We're used to seeing plenty of Galaxy S rumors this time of year, but there's always one report that stands out, and it comes from a source who has often provided extensive previews of unreleased Samsung devices. Well guess what, Android fans: Christmas came early this year.
Eldar Murtazin, a Russian blogger and Samsung insider who regularly scores early access to the newest phones, just gave us an extensive Galaxy S8 preview over at Mobile-Review. According to him, the Galaxy S8 was already shown to key carrier partners in December, in preparation for the launch.
Just as recent leaks have suggested, the Galaxy S8 will come in two versions, and the second model will feature a larger screen than anything seen on a Galaxy S smartphone before. The phones won't be bigger than last year's Galaxy S7 versions, but the screen-to-front ratio will be increased.
The Galaxy S8 might also sport a fingerprint sensor under the display, although Murtazin can't yet say for sure. Apparently, Samsung also looked at placing the fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone. Of note, recent Galaxy S8 case renders showed a phone that did not include a fingerprint scanner on the back.
Murtazin also said that the design of the Galaxy S8 impressed carrier partners who attended private meetings with Samsung. The phone will be released in the second half of April, a source familiar with one mobile operator's plans noted. This unnamed executive also said that while demand is expected to be high, supply may be constrained at launch.
The phone is supposed to come in 5.7-inch and 6.2-inch flavors, sporting new AMOLED display technology that should deliver a larger color gamut, better brightness, improved color accuracy and increased energy efficiency. Murtazin says the phone shown in Samsung Display's promo videos a few days ago is not the Galaxy S8, but rather a demo of this new OLED tech.
The battery size will be similar to what's found on the current Galaxy S7 models. The phone is also expected to pack a standard 3.5mm audio jack as well as a USB-C port. An Iris scanner will also be found on the front side of the handset, just like on the Galaxy Note 7.
Murtazin says that both the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and the Exynos 8895 will be built on 10nm process technology, with Samsung's proprietary chip expected to power most of Galaxy S8 units, as usual. The phone will pack a new GPU, the Mali-G71, and it'll ship with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage on the base model. That's faster UFS 2.1 memory, Murtazin notes, and microSD support is still in the cards.
Aside from screen size and battery life, the two Galaxy S8 phones are expected to offer the exact same features. Murtazin doesn't mention camera details, although improvements are expected. Curiously, however, a dual rear camera on the back of the bigger Galaxy S8 isn't mentioned either.
Murtazin also says the phone will ship with Android 7.1.1 Nougat on board, sporting several Samsung software features on top of it. That includes Samsung's UX, Samsung Cloud (complete with new cloud purchase options), Samsung Pay, and the highly anticipated Bixby voice assistant that will compete with Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant.
The phone will also feature a special Game Mode (is this the rumored Beast mode?) that will let users make the most of the hardware. One of the Galaxy S8's most surprising rumors was apparently also confirmed by Murtazin. The Galaxy S8 will let users connect the phone to a bigger screen, and use Android on the bigger display in desktop mode. Samsung's Continuum rival does not have a name at this point.
Pricing is expected to start at $700 to $750 for the Galaxy S8, and at around $850 for the Galaxy S8 Plus -- it's unclear what Samsung will call the bigger model, though rumors have suggested it may be called the Galaxy S8 edge or Galaxy S8 Plus.
Murtazin's full report is available at this link.