 suggests that Samsung is also delving deeper into development on a new voice assistant app, allegedly named “Bixby”, which is said to replace S Voice. This rumor is connected to Samsung’s recent acquisition of Viv Labs, a start-up created by the same team that created Siri. With Google Assistant taking center stage recently, the addition of “Bixby” doesn’t seem so far-fetched considering Samsung’s track record of coming up with its own version of competitive services. Also taking into consideration that S Voice has become a last resort choice as Google Now/Assistant, Siri, and Cortana (among others) continue to surpass S Voice’s lackluster abilities, a fresh set of features and a rebranding sound like a smart move. Not only would Samsung be advancing their own assistant, but adding competition to this now highly competitive feature in smartphones is a good thing for progression of voice assistants in general.
Those are the two major rumors thus far, but both sound appealing in my opinion. However, the S8 is guaranteed to be held to higher expectations because of the Note 7. The S7 and S7 Edge got a pass because they were proven not to have those same issues and came out months before the Note 7. The S8 will not have that luxury. Given that Samsung has recently talked about how 2017 will be a major “brand and confidence rebuilding” year, in which they can ensure that another Note 7 situation doesn’t happen again, I would not be surprised if the S8 arrived on the market a little later than normal. In fact, I hope that’s the case. As we can see from the failed “safe” Note 7 batches, rushed solutions don’t always work. That isn’t to say that the Galaxy S8 will have the same issues, but I think people are going to be more skeptical if the S8 comes out too soon, while the Note 7 incident is still relatively fresh.
Despite all the problems that Samsung has experienced recently, I am still excited to see what the S8 brings. The S6 and S6 Edge were great devices, but the S7 really refined on the S6’s shortcomings to become a truly exceptional upgrade; I would love for the S8 continue to take the Galaxy S line in a forward, positive direction. I think the rumored 90% screen-to-body ratio and a revamped voice assistant sound great, and I think we could reasonably expect to see an Iris scanner and Grace UX, two of the defining features (aside from the obvious S Note) from the Note 7, as well. Of course, it's important to remember that these are just rumors (and relatively early ones at that), and should be taken with a grain of salt.
Readers, what are your thoughts on the S8 rumors so far? Are the rumors sparking your interest, or has the Note 7 crisis left you feeling skeptical of Samsung entirely? Let us know your thoughts!