If the S9 was good wait until the Galaxy S10

Galaxy S10
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Samsung’s Galaxy S9 series is undoubtedly the fullest featured Android flagship smartphone you can buy today. The Galaxy S10 goes ‘Beyond’.

In fact, its code name is Beyond. That is an indication that Samsung intends to go beyond current smartphone thinking. The S9 had the codename Star. The S8 was Dream.

Korean news the Bell revealed some of the Galaxy S10 secrets – only the report is in Korean.

Here is GadgetGuy’s take on the Galaxy S10 with a lot of our speculation added

It is damned hard to do anything new to the traditional glass slab format. Samsung Galaxy epitomises

  • Beautiful 4K OLED 18.5:9 screens for bigger, slimmer handsets
  • Qi wireless and fast charging well before anyone other than the old Nokia did
  • IP67 and later IP68 water resistance and some MIL-STD features
  • More memory and storage than its competitors
  • The fastest processor (Qualcomm or Exynos) and the latest technology in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and more
  • 3.5mm audio jack and microSD card slot
  • Cameras that are better than most
  • Build quality second to none
  • Its Grace UI is a very light touch over the latest Android version
  • Its Galaxy apps are improvements over Google apps and allow you to avoid the Google ecosystem (important in China)
  • Its Note series is still the only stylus embedded phones

Yes, I am effusive in praise. No matter which handset I test I enjoy coming back to Samsung Galaxy. That is not to take away from Sony, LG, Huawei and emerging flagship contenders. I have enjoyed over the years the G6, V20, Mate 9 and Xperia.

But there is no doubt that the S9 was merely an evolution over the S8. Its called a tick-tock cycle only this time it has been a tick, tick. The S10 should celebrate ten years of Galaxy S smartphones and be a tock!

Koh Dong-jin, President of Samsung Mobile, said: “Although Samsung will stick to Galaxy, we have been thinking about whether we need to maintain the S moniker or the numbering system.”

You can be damned sure it won’t be called the Samsung X?

So, quo vadis – where to now with the Galaxy S10?

  • Release at Mobile World Congress on 24 February 2019.
  • A fingerprint under glass sensor. That would allow the rear fingerprint sensor to go back to where it should be. It was nearly part of the S9. The fundamental difference might be an ultrasonic sensor over an optical one.
  • 2D Facial recognition was good on the S9, but it needs to go to 3D (like Windows Hello and Intel RealSense cameras). That may encompass 3D avatars as well.
  • It won’t have a foldable screen like the ZTE Axon M. This is cutting edge, but there are too many issues (thickness, weight, battery drain, etc.) to put it into a flagship S10. Maybe the Note 9 perhaps.
  • Samsung will be up to the 9th generation OLED technology – expect 5 or 6K resolution and 1 billion colours. But it is expected to reach a massive 93% screen-to-body-ratio (83.6% on S9). That is almost no top and bottom bezel. The S10 is slated to be 5.8” and the S10+ 6.3”. It may use the new POLED (plastic OLED) that will reduce weight and thickness a tad.
  • It will be 5G, and damned fast were Telcos offer that service. We are talking at least Gigabit on a bad day
  • Samsung makes the chip, memory and VNAND. The Qualcomm 855 is for use in China and the USA. This jumps one step past the current Snapdragon 845. The Exynos version is for the rest of the world. Speed it blisteringly fast, but that is for voice recognition, still image processing, high res sound, video encode/decode. It will have AI and on-chip neural processing.
  • It will use the new low voltage 2.5V, UFS 3.0 at 23.2Gb/s storage rivalling SATA 600 SSD speeds. Why do you need that? Because it can be a DEX – desktop replacement.
  • Entry level storage to be 128GB
  • It will use LPDDR5 – low power, extremely fast RAM – no lag here. While it could have 8GB (as that is equal to one chip), it may go overboard and offer even more
  • The S9+ camera introduced a variable shutter aperture. Expect to see improvements on this. Will Samsung put three cameras on the S10+ as Huawei has done on the P20 Pro? Only if it ensures Samsung will regain the lead in the DXOMark stakes. My bet is no.
  • The stereo speakers get a boost too – Dolby Atmos in the S9 but who knows in the S10. The goal is to play hi-res music.
  • A new battery, still Lithium based but possibly L-shaped to make it more repairable
  • Bixby will become the voice assistant to do things with the phone (e.g. access system commands) and will otherwise use Google Assistant.
  • Android 9.x – of course, and an even lighter Samsung Grace UI. Samsung has been working on making it easier for multiple users to access the device so expect to see more work on profiles.

But what will be different, exciting and drive Galaxy S10 sales?

Now anyone who has even a modicum of knowledge of smartphone tech could have written this wish list above. It is an evolution, not a revolution.

In laymen’s terms what we used to call the ‘iPhone Killer’? But that term is so passe now. The world is firmly divided into Android (about 90%) and iOS (about 10%) and there is not much of a switch over.

Well, the iPhone remains stuck in a tick, tick, tick, bloody tick cycle. If the iPhone X was its tock, then the watch is broken. You can read GadgteGuy’s take on that here.

The answer is you can’t do much with a glass slab so that the S10 will look similar to the S9/S8. And with these models continuing to sell for a few hundred dollars less the smart money will be on them to have the bulk of sales.

It may have some bright new colours. Or some neat add-on accessories. It may just have so over-the-top specifications that everyone else seems to be lagging behind.

There have been no rumours about new form factors so don’t expect to see a foldable smartphone. I don’t think Samsung would risk breaking the Galaxy formula.

A strong rumour is a Philippe Starck style ‘back to the future’ Design, but Xiamoi may have beaten them to it with the sexy Mix 1 and 2.