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Samsung Galaxy S8 release date, specs and rumours: 6 things we want to see

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The Samsung Galaxy S7 is a fast, sleek and capable phone. It’s so good, in fact, that our reviews editor Jonathan Bray has held it aloft and proclaimed it to be the best smartphone on the market. But the S7 is out in the wild, and Samsung will now be moving focus to its next iteration ­– the Samsung Galaxy S8.

What can we expect from the S8 when it launches? Little is currently known about what Samsung has in store, but here’ are a few educated guesses about the next Galaxy flagship. We’ll also be reporting on rumours and news about the Galaxy S8 as they surface.

Samsung Galaxy S8: A March/April 2017 release date

Not so much a wish, but rather a prediction that Samsung will stick to the release schedule of previous years and launch its Galaxy flagship in the spring. Following the pattern set out by the Galaxy S5, S6 and S7, a general release around March/April would be consistent for the Galaxy S8.

  • Galaxy S8: March/April 2017
  • Galaxy S7: 11 March 2016
  • Galaxy S6: 20 April 2015
  • Galaxy S5: 11 April 2014
  • Galaxy S4: 27 April 2013
  • Galaxy S3: 29 May 2012
  • Galaxy S2: 2 May 2011
  • Galaxy S: 4 June 2010

Samsung Galaxy S8: VR-ready 4K screen

Samsung went big on virtual reality with the launch of the Galaxy S7, which it pitched as an ideal match for the company’s Gear VR headset. The QHD screen on the S7 certainly works well when used for VR, but Samsung will want to push the resolution for its next iteration to compete in an increasingly VR-savvy market.

A 4K screen is therefore on the cards. At a recent Display Week conference in San Francisco, Upload VR noticed a showcase by Samsung that featured a 5.5in display boasting a 4K (2160 x 3840) resolution and a whopping 806ppi pixel density. There’s no guarantee that the screen will be making its way to the S8, but it’s certainly a strong possibility given Samsung’s current interest in making its flagships VR-ready.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge lead

Samsung Galaxy S8: Snapdragon 830 processor and 6GB RAM

The Galaxy S7 had a different chipset depending on region – some got the Snapdragon 820 and some got Samsung’s own Exynos 8890 processor. The Korean company may take a similar approach with the Galaxy S8, but as far as Snapdragon is concerned, we’d like to see the phone get the rumoured Snapdragon 830.

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If Samsung does end up opting for a 4K screen, then a powerful processor is a necessity. More generally, seeing as the Galaxy S8 will be Samsung’s next big flagship, it makes sense for that device to have a serious step up in processing power.

In terms of memory, we’d put money on Samsung opting for 6GB of RAM. This amount is rumoured to feature in the upcoming Galaxy Note 6, and is already in place on handsets such as LeEco’s Le Max 2.

Samsung Galaxy S8: A similar design to the S6 and S7

Samsung hit its stride with the design of the Galaxy S6, replacing the plastic casing of its predecessor with a combination of metal and glass. It refined this design with the Galaxy S7, and we’d expect Samsung to continue this trend with the Galaxy S8.

There’s always the chance Samsung will shake things up and introduce a completely new design – perhaps with the bendable screen it has been prototyping – but it’s unlikely that something so experimental and commercially untested will make it to the flagship Galaxy S line. Expect a similar aesthetic, with enough subtle differences to distinguish it from the Galaxy S7.

Samsung Galaxy S7 review: Top edge

Samsung Galaxy S8: USB Type-C

USB Type-C is quickly becoming the new standard when it comes to phone ports, and it was a bit of a surprise not to see it on the Galaxy S7. The reversible connection means you can stick your charger in either way up, which is handy, and the USB Type-C would also open the possibility for faster charging – although this would be largely dictated by the chipset on the phone.  

Samsung Galaxy S8: A lower price tag

Samsung’s Galaxy S line is about as premium as it gets in the smartphone world, so don’t expect the Galaxy S8 to come for free in a box of cereal. Still, at around £569.00, the Galaxy S7 is a very expensive device in a world where handsets like OnePlus 2 and Nexus 6P offer a lot in the way of features for a fraction of the price. Slicing off a few pounds to bring the Galaxy S8 to the £500 mark would make it a more palatable to those already eyeing up cheaper alternatives.

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