Samsung today gathered the New York City area media at Lincoln Center today to officially launch the company’s latest flagship Android phones, the Galaxy S8 and S8+.
The devices herald a “new era of smartphone design,” said DJ Koh, president of Samsung’s Mobile Communications Business, during his keynote address here in Manhattan today. Uttering his take on Samsung’s newest tag line, “smartphone unboxed,” he unveiled the practically bezel-less phones with the now-familiar curved touchscreens that slope over the sides.
Now, the viewable screen area stretches nearly to the top and bottom of the devices, where two thin strips reside. The top portion contains an 8-megapixel front-facing camera and speaker.
The home button has been incorporated into the screen. This required Samsung to move the fingerprint reader to the back of the phones near the camera, which is now a 12-megapixel shooter with dual-pixel sensor.
Samsung refers to the new design as an “Infinity Display,” said Justin Denison, senior vice president of Product Strategy and Marketing at Samsung. “Where there were barriers, we removed them, giving you a higher screen-to-body ratio than ever before.”
When it arrives on shelves on April 21, the 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 and 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+ will feature OLED screens with a resolution of 2,960 pixels by 1,440 pixels. The screen is certified Mobile HDR Premium by the UHD Alliance, enabling owners to view HDR video content from streaming services like Amazon Prime.
Inside, processing power is provided by a 64-bit octa-core chip manufactured with a new 10nm manufacturing processes. Both models include 4GB of memory and 64GB of onboard storage, which can be expanded with a 256GB MicroSD card.
Somewhat following Apple’s lead, Samsung also introduced a new virtual assistant called Bixby. Billing the technology as an “intelligent interface,” Bixby can recommend other points of interest when users take a snapshot of a local landmark or show users where they can purchase an item they capture with their cameras.
Galaxy S8 also borrows a page from the HP Elite x3’s playbook. The Elite x3 is a Windows smartphone that doubles as a desktop PC when connected to a dock. Samsung today unveiled its new DeX dock, which will enable users to use an Android desktop interface, complete with keyboard and mouse support.
Naturally, Samsung is eager to move past last year’s disastrous Galaxy Note 7 release. Without expressly mentioning the troubled handset, Denison assured attendees that the Galaxy S8 and S8+ are being built with the “toughest safety process ever.”
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.