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Samsung Galaxy S10: Here’s everything we know

Steven Winkelman

While the  Samsung Galaxy S9  is one of this year’s most beloved Android smartphones, work on its replacement, the Samsung Galaxy S10, is well underway. What should we expect from Samsung’s next flagship?

Whether it’s an even more advanced camera, jaw-dropping good looks, or — in Samsung’s potentially most radical move — increased battery capacity, we’ve gathered all the rumors, leaks, and news into one place so you can quickly find out everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy S10.

Design

Samsung’s Galaxy S range of smartphones are known for their trend-setting looks, so how will the Galaxy S10 move things along? It looks like things will be remarkably different for the Galaxy line up in 2019.

In September, Samsung CEO DJ Koh reported the upcoming Galaxy S10 lineup will sport radical changes. He also noted that the upcoming flagships will come in an “amazing” array of color options.

It looks like there may also be three versions of the Galaxy S10, according to multiple inside sources speaking to The Bell. Referred to under the code name Beyond; the Beyond 1 and Beyond 2 are likely the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus. Both models will reportedly feature fingerprint-on-display (FOD) technology as well as AMOLED screens. This news was further corroborated by well-known TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says that there will be one model with a 5.8-inch display, one with a 6.1-inch display, and one with a 6.4-inch display, and that the two higher-end models will have Samsung’s FOD.

The sources also refer to the Beyond 0, which is possibly a Galaxy S10 Mini — a budget version of the flagship apparently with a side-mounted fingerprint sensor. Samsung often releases a tough version of its latest Galaxy S phone, so the Beyond 0 may also refer to a Galaxy S10 Active.

How about the screen size? Reports vary. According to ET News, the Galaxy S10 will feature a 6.2-inch screen, while The Bell has echoed an earlier report suggesting the S10 will have a 5.8-inch screen and the S10 Plus a 6.3-inch screen. The panels are expected to be AMOLED, like previous Galaxy S phones.

The bezels around it may shrink due to the introduction of a sound-emitting OLED display, says ET News. Instead of using a traditional speaker, bone conduction and vibration will transmit sound directly through the display. Such technology will mean even smaller bezels on the Galaxy S10 since a top-firing speaker cutout will no longer be necessary.

Previous news of a patent approved in March 2018 shows a phone with a screen-to-body ratio of 99 percent, and no visible speakers, front-facing camera, or fingerprint sensor. While creating this phone isn’t outside the realm of possibility — the front-facing camera could be under the display, as could the fingerprint sensor — it now seems more likely that such a radical redesign is not intended for the Galaxy S10.

Another earlier patent granted by the World Intellectual Property Organisation reveals that Samsung is working on phone designs that are as close to bezel-free as possible, with fingerprint scanners placed beneath the display tech — this could also be linked to the long-rumored foldable Galaxy smartphone.

Samsung bezel-less screen design patent

via IndianExpress

Security

How will you unlock and secure the Galaxy S10? While the S9 has Intelligent Scan tech to take a hybrid image of your face, as well as iris data, it’s not secure enough for purchase verification and a far cry from the highly advanced and secure Face ID introduced on the Apple iPhone X. Samsung may change this for the S10 by introducing a new fingerprint sensor.

In September, Korean tech site ETNews reported that Samsung will use Qualcomm’s third-generation ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensors in its upcoming Galaxy S10 handsets. Qualcomm’s technology can capture 3D fingerprint data, allowing for higher accuracy and better security.

Earlier this year, a patent by Patently Mobile showed Samsung was actively working on an in-display fingerprint sensor. This new sensor would reportedly use ultrasound instead of images to map out one’s fingerprints. While Samsung may be planning to use this secure technology in all of its upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10 models, it’s may also be honing its sensors for a future handset.

These alterations may push Samsung to drop iris scanning from the Galaxy S10, but only if it can master the in-display sensor to accompany a new secure face-recognition system. According to South Korean publication The Bell, prototype samples of the S10 have not been ordered with iris scanners, a decision that may also help offset costs if the two new security systems are being included.

Earlier rumors said Samsung had teamed up with 3D-camera startup Mantis Vision to provide 3D-sensing camera tech for Samsung’s upcoming smartphones, and those rumors have seemingly been confirmed by a report that the Galaxy S10 will include a full 3D camera, potentially equaling the iPhone X experience. This could also help Samsung’s underpowered AR Emoji,  which isn’t anywhere near as accurate as Apple’s Animoji. Tests from across the Digital Trends office led to some — er — fairly disturbing uncanny valley creations.

Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

The discontinuation of iris scanning may only happen if Samsung can include an in-display fingerprint sensor on the S10. Reportedly dropped from the Galaxy Note 9 because of technical issues, it may be ready for the S10. The Bell states Samsung is working hard to create a fingerprint-on-display (FOD) scanner, with some seeming success.

Specifications

Galaxy S phones are performance flagships; how will Samsung ensure the new phones are among the best? It’s a fair bet that the Galaxy S10 will feature a new iteration of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip, most likely the Snapdragon 855. Samsung poured $5.6 billion into a foundry for rumored 7mn chipsets for the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 phones. Risk trials for those chips will begin later this year, with Samsung expecting mass production in early 2019 — just in time for the S10’s release.

Samsung remains tight-lipped about the Galaxy S10, but we know one thing for sure: It won’t be the company’s first phone with 5G. Samsung’s CEO DJ Koh Dong-Jin confirmed that fact at a press event in Korea, squashing any previous rumors that claimed otherwise. According to Korean business site The Bell, however, Samsung does plan to announce some Galaxy S10 models that will support 5G service. This seems to agree with an earlier statement by Koh where he said Samsung is still working with local carriers to be the first to roll out a 5G phone, with plans to launch 5G in March within specific locations.

Finally, it may sound mundane but there’s every reason to assume Samsung will push for increased battery life with the S10. Battery improvements were on our wish list for the Galaxy S9 too; what we saw was … not impressive. Samsung boosted the battery capacity of the Note 9, however, and with rumors swirling of a new L-shaped battery boosting the phone’s life, we’re hopeful that the S10 will shine in this area.

Software and special features

While it’s still early to know exactly what Samsung plans to bring to the Samsung Galaxy S10, we do have a few ideas. First off, it’s almost certain Samsung’s 2019 flagship will ship with Android P. We’re also expecting to see a major update to Bixby since Samsung purchased Viv, a startup created by the founders of Siri, and has reportedly been working with them on Bixby for a few years.

There’s also the possibility that the Galaxy S10 will feature improved health apps. According to a patent recently unearthed by Let’s Go Digital, Samsung is working on an app that determines your skin type and can suggest recommendations to limit sun exposure.  The app will apparently use photos of different parts of your body to determine skin type. Once your skin type is registered it can constantly provide tips and measure your UV exposure.

Last year for the Plus model

Let’s be honest: There’s not a huge difference between Samsung Galaxy Plus handsets and their Note siblings. And in an overly saturated smartphone market, it becomes difficult to justify releasing two similar handsets each year.

According to the South Korean business site The Bell, Samsung is planning to retire its Plus line of Galaxy handsets after the release of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus in 2019. The company plans to merge the Plus model handsets with its Note line to increase profitability.  The rumor comes on the heels of news that sales of the Galaxy S9 smartphones have been sluggish, with second quarter shipments falling behind the pace for the first quarter.

Camera

Samsung greatly improved the camera on the Galaxy S9 over the Galaxy S8; but what about its plans for the Galaxy S10? For the Galaxy S10 Plus, Samsung may look to Huawei for inspiration, and include a triple-lens camera on the rear, just like the P20 Pro. Then, for good measure, it will add another lens to the selfie camera array, giving the Galaxy S10 five camera lenses in total according to sources speaking to The Bell.

The same dual-lens camera on the S9 Plus will return on the S10 Plus, but this time it may come with an additional 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens with a 120-degree angle. The dual selfie camera may replicate the system used on the Samsung Galaxy A8, presumably with key improvements representative of the Galaxy S range. While a dual-lens front camera will almost certainly be used to generate bokeh-style shots, it’s not clear yet what benefits an additional, even wider angle lens will bring to the rear camera.

Release date and name

Are we fools for expecting Samsung to stick to its previous release schedule? Perhaps, but we’d still take that wager. However, not everyone agrees, and The Bell says Samsung is aiming for a January 2019 release for the Galaxy S10 at the annual CES trade show in Las Vegas.

It’s possible, but unlikely. While Samsung launched the Galaxy S9 at MWC 2018, the Galaxy S8 was launched at its own “Unpacked” event in 2017 — and while the Galaxy S10 isn’t likely to be as big a redesign as the S8 was, it’s possible that Samsung will again choose to reveal its newest phone at its own special event and not jostle for headlines during CES. However, the reasoning behind a CES launch is that at MWC 2019, Samsung will introduce the foldable Galaxy X.

The Galaxy S10’s code name is apparently “Beyond,” likely signifying that Samsung sees the S10 as the next big thing, with the sort of features that make you want to buy it. In terms of the actual phone’s name, while we’ve tentatively named this article the Galaxy S10, there’s no guarantee that’s what Samsung’s next generation of the S-range phone will be named. Some early rumors point that Samsung will be looking to ditch some of its long-time branding in favor of a fresher name.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on Samsung in the coming months, so watch for our updates on the latest Galaxy S10 news.

Updated on September 19, 2018: Samsung executive DJ Koh states the Galaxy S10 will feature significant changes.