Samsung launches Galaxy S8 and dreams of recovery from Note 7

As expected, Samsung unveiled the two versions of its flagship phone, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, at its Unpacked event in NY today. Earlier rumors suggested that the Galaxy S8 Plus may get a dual lens array ala the iPhone 7 Plus but it turns out, it will have the same camera kit as the smaller S8.

The most striking feature of the new phones is what Samsung dubs an "infinity display" - an expanded glass screen that covers the entire front of the device and appears to curve seamlessly around its edges. The Galaxy Note 7's iris scanner allows you to open the phone with your eyes and the new phones will offer this tech as well.

The larger S8 phones are radically redesigned from last year's 5.1-inch S7 phone and the 5.5-inch S7 edge. The Always On Display, lock screen, home screen, and app drawer all blend into each other in a sort of gradient, and the default wallpapers each compliment one of the five color options for this year's Galaxy flagship devices.

A fingerprint sensor is placed on the back of the phone instead.

If you don't want to go through a carrier, you can get the Samsung Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8 Plus straight from Best Buy. Samsung will be watched closely when it comes to that battery. In terms of specifications, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is featuring a 5.8-inch QHD+ (1440x2960 pixels) Super AMOLED display while the Galaxy S8+ will sport a 6.2-inch QHD+ (1440x2960 pixels) Super AMOLED display.

Samsung executives stressed they had learned lessons from the fiasco in which Note 7 batteries exploded, and had implemented rigorous battery-testing processes. The company admitted that faulty batteries were behind the problem.

As for the optics, both the smartphones come with 8MP AF camera at the front with F1.7 Aperture and wide angle lens.


Lastly, Samsung also announced a docking station which can connect the S8 to a monitor which transforms the mobile user interface into a more PC-like one, allowing users to use their smartphones nearly like a mini-computer.

Samsung's answer to Apple's Siri and Google Assistant, Bixby, was also flaunted; it promises a more seamless and more intelligent interaction with the user, combining voice and touch, and can also organise apps and be set to churn out reminders. According to Samsung, Bixby also shows contextual info.

The phones also have improved displays and they will include the company's Bixby personal assistant for the first time. The company, which has been shifting to unlimited data plans, says the faster speeds won't require any additional charge. "You can barely tell where the screen ends and where the frame begins", said Samsung's SVP of product strategy Justin Denison.

The larger 6.2-inch S8+ will come with an OLED display with 529 ppi support. Preorders start on Thursday and the phone will begin shipping April 21. In the United States, for example, they will only be offered in midnight black, orchid gray and arctic silver.

Other features include Samsung Pay, and high-performance earphones tuned by AKG by Harman comes with the device in the box. Interestingly, a promotional video published by Samsung on Twitter Wednesday mentioned that English-language recognition would be available later this year. The price of the earphone is estimated at US$99.

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.

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