We're some months away from the official announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S9, but already a picture of what to expect from Samsung's next premium handset is emerging.
When does the Samsung Galaxy S9 come out? Could be shown off as early as CES 2018 but unlikely to go on sale before the March-April timeframe
What’s new about the Samsung Galaxy S9 Upgraded processor expected, dual camera with super slow motion, possible modular accessories
How much will the Samsung Galaxy S9 cost? No precise pricing yet, but expect to pay above $1000 for the S9 and likely above $1,200 for the S9+
Updated 23/11/17 with CES rumours and specifications update.
What is the Samsung Galaxy S9?
Every year, Samsung typically has two major phone releases within its Galaxy branding. The stars of Samsung's Galaxy range are its S and Note phones, with the S series typically announced at or around the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, while the Note makes its way to market later in the year.
In 2017, the announcement of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ was delayed somewhat, with Samsung instead opting to use Mobile World Congress to launch the Samsung Galaxy Book and Galaxy Tab S3 ranges after the battery issues with the Galaxy Note 7.
There's no roadblock to the announcement of the S8's successor, and even at this early stage there's a range of rumoured features to make the Galaxy S9 stand out from its competitors. Samsung owns a huge share of the profit-making side of the Android smartphone business, so having a hit with the Galaxy S9 is vital for the South Korean electronics giant.
It is expected that the Galaxy S9 will continue the tradition of offering a smaller (although this is quite relative) 5.8 inch display on the regular model, while it will also offer a Galaxy S9+ with a 6.2 inch display. As it has done for some years now, Samsung will use its own Super AMOLED displays, and if the Galaxy Note 8 is any indication, expect a curved display to be a prominent design note. However, it's also been tipped to use a new AMOLED technology, dubbed "Sunflower" that is said to offer higher display fidelity.
There has been considerable rumour-mongering around the fingerprint sensor to be included on the Galaxy S9, with some sources indicating that Samsung will stick to having it rear mounted, although hopefully it might shift it a little further away from the camera lens. Samsung is said to be experimenting with fingerprint recognition under the front display, doing away with a button of any type, but it's not clear if the technology will be mature enough to include in the Galaxy S9.
Samsung also has a patent on screen displays that displays a smartphone with a notched display, similar to that found on the Apple iPhone X. That could point to additional cameras for sensing on the Galaxy S9, but equally could just be research intended for future smartphone designs, or even just for legal protections against patent claims levied against Samsung itself.
Underneath the display will sit either the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 or Samsung's expected Exynos 9810 processor, both of which are expected to offer both performance and battery life boosts over today's current CPU choices. It's not clear, however, if Samsung will actually adopt the dual processor strategy, or go it alone if it can get CDMA support baked into its own Exynos solutions. Samsung worked closely with Qualcomm on the Snapdragon 835, and scored itself a timed exclusive on it as a result, so it has a number of choices as to how it will proceed with the Galaxy S9.
One thing we do know is that the Galaxy S9 should be capable of very fast network speeds. Samsung has already announced its own Cat 18 LTE modem, capable of download speeds of up to an impressive 1.2Gbps, and while that will rely on carrier network support, it's expected to make its debut on the Galaxy S9.
One of the more intriguing rumours (if it pans out) is that Samsung is investigating its own modular phone add-on designs, similar to the "Moto Mods" that Motorola offers with its phones, or even the approach LG attempted with the less successful LG G5 handset.
Will the Samsung Galaxy S9 have a good camera?
Premium phones have to stand on the strength of their cameras, and the recently launched Galaxy Note 8 gives us the clearest picture of what to expect from the Galaxy S9. Dual cameras are all but assured for the new smartphones, simply so that Samsung can keep up with the vast majority of its competitors.
One key suggestion here is that Samsung will adopt technology similar to the super slow motion feature found in the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, with up to 1,000fps slow motion. The Xperia XZ Premium can only manage a few seconds at that rate, and Samsung may seek to extend that rate to make its premium smartphone range for 2018 really stand out.
Will the Galaxy S9 be water resistant?
Samsung has made a point of having all of its premium smartphones (and even the mid-range Galaxy A series) offer a stated level of water resistance, and there's no reason to think this won't continue with the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+
When will the Galaxy S9 be available in Australia?
While early rumours suggested that Samsung might debut the Galaxy S9 at or around Mobile World Congress 2018, fresh rumours have suggested it could be shown off earlier, maybe even at CES 2018 two months before MWC.
The current rumours suggest that Samsung isn't going to sit around and wait with the Galaxy S9, which would indicate an MWC 2018 launch is likely, or maybe even beforehand. That would then lead to a likely in-market offering in either March or April 2018.
How much will the Galaxy S9 cost?
The Galaxy S series is Samsung's premium phone line, and as such it's always attracted high outright prices. There's no specific word on precise pricing for the Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9+ as yet, and that's to be expected. Nobody announces pricing for a phone that hasn't been formally announced, after all!
At an indicative level, however, we can look at Samsung's current pricing for the Galaxy S8 family:
|Samsung Galaxy S8 Pricing||Price|
|Samsung Galaxy S8 64GB||$1,199|
|Samsung Galaxy S8+ 64GB||$1,349|
We'd expect that this is the kind of pricing you may be looking at for an outright purchase of the Galaxy S9. Samsung Australia has typically been pretty generous with pre-order goodies for its smartphones, so a bonus charger, VR headset or similar for pre-orders is quite likely.
Samsung's Galaxy phones are also very popular in the local market, so we'd expect them to be provided on contract by all the major carriers when they launch.
Can't wait for the Galaxy S9? Check out the latest plans for the Galaxy Note 8 now!
Samsung Galaxy S9 Specifications
- Product Name
- Samsung Galaxy S9
- Display Size
- 5.8 inches
- Snapdragon 845 or Exynos equivalent
- 4GB (6GB Galaxy S9+)
- Operating System
- Android 8.0
- Front camera
- TBC, possibly dual with OIS for S9+
- Rear camera
- TBC, possibly dual with super slow motion
- TBC, expect 3,000mAh or better
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