Yesterday, at two simultaneous launch events held at New York’s Lincoln Centre and London’s Olympic Park, Samsung unveiled their new flagship Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones.
This launch follows the release of the Note 7 which was recalled twice after a number of the devices set on fire. The South Korean company based this on battery faults but state that, since then, they have put in additional safety features such as X-ray scans of batteries. This new launch will therefore be under an incredible amount of scrutiny. “The S8 is a unquestionably a strong product but Samsung must now deliver a faultless launch to move on from its earlier difficulties. If this happens it will emerge in an even stronger position,” said Ben Wood from the CCS tech consultancy.
With their latest release, Samsung have ditched the home button in favor of an on-screen icon. A pressure sensor and vibrator allow for feedback. The displays on the S8 and S8+ measure 5.8in and 6.2in, respectively, meaning that the Samsung logo is no longer featured on the front. Samsung have suggested that these bigger displays will allow users to better run two apps side by side.
The phone’s also introduce a new virtual assistant, Bixby, who is activated by a side button and can control 10 built-in apps including weather, messages and photo gallery. Bixby is “context aware” meaning that users can ask it follow up questions and it can even recognize objects as seen by the phone’s camera, meaning that it can identify landmarks or clothing products.
When it comes to the cameras, both models have a more detailed 8 MP front-camera with the ability to focus faster. As before, the rear camera is 12 MP but will take photos with more sharpness and contrast. The CPU is said to be 10% more powerful and the GPU sees a 12% improvement. An iris-scanner has been added as an alternative to finger print recognition and the Samsung Connect app can be used to control a range of smart home appliances.
Both the Galaxy S8 and S8+ will be released on April 21 with the S8 priced at £690 and the S8+ at £780 – a jump of over £100 for both compared to last year’s releases. Despite the recalls last year, Samsung came top of the league for best selling handsets as a whole, according to the marketing firm IDC.