Samsung set the bar for flagship smartphones early in 2017 with its stunning Galaxy S8 and there’s no doubt the South Korean tech powerhouse is looking to do the same in 2018.
Alongside the Google Pixel, the Samsung Galaxy S8 emerged as a popular alternative to Apple’s iPhone 8 and iPhone X phones last year. Samsung will no doubt be hoping for the same success this year.
As usual the new Samsung flagship will be revealed at a dedicated event ahead of the Mobile World Congress event in February.
There’s very little official word on what to expect – apart from the cryptic invitation above. From the looks of things, Samsung will be pushing the camera upgrades as the biggest new feature in the Galaxy S9.
Samsung was the first company to experiment with an edge-to-edge display as well as face-scanning unlock features. Other aspects of its phones, like the Bixby personal assistant, have failed to take off.
But it’s highly likely that the new Galaxy S9 will pack in plenty of interesting features – but it won’t be cheap.
Here’s everything we know about it so far.
According to the latest rumours, the forthcoming Android heavyweight will feature advanced 3D emoji characters that respond to facial expressions. These will be "more advanced" than the Animoji characters Apple created to show off the power of its iPhone X.
According to a report in Korean publication ETNews , the new phones will also be the first from the manufacturer to feature stereo speakers.
Samsung’s push into 3D emoji makes sense given how popular Apple’s creation has become. It’s also a way of putting a friendly face on the advanced facial recognition software called "Intelligent Scan" that the company is reportedly packing into the phone .
As mentioned, Samsung will be revealing the phone on February 25th.
Even after the phone’s been announced, it usually takes a few weeks before it actually lands in the shops. To be conservative, we’d estimate the Samsung Galaxy S9 appearing around the end of March.
To be first in line to hear news and pre-order the new phone, it’s worth signing up to some of the Samsung S9 pre-registration pages.
Both Carphone Warehouse’s and Mobiles.co.uk have both launched theirs, and you’ll simply need to enter your email address.
According to Bloomberg, the Galaxy S9 will go on sale in March.
The site reports : "The South Korea-based technology giant plans to introduce the new models, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus, as early as late February and release the devices as early as March, according to people familiar with the matter.
"The new phones will be similar to the current Galaxy models, but include upgraded camera systems, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private."
If this proves to be true, it will be five months after Samsung launched the Note 8 and will increase the pressure on Apple’s iPhone X.
Samsung Galaxy S9
Don’t expect the Samsung Galaxy S9 to be a cheap gadget. The current lowest-price S8 will still set you back £689 .
It’s highly unlikely that Samsung will drop the price for its newer phone so you can expect it to cost at least that. What remains to be seen is whether the company will match Apple with a phone costing over £1,000 once you get into the higher specs.
A leaked image reportedly showing finished versions of the S9 (and its larger version, the S9+) have shown up on social media.
The image (above) shows both phones from the back and although similar to last year’s bestselling Samsung Galaxy S8, there are a few key differences.
For starters, the larger version of the phone now sports a dual-lens camera similar to Apple’s premium iPhone X.
Secondly, the fingerprint scanner has been relocated from alongside the camera lenses to below them.
This likely followed on from the criticism levelled at the S8 and S8+ that the fingerprint scanners were too difficult to reach for most people.
The image above was first shared on Chinese social media platform Weibo and spotted by Androidandme.com.
The website says the unconfirmed image should be taken with a pinch of salt but notes that "it looks genuine enough".
As well as that, there are a couple of tweets that appear to show advanced renders of the upcoming handsets. They were posted online by serial leaker @OnLeaks and show a sleek pair of smartphones building on the S8’s fantastic design.
Credit for the renders goes to tech website 91mobiles , which has posted several snaps of the upcoming flagships.
If the outward design remains unchanged, the story won’t be the same on the inside of the phone. Samsung will no doubt up the processor and, possibly, the RAM and storage space to try and make the new model more attractive.
However, according to a post on BGR , leaked specs from the new phone show that it fails to stack up against the iPhone X.
The post suggests it will boast a new octa-core Exynos chip with 4GB of RAM and the latest version of Android. But supposed benchmarks of the new phone didn’t match what the iPhone X can achieve.
Fresh leaks have given Samsung fans a clue about the rumoured specs inside the Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9 Plus.
According to updates posted on Chinese social media site Weibo, Samsung will differentiate the components inside the two models.
The S9 will reportedly ship with 4GB of RAM and a choice of either 64GB or 128GB of internal storage while the larger S9 Plus will have 6GB of RAM and a choice of either 64GB, 128GB or 256GB of internal storage.
The post goes on to say that Samsung will even consider producing a 512GB version for those markets where the demand is high enough.
Samsung doesn’t shy away from packing its phones with the latest features. In 2017 we saw the Iris Unlock and the introduction of the Bixby personal assistant as well as the unique DeX station that turned the phone into a fully-fledged computer.
A new rumour from a report by XDA, suggest the S9 could feature advanced facial recognition, called ‘Intelligent Scan.’
XDA discovered the potential feature in a beta version of the Oreo operating system for the Galaxy Note 8.
The feature reportedly combines face and iris scanning to improve accuracy and security, even in bright light.
While previous Galaxy models have included an Iris Scanner, XDA claims that "combining it with facial recognition technology means it’ll hopefully be better at securing your phone."